Palak Chole is a North Indian style delicious curry made with spinach (palak) and white chickpeas (chana). It is yet another variety of curried chickpea dish that is liked by many people. You can serve this delicious curry with steamed basmati rice or Indian flatbreads like roti, paratha, naan for a hearty and comforting meal.
The recipe of palak chole is similar to the North Indian chana masala but with the addition of spinach. To make the curry, onion-tomato paste is sauteed with spices to which the spinach and then the cooked chickpeas are added.
The recipe can be made with regular spinach or baby spinach. Instead of using dried chickpeas, which require cooking, canned chickpeas can also be used. For more spinach recipes, you can check this collection of 29 palak recipes.
This is a healthy dish obviously due to the combination of spinach and chickpeas. Together with rotis or rice it becomes a complete meal.
In our home chickpea is one of our favorite ingredients and we make a variety of curry recipes with it. I have shared a few such variations on the blog like:
You can serve Palak chole with roti, naan, tandoori rotis, steamed rice or cumin rice.
You can adjust the consistency of the gravy as per your choice. When we want to serve it with rice-based dishes like basmati rice or cumin rice then we keep the gravy slightly thin.
On the other hand when we want to have it with Indian flatbreads like roti or plain paratha then we keep the gravy slightly thick.
How to make Palak Chole
1. Rinse 1 cup of dried white chickpeas a couple of times in fresh water. Then soak them in enough water for 7 to 8 hours or overnight.
2. Later the next day drain all the water from the soaked chickpeas. Then rinse the chickpeas again in fresh water a few times. Drain all the water again.
3. Add chickpeas with 3 to 4 cups of water in a 3 litre stovetop pressure cooker.
You can also cook the chickpeas in a pot on the stovetop or in the Instant pot adding water as required.
4. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt or as required.
5. Pressure cook the chickpeas on medium heat for 12 to 15 whistles or till they are cooked completely. Let the pressure falls naturally in the cooker then only open the lid and check the chickpeas for doneness.
6. The boiled chickpeas should be soft and tender. If not then you can cook them for some more time.
7. Drain the boiled chickpeas and keep aside.
8. Meanwhile add 1 large-sized chopped onion, 1 to 2 green chilies, 1 inch ginger and 3 to 4 garlic in a grinder or blender jar.
9. Grind or blend to a smooth paste. No need to add water while grinding or blending. Remove and keep aside.
10. In the same jar, add one large-sized chopped tomato. Grind or blend to a smooth puree. No need to add water while grinding or blending.
11. Rinse the spinach leaves very well in water.
12. Then chop the spinach leaves. Keep aside. You will need 4.5 to 5 cups of chopped spinach leaves.
13. Measure and keep all the ingredients ready for the palak chole.
Making palak chole
14. Heat oil in a kadai. Keep the heat to medium-low. Fry 1 inch cinnamon, 3 cloves, 2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom and 1 tej patta till they are fragrant.
15. Add the ground onion paste prepared in earlier steps. Be careful as the oil can splutter.
16. Saute the onion paste on low to medium-low heat and keep stirring often. Saute till the onion paste turns light brown.
17. Then add the tomato puree.
18. Stir and mix very well.
19. Add the following ground spices:
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon garam masala powder
20. Stir and mix the ground spices very well.
21. Continue to saute till oil leaves the sides of the masala and the color of the masala changes. The masala will also look glossy.
22. Then add 4.5 to 5 cups of chopped palak. Mix well.
23. Sprinkle salt as required.
24. Stir and saute for 4 to 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
25. Add the cooked chickpeas.
26. Stir and mix well.
27. Pour 1.5 to 2 cups water or as per the consistency you want in the gravy.
28. Add crushed pomegranate seeds powder or dry mango powder. I used ¾ teaspoon of dry mango powder (amchur).
29. Stir and mix again.
30. Also mash a few chickpeas with the back of the spoon. This helps to thicken the gravy.
31. Simmer till the gravy thickens. Make sure that the gravy does not have a runny watery consistency.
32. Lastly add crushed 1 teaspoon of crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves). If you don’t have crushed fenugreek leaves then skip adding them.
33. Simmer the gravy for 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve Palak chole hot with chapati, paratha, poori, naan or steamed rice or jeera rice or biryani rice or ghee rice and onion-lemon salad.
They can also be packed in a lunch box with roti or poori or paratha or rice.
Few more tasty Punjabi Recipes for you!
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For cooking chickpeas
- 1 cup dried white chickpeas – 200 grams
- 3 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt or as required
To be ground to paste
- 1 large onion – roughly chopped or ¾ to 1 cup
- 1 or 2 green chilies – chopped or ½ to 1 teaspoon, chopped
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves (small to medium) – chopped
- 1 inch ginger – chopped, optional
- 3 to 4 tablespoons oil – any neutral oil
- 1 large tomato – pureed or ⅓ to ½ cup tomato puree
- 4.5 to 5 cups chopped spinach (palak)
- 1.5 to 2 cups water – for the gravy
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder) or ¾ teaspoon dried pomegranate seeds – roasted and crushed finely
- 1 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) – crushed, optional
- salt as required
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 3 cloves
- 2 green cardamom
- 1 black cardamom
- 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
- Rinse the chickpeas in fresh water for a few times. Then soak them in enough water in a bowl overnight or for 7 to 8 hours. Cover the bowl with a lid.
- Drain all the water and rinse the chickpeas again in fresh water a few times. Then again drain the water. Add chickpeas with 3 to 4 cups of water in a 3 litre stovetop pressure cooker. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt or as required.
- Pressure cook the chickpeas on medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes or till they are cooked completely. You can also cook the chickpeas in a pot or pan on the stovetop or in the instant pot adding water as required.
- Let the pressure fall naturally in the cooker. Then only open the lid and check the chickpeas. They should be tender and softened. If they are undercooked then pressure cook for some more minutes.
- Drain the cooked chickpeas and set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the onion paste with chopped onions, green chilies, ginger and garlic. Also prepare the tomato puree. Keep aside.
- Rinse spinach leaves very well in water. Drain all the water. Then chop them.
Sautéing spices, onions and tomatoes
- In a pan heat oil. Fry all the "Whole Spices" mentioned in the above list in the ingredient section, till fragrant on low to medium-low heat.
- Add the onion paste. Sauté until light golden stirring often on low to medium-low heat. Take care as the oil can splutter when adding the onion paste.
- Add the tomato puree. Also add all the spice powders mentioned in the above list of "Ground Spices" in the ingredient section.
- Saute stirring often until oil leaves the sides of the masala. The color of masala will change and the masala will also look glossy,
- Now add the chopped spinach and salt as required. Stir and saute for 4 to 5 minutes on low to medium-low heat.
Making palak chole
- Add the cooked chickpeas and mix well. Pour 1.5 to 2 cups water.
- Add crushed pomegranate seeds powder or dry mango powder.
- Also mash a few chickpeas with the back of the spoon. This helps to thicken the gravy. Simmer on medium-low to medium heat until the gravy thickens and becomes smooth.
- Lastly add crushed kasuri methi and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Serve palak chole hot with roti, naan or steamed rice or jeera rice and onion-lemon salad.
- Refrigerate any leftovers for one to two days. Keep in a covered container and refrigerate.
- Chickpeas: Though white chickpeas taste fabulous here, but you can swap them with black or brown chickpeas. The curry will taste good with black or brown chickpeas. Canned chickpeas can be also be used in the recipe and it will save some cooking time. Note that aged chickpeas will take a longer time to cook.
- Spinach: Use only the leaves of the spinach. Include stems only if they are tender. Rinse your spinach very well in water. If you prefer, you can blanch the leaves. For frozen spinach, thaw them completely and squeeze out the extra water.
- Whole spices: Try to include all the whole spices as listed. If at all you have to skip any of them, then I suggest to omit black cardamom and tej patta.
- Soaking and cooking chickpeas: Chickpeas which have been soaked overnight really cook and soften well. If you have forgotten to soak them, then boil water in a pan. Switch off the heat and add rinsed chickpeas. Cover and soak for two hours. You can cook chickpeas in a pot on the stove-top or in the Instant Pot.
- Cooking chickpeas in Instant Pot: For cooking in an Instant pot, add 3 cups water to the chickpeas and salt. Pressure cook on high pressure for 25 to 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally and then open the lid.
- Cooking chickpeas in a pan: Use a deep pan or pot. Add the chickpeas, salt and 3 to 4 cups water. Cover the pan and cook chickpeas on medium to medium-high flame until they have softened. If the water starts frothing and bubbling, partially cover the pan or remove the lid altogether.
- Consistency: You can choose to make the gravy thick or having a medium consistency by adding less or more water.
- Spicing: Adapt this palak chole recipe to your tastebuds by adding less or more of the red chilli powder and green chillies.
- Dry mango powder: To give some tangy taste to the curry, you can add either dry mango powder or dried pomegranate seeds powder. If you do not have either, add ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice to the curry once the cooking is complete.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Palak Chole post from the blog archives first published in August 2013 has been republished and updated on 7 January 2022.