Palak Chole | Spinach with Chickpeas

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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.

palak chole served on a white plate with steamed rice.

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.

Step-by-Step Guide

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.

soaked chickpeas in a bowl

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.

drained chickpeas in a bowl

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.

chickpeas in a pressure cooker with water

4. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt or as required.

salt added to pressure cooker

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.

Pressure cooking the chickpeas

6. The boiled chickpeas should be soft and tender. If not then you can cook them for some more time.

cooked chickpeas

7. Drain the boiled chickpeas and keep aside.

boiled chickpeas in a bowl

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.

onions chillies in a blender jar

9. Grind or blend to a smooth paste. No need to add water while grinding or blending. Remove and keep aside.

onion paste in the jar

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.

tomato puree in the jar

11. Rinse the spinach leaves very well in water.

rinsing spinach leaves in water

12. Then chop the spinach leaves. Keep aside. You will need 4.5 to 5 cups of chopped spinach leaves.

chopped spinach leaves in the pan

13. Measure and keep all the ingredients ready for the palak chole.

ingredients  for palak chole recipe in a bowl

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.

spices in a pan

15. Add the ground onion paste prepared in earlier steps. Be careful as the oil can splutter.

onion paste added

16. Saute the onion paste on low to medium-low heat and keep stirring often. Saute till the onion paste turns light brown.

sauteing onion paste

17. Then add the tomato puree.

tomato puree added to pan

18. Stir and mix very well.

stir and mix tomato puree

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
spices added to masala mixture in the pan

20. Stir and mix the ground spices very well.

mixing masala mixture in the pan

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.

saute the masala

22. Then add 4.5 to 5 cups of chopped palak. Mix well.

palak added

23. Sprinkle salt as required.

salt added

24. Stir and saute for 4 to 5 minutes on medium-low heat.

saute palak mixture

25. Add the cooked chickpeas.

cooked chickpeas added

26. Stir and mix well.

mixing chickpeas with palak mixture

27. Pour 1.5 to 2 cups water or as per the consistency you want in the gravy.

water added to pan

28. Add crushed pomegranate seeds powder or dry mango powder. I used ¾ teaspoon of dry mango powder (amchur).

dry mango powder added to palak chole gravy

29. Stir and mix again.

palak chole gravy in a pan

30. Also mash a few chickpeas with the back of the spoon. This helps to thicken the gravy.

mashing chickpeas with a spoon

31. Simmer till the gravy thickens. Make sure that the gravy does not have a runny watery consistency.

palak chole gravy in a pan

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.

kasuri methi added to palak chole gravy

33. Simmer the gravy for 1 to 2 minutes.

palak chole gravy in a pan

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.

palak chole served in a plate with rice

Few more tasty Punjabi Recipes for you!

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palak chole

Palak Chole

Palak chole or chana palak is a North Indian style delicious curry made with spinach, chana (white chickpeas), onions, tomatoes, herbs and spices. 
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 45 minutes
Cuisine North Indian, Punjabi
Course Main Course
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

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

Other ingredients

  • 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

Whole spices

  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)

Ground spices

  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder (ground cumin)
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper or paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ¾ teaspoon Punjabi Garam Masala or chana masala powder or garam masala powder

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • 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.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Palak Chole
Amount Per Serving
Calories 331 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 484mg21%
Potassium 996mg28%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 13g54%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 7053IU141%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 2mg10%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 34mg41%
Vitamin E 6mg40%
Vitamin K 353µg336%
Calcium 153mg15%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 427µg107%
Iron 6mg33%
Magnesium 128mg32%
Phosphorus 243mg24%
Zinc 2mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Palak Chole post from the blog archives first published in August 2013 has been republished and updated on 7 January 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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24 Comments

  1. I would like to blend the spinach. Would it work with this recipe? Could I skip pureeing onions and tomatoes and just do them all together at the end? Or sauté and blend spinach separately, blend, and add to the onions and tomatoes?
    Thank you,

    1. Yes blending spinach would work. I would suggest to blend onions and tomatoes separately as they take more time to cook, especially onions. While spinach will cook faster.

      Both onions and tomatoes form the masala base of palak chole and have to be sautéed really well. As a quicker option you can blend both the onions and tomatoes together and sauté this paste.

  2. Hi Dassana, made this today, came out extremely well. I don’t have much experience cooking masala-flavored dishes, my wife is the master in that arena.

    I followed the recipe directions and it came out so good it impressed the wife. Thank you for publishing such good recipes.5 stars

    1. Great and thanks for sharing such a wonderful feedback on the recipe. Happy!

  3. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes. I enjoy trying new recipes and you make it easy.5 stars

  4. i just discovered this is best if you have a COLD:). Loved it, the flavours. Thank You5 stars

  5. An excellent recipe with a wonderful balance of flavors. Here in the US, a company called Earthbound Farms sells a prepackaged mix of young and tender (“baby”) spinach, kale and chard under the name “Power Greens.” For those with access to a Costco store, they can be bought in big 1.5 lb bags (about 680 g). I used one of these bags and doubled all of the other quantities in the recipe. To save time I used 3 cans of cooked chickpeas rather than cooking from scratch, and pureed a 400 g can of diced tomatoes (good ripe tomatoes being very difficult to find out of season here).

    Because the greens were so tender I gave them considerably less cooking time than is called for here, so they would retain some fresh taste.

    This was the fourth or fifth recipe I’ve made from your site and everything has been delicious. Making Indian food at home is a fairly new interest for me and I’m so glad I found my way here!5 stars

    1. thanks a lot steve. i wish in india we would get “power greens”. we do get spinach but chard and kale is not easily available. luckily an online store where i live sells kale. when the greens are tender, we don’t need to cook them more.

      glad that the recipes you have made so far have been good. happy cooking and do try more of indian food.

  6. Hi D

    My son has a food sensitivity to chickpeas. Can I substitute the chickpeas with any other, say black eyed peas or so?

    Uma.5 stars

    1. yes you can use beans like rajma or black eyed beans or any beans that are available where you live.

  7. Hi Dassana,

    Do you think substituting palak with Kale would work?

    Thank you,
    Sujata

    1. kale can be substituted with palak. but whereas spinach softens, kale will have crunch and will taste somewhat like drum stick leaves 🙂

  8. Hi D,

    Made this today! its turned out superb! this is inspite of not adding the whole masalas(dont have those as currently living the nomad life). Awesome dish. thank you!!

    I tried the besan ladoo yesterday – the besan got a bit darker that the displayed one(am guessing it got a bit burnt). I cant figure out when to sptop cooking it. Also i put fine sure which dint melt – so the final product had these grains of sugar to bite into. overall the dish is delicious – except for these minor issues.
    Is there point at which i should stop cooking the besan to avoid the extra browning – also i kept stirring it for long in the hope of melting the sugar!Help!

    Happy cooking! Liz5 stars

    1. nice to to know that the palak chole was good even without the whole spices. when you start getting the nutty fragrance from besan and it just turns a shade darker and you see the ghee from the sides, then you move to the next step. continuous stirring also gives a uniform color and does not allow the besan to get burnt. best is to use powdered sugar. the sugar i used is organic unrefined sugar and they are so fine, that they got melted. basically depends on the quality of sugar. next time you can use powdered sugar.

  9. Made this last night. Excellent balance of flavors & way better than my usual version. Best I’ve had. Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  10. Hi Dassana, Nice combination of Palak with Chhole to make for a one pot lunch or dinner. One dish including greens and proteins. Such recipes make life a lot easier 🙂