Punjabi Chole (पंजाबी छोले) or Amritsari chole or more commonly known ad Chickpea curry in west, is a high protein classic recipe known for its aromatic flavors. Retaining its fame through generations and gaining a prominent place in the menu of Indian restaurants the world over, Chole features cooked white chick peas with onion and tomato paste and an assortment of spice powders. This recipe is sure to bring in the flavors found in local streets of Delhi right into your home. It is a versatile accompaniment that goes well with poori, bhatura, kulcha, roti and even Jeera rice.
Chana masala or chole is leader in the pack of curries made in India by miles. For that matter in north India (where I come from) no wedding food can be complete until you have chole masala featuring in the menu.
My mum being no professional chef, but being a homemaker, would always make chole as one dish when someone was to visit our home. By the fact that chole was being cooked at home, I as kid knew some guest is coming for food.
So what is Chana masala?
Chana masala is a chick pea curry. In this recipe chickpeas (or kabuli chana, as called in India), is cooked with bunch of spices along with onions and tomatoes.
Curry is topped with something called “chana masala/ chole masala/ powder”, which is sort of a spice, just like garam masala.
You can make chana masala powder at home by dry roasting the following ingredients on low heat.
Ingredients for chana masala powder :
2 red chilies, 1 small bay leaf,1 tbsp coriander seeds,1 tsp cumin/ jeera,½ tsp fennel seeds/ saunf, 3 to 4 cloves / laung, 1 small cinnamon / dalchini, 1 small black cardamom, few pepper corns.
I tend to use the readymade masala. These is now commonly available in any Indian grocery store, it simply saves time while making this chickpea curry.
Talking about my love for chole, chole was one such curry that I used to wait to be made at home when I was child. Chole was made on special occasions. The love for chole was from childhood (and it still exists). Same applies to my hubby, he too loves chole with rice specially. Its his soulful food.
Whilst going through the recipe, you will find that I have added 2 teabags. These teabags needs to be black tea bags not the fancy green tea bags or fruit flavoured ones. The reason to add tea bag is to get the dark black/ brown kind of color to your chole. Adding tea bags won’t adversely impact the taste of chole or chickpeas.
FAQs and help about indian chickpea curry (Chana Masala)
My Chole does not look appealing : If you doing everything correct, try adding those tea bags as I suggested in recipe.
Chole Chana seem to be hard : Make sure you have soaked for at least 6 hours and boiled well (not to break them but to soften chickpeas).
My Chole lack taste : Try out the steps in recipe, using the spices mentioned and you will never have this complain.
Chole is watery : You probably added more water than required. Let it simmer for some more time to evaporate water (by keeping lid open). Some prefer broken chickpeas, so you may even crush some chickpeas to get a thicker gravy.
Is chole vegan and gluten free? Yes, chickpea masala or chole is not only vegan it is gluten free too.
I must also remind you that chickpea is great source of protein, magnesium, folate, phosphorus, and copper. In short chickpeas contain a moderate amount of calories and several vitamins and minerals. They’re also a good source of fiber and protein.
Below is the detailed step by step recipe of Chole masala (Chickpea curry)
- 250 Grams White Chickpeas Also known as Kabuli Chana
- 2 Onions Finely Chopped
- 2 Tomatoes Finely Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger Grated
- 2 Green chillies Finely Chopped
- 4 Bayleaves
- 4 Cloves
- 1 Inch Cinnamon stick
- 3 Black Cardamoms
- 2 Dried Red Chillies
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 2 Teaspoon Salt As per taste
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1/3 Teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Chole Masala If you don’t have this, don’t worry, See Key Notes on how to make Chole masala at home
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 2 Tea Bags Optional : But gives best colour to chole
- 2 Tablespoon Oil
- Soak the kabuli chana/chickpeas for overnight or at least 6 hours. You do not need to do this step, in case you are using chickpeas from can (ready to use).
- Drain well and put the kabuli chana, baking soda, 2 bay leaves, 1 cinnamon stick, turmeric powder, tea bags and 1 teaspoon of salt in a pressure cooker. Add 2 cup of water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. Once the pressure is released, take out the tea bags and keep aside the boiled chickpeas.
- Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a deep pan, and add the cumin seeds. Once they crackle add dried red chillies, black cardamom, bay leaves and sauce for 1 minute.
- Now add the onions and sauté on a medium flame for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the coriander powder, chilli powder, salt and chole masala, mix well and sauté on a medium flame for 1 minute. Now add grated ginger, chopped tomatoes and green chillies and saute until the mixture start loosing oil.
- Add the boiled chickpeas and 1 cup of water, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the gravy reach your desired consistency switch off the flame and add garam masala and mix it well.
- Garnish with ginger julienne, slit green chilli, chopped coriander and tomato wedges and serve hot with naan or rice.
- If you don’t have chole masala powder at home, you can make chole masala/ powder at home by using following ingredients: 2 red chilies, 1 small bay leaf,1 tbsp coriander seeds,1 tsp cumin/ jeera,½ tsp fennel seeds/ saunf, 3 to 4 cloves / laung, 1 small cinnamon / dalchini, 1 small black cardamom, few pepper corns. Dry roast these masalas on low heat for 5 minutes and then grind it to powder. Only use half of this prepared masala in one time preparation.
- If you forgot to soak chickpeas in the night and you have to make it on same day, you can soak chickpeas in boiling hot water for 2-3 hours.