Amritsari Chole

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If Amritsar in Punjab is about its kulcha, then the culture-rich and vibrant city is also about its special version of Chole Masala. Yes, the Amritsari Chole is one of the best companions of the Kulcha. This Amritsari Chole also tastes similar to the ones that are served on the food-rich streets of Delhi.

amritsari chole garnished with ginger juliennes and served in a white bowl.

About Amritsari Chole

Many people confuse Amritsari Chole with the Pindi Chole. I would say, yes, they are similar in a lot of aspects. But one major difference between the two is that while Amritsari Chole belongs to its namesake city in Punjab, India; Pindi Chole is believed to have its origin in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

The recipe of Amritsari Chole was one of the most requested recipes since the day I had shared my Garlic Naan recipe. So, I finally decided to work on it and post it here. After all, everyone has the right to know the recipe of a dish so robust and delicious.

I’m sure once you try this Amritsari Chole, you will be wanting to finish the whole thing at once and crave for more at the very same time! Same like one of the very popular Indian sayings about tasty food, “pet bhar gaya, par mann nahi,” meaning “stomach is full, but the heart isn’t.”

More on this Amritsari Chole

To bring the best out in my recipes, I always try and use really good quality ingredients. Just like the organic chickpeas that I have used in the preparation of this Amritsari Chole. As compared to the regular ones, these definitely bring a better flavor in the dish.  

A lot of people ask me about the addition of baking soda while cooking the chickpeas. I add it on occasions because it makes this legume melt-in-mouth after it is cooked. Just imagine this scenario! Won’t it be awesome to get that feeling while eating?

Also, about whether to use a pressure cooker or a pan to cook the chickpeas. To this, my advice will be to opt for the pressure cooker as the chickpeas will cook faster in it versus the pan. So, your overall time of cooking the entire dish will decrease too.

The most obvious accompaniments with the Amritsari Chole are kulcha, Bhatura or Butter Naan. Then comes the next list which comprise of a simple, homely Jeera Rice, steamed rice or crisp aloo tikki. You can directly refer to this recipe of Aloo Tikki Chole to know how to jazz-up the chole.

Soaking Chickpeas

To cook legumes like chickpeas (chole) or kidney beans (rajma) in an easier way, it is best to soak them overnight or essentially for about 8 hours.

This procedure of soaking the legumes will also reduce the phytic acid in them, which is responsible for flatulence and bloating in the human body.

But what if you miss out on soaking the chickpeas or beans? Don’t worry. Just add the legumes to a bowl of boiled hot water, cover and keep it for 1 to 2 hours. This way also works well in speeding up the cooking process.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Amritsari Chole

Cook Chickpeas

1. Rinse 1 cup dried chickpeas a few times and soak in 3 cups water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.

Later, drain the water and rinse the chickpeas in fresh water twice. Drain all of the water and set aside.

soaked and drained chickpeas

2. You need to now cook the chickpeas. Here, I have pressure cooked the chickpeas in an instant pot, but you can also cook them in a stove-top pressure cooker.

Transfer the soaked chickpeas to your instant pot or a 3 litre stovetop pressure cooker. Add the following ingredients:

  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 3 cloves 
  • 1 tej patta
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger or ginger paste 
  • 2 to 3 dried Indian gooseberry (amla) pieces – optional or swap with 1 black tea bag or 1 teaspoon black tea powder or leaves tied tightly in a muslin.
  • ½ teaspoon black salt or regular salt

Amla gives a dark color to the chickpeas. But, you can use a black tea bag or tea powder tied in muslin instead. The chole will get a nice dark color of the black tea leaves.

Tip 1: While boiling the chickpeas, if you add a pinch of baking soda, it makes them melt-in-mouth when they get cooked.

Tip 2: If possible use a stovetop pressure cooker or the instant pot for cooking the chickpeas, as in a pan they take a longer time.

adding ginger paste, whole spices, black salt and dried amla pieces to the chickpeas in a pressure cooker.

3. Add 3 cups water.

adding water to the pressure cooker.

4. For stovetop pressure cooker, cook the chickpeas for 12 to 15 minutes or more if needed on medium heat.

For instant pot, cook on high pressure for 25 to 30 minutes.

Wait until the pressure settles naturally in either the stovetop pressure cooker or instant pot. Then only remove the lid.

The chickpeas should be completely cooked and softened. Now do either of the following:

  1. Strain the chickpeas and reserve the stock, if you have used dried gooseberries and cooked chickpeas without baking soda.
  2. If you have used tea bags or baking soda while cooking, discard the stock.
cooked chickpeas for amritsari chole

Make Onion-Tomato Masala

5. In a pan, heat 2 to 3 tablespoons oil and add ½ cup finely chopped onions.

finely chopped onions added to hot oil in pan.

6. Sauté the onions stirring often on medium-low heat.

sautéing the onions in the pan.

7. Sauté until they become golden.

sautéing the onions in the pan till they turn golden.

8. Now, add 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes (tightly packed) and 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger.

finely chopped tomatoes and finely chopped ginger added to the onions in the pan.

9. Sauté until the tomatoes soften and become pulpy. You should see oil releasing from the sides of the sautéed onion-tomato mixture base.

sautéing the onion-tomato mixture till the tomatoes turn soft and pulpy.

Make Amritsari Chole

10. Add the cooked chickpeas.

cooked chickpeas added to the onion-tomato mixture in pan.

11. Mix thoroughly to an even mixture.

cooked chickpeas mixed well with the onion-tomato mixture

12. Add all the spice powders one by one:

  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder or ½ teaspoon cayenne or red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon fennel powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried mango powder or pomegranate powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
dry spice powders added to the chickpeas mixture in the pan.

13. Mix and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.

sautéing the spiced chickpeas mixture in the pan.

14. Add 1 cup stock of the cooked chickpeas stock or 1 cup water, 2 to 3 slit green chilies and salt as required.

cooked chickpeas stock, slit green chilies and salt added to the pan.

15. Mix well to get an even curry and simmer till the gravy thickens a bit. You don’t want a watery or runny gravy. Mash a few chickpeas to thicken the consistency.

Check the taste and adjust the spices and seasonings as per your taste preferences.

chickpeas mixture getting simmered in the pan.

16. Garnish with some ginger juliennes and serve Amritsari Chole hot. You can also garnish with coriander leaves. Add a side of thinly sliced or chopped onions and lemon wedges.

Amritsari Chole goes well with poori, bhatura, roti or naan. You can also enjoy the curry with steamed rice or cumin rice or ghee rice.

amritsari chole garnished with ginger juliennes and served in a white bowl.

Expert Tips

  1. While pressure cooking the chickpeas, you can add regular salt or edible rock salt instead of black salt.
  2. When you are using dried chickpeas or kabuli chana, use only fresh and the ones in their shelf period. The dish won’t taste good if you are using old chickpeas. Aged chickpeas also take more time to cook.
  3. If you have canned chickpeas use them instead of dried chickpeas. Add 3 cups of canned chickpeas in this recipe.
  4. While using spices, you may adjust the quantities as per your requirements.
  5. If you wish to cook this curry with ghee instead of oil, do it. But then, it won’t be vegan.
  6. Don’t have dry mango powder? Use lemon juice instead. But add in the end, just before removing the pan from heat.
  7. Cooking for a lot of people? You may double or triple the measurements in the recipe adjusting the ground spices and seasonings as needed.

FAQs

Why couldn’t I get a dark black color in the chole?

The black color in this Amritsari Chole comes from the tea leaves/tea bags. So, it could be due to the type and quality of these that the chole didn’t get the desired color.

Can I add lemon juice instead of amchur?

Yes, you can add lemon juice instead of amchur. Just make sure that you at it in the end, just before taking off the pan from heat.

How do I cook this if I’m using canned chickpeas?

If you are using canned chickpeas, which are pre-cooked, then you only have to prepare the base gravy. Once that is made, add the chickpeas in it and simmer till the gravy thickens and reduces.

Can I make this recipe with black chana instead of kabuli chana?

You can try making it. However, the taste will differ as black chana has a different taste and texture than kabuli chana.

Can I cook this chole in ghee?

Yes, you can definitely cook this chole in ghee. In that case, it won’t be vegan.

More Chickpea Recipes To Try!

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amritsari chole in a white bowl

Amritsari Chole

Amritsari Chole is a delicious variation of the Indian chickpea curry from the city of Amritsar. This recipe of Amritsari Chole is vegan and gluten-free.
4.91 from 43 votes
Prep Time 8 hrs
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 8 hrs 45 mins
Cuisine North Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 5
Units

Ingredients

For Soaking Chickpeas

  • 1 cup dried white chickpeas
  • 3 cups water – for soaking

For Cooking Chickpeas

  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger or ginger paste
  • 3 dried amla pieces
  • ½ teaspoon black salt or regular salt
  • 3 cups water – for pressure cooking

Other Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onions or 1 medium-sized onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes (tightly packed) or 2 medium to large tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder or ½ teaspoon cayenne or red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon fennel powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder) or pomegranate powder
  • ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 cup water or chickpea stock
  • 2 to 3 green chillies – slit
  • salt as required
  • 1 inch ginger – julienne
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

Instructions
 

Cooking chickpeas

  • Firstly, rinse the chickpeas a few times in water. Soak the dried chickpeas overnight in water or for 8 to 9 hours.
  • Drain all the water and rinse the chickpeas again once or twice. Again drain the water and set aside.
  • Now you can cook the chickpeas in a 3 litre stovetop pressure cooker or Instant pot.
  • Add the soaked chickpeas, cinnamon, black cardamoms, cloves, tej patta, crushed ginger, dried gooseberry pieces, black salt or regular salt in the stovetop pressure cooker or in the steel insert of the Instant pot.
    If you do not have dried gooseberry, then opt to use 1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon black tea powder or black tea leaves tightly wrapped in a muslin.
  • Add 3 cups water and give a stir.
  • For stovetop pressure cooker, cook the chickpeas on medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes or more if required.
  • For instant pot, pressure cook on high pressure mode for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Whether you have cooked the chickpeas in the stovetop pressure cooker or Instant pot, wait for all the pressure to fall naturally. Then only remove the lid.
  • The chickpeas have to be tender with a melt in the mouth texture.
  • Strain the chickpeas and reserve 1 cup stock together with the whole spices if you have used dried gooseberry. If you have used tea leaves or tea powder, then discard the stock.

Making onion tomato masala

  • In a heavy frying pan or wok, heat oil. Add the finely chopped onions. Sauté onions stirring often until golden on medium-low heat.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and chopped ginger and sauté the tomatoes till they become soft and mushy. The oil should separate from the onion and tomato mixture.

Making amritsari chole

  • Add the cooked chickpeas and mix very well.
  • Add all the ground spice powders, stir and sauté for one to two minutes.
  • Now, add the strained chickpea stock or water, slit green chillies and salt as needed. Mix thoroughly.
  • Simmer on medium heat until the curry thickens a bit. Mash a few chickpeas so as to thicken the curry.
  • Check the salt and seasonings and add more if needed.
  • Serve Amritsari Chole hot garnished with ginger julienne and chopped coriander leaves with some bhatura, naan, roti, poori or steamed basmati rice.

Notes

  1. The spices and seasonings can be adjusted as per your preferences.
  2. You can also use 3 cups of canned chickpeas instead of dried chickpeas. Rinse the canned chickpeas in fresh water first a few times. Drain the water and then add the canned chickpeas to the onion-tomato masala base.
  3. Swap dry mango powder with lemon juice. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice or as needed when the cooking the curry is complete. Instead of dry mango powder you can also add dry pomegranate seeds powder.
  4. You can add a pinch of baking soda while cooking the chickpeas. If you have used baking soda, then discard the stock and use water while making the curry base later. The same applies if you have used tea bags or tea leaves/tea powder. Discard the stock and use water. 

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Amritsari Chole
Amount Per Serving
Calories 226 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Sodium 562mg24%
Potassium 489mg14%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 9g38%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 410IU8%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Vitamin E 3mg20%
Vitamin K 8µg8%
Calcium 76mg8%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 231µg58%
Iron 3mg17%
Magnesium 61mg15%
Phosphorus 166mg17%
Zinc 2mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Amritsari Chole post from the archives first published in December 2012 has been republished and updated on 23 May 2022.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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127 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge. I made this today, it is lipsmacking. God bless you.5 stars

  2. Hello! Thanks for this delicious recipe. I tried exactly as per the recipe given and it came out yumm! Would you please help me how much quantity I should take if I have to make for 20-25 people. Thanks:)

    1. thanks for the feedback. with gravy recipes it become tricky if the recipe is exactly doubled or tripled as the balance of the spices can go wrong. so when making gravy recipes eyeball the ingredients and then add or you can use the method of ‘andaaz’ (approximation) and then add.

    1. thanks for sharing the suggestion. even dried amla is used to darken the chickpeas.