Pindi Chole also known as Pindi Chana is one of the easiest and tasty chickpea dish that you can make. The recipe comes from the Rawalpindi region in Punjab, Pakistan and hence the name Pindi Chana. A unique recipe that does not have any gravy or sauce and is dry – made with soft, tender white chickpeas, fragrant ginger-garlic, spicy chana masala powder and tangy dry mango powder.
About This Pindi Chole
My family loves chickpea curries. I have shared many of our favorite chickpeas curries on the blog. Though the classic Chana Masala is most cooked often, I also make Amritsari Chole and this Pindi Chana on occasions after having adapted it from the cookbook – “1000 Great Indian Recipes, the Ultimate Book of Indian Cuisine” by Neeta Dutta.
The word ‘chole’ or ‘chana’ is for chickpeas in Punjabi and Hindi languages. This dish originates from Rawalpindi in Punjab, Pakistan and hence it gets its name ‘Pindi Chana’ or ‘Pindi Chole’.
I love this recipe as it is one of the easiest and simplest recipes you can make. You do not need to chop or blend the usual onions and tomatoes. You don’t need to sauté the masala for a long time. And you do not need to make any spice mixes or blends. Easy, peasy. Right?
If you have canned chickpeas, the recipe comes together in 15 minutes. What more do you need if you are tired or too lazy to cook? Make this scrumptious recipe and savor it with roti, naan, paratha, bread, dinner rolls or any bread that you have.
Pindi Chana does not have any gravy or curry as no onions or tomatoes feature in it. Thus it is dry, unlike the usual Punjabi chickpea curries. Raw onions are served as a side with the dish instead.
All you need to make this easy dish is packaged chole masala or chana masala powder. The dish has a spiced bold flavor with a tangy taste. Dry mango powder or dry pomegranate seeds powder is added to the chickpeas to get that sour taste.
Moreover, the chickpeas or chana are light brown colored as they are cooked with dried Indian gooseberry or tea leaves/tea bags. When I do not have dried gooseberry, I used tea bags or tea leaves to darken the chickpeas. In the recipe, black tea bag is used.
I have also not added any pomegranate seeds powder as the chole masala powder already has it. Though I added some dry mango powder towards the end just to increase some tanginess.
The chole masala powder has all the spices which one normally finds in chana recipes. Here’s a peek into the list of ingredients in the chole masala powder.
This is an awesome and spicy chana recipe that is made for Indian taste buds. Use any brand of your favorite chana masala powder. Here I have used Everest Chhole Masala. You can easily buy this brand online or in Indian stores if you live outside India.
How to make Pindi Chole
1. First start with rinsing 1.25 cups of dried chickpeas in water a few times. Then soak the chickpeas in 3 cups of water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.
If using canned chickpeas, move straightaway to step 7. Use about 3.5 to 3.75 cups of canned chickpeas.
For canned chickpeas, drain the water and rinse them in fresh water once or twice. Drain the water and set the chickpeas aside.
2. The next day drain all the water from the soaked chickpeas. Rinse the soak chickpeas with fresh water. Drain the water and transfer them to a 3 litre pressure cooker. Add 3 cloves, 2 sticks of 1 inch cinnamon, 2 black cardamoms, 2 green cardamoms, 2 tej patta, 1 teaspoon black salt and 1 black tea bag.
Swap the tea bags with 3 to 4 pieces of dried gooseberry (dried amla).
Note that the chickpeas are cooked in a stove-top pressure cooker, but depending on the gadgets you have, cook them in a pan or pot on the stove-top or in the Instant Pot.
Add the same amount of water if cooking in a pan or in the Instant Pot.
3. Pressure cook on medium to medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chickpeas are softened and tender.
4. When the pressure falls on its own in the cooker, then only remove the lid. Check to see if the chickpeas have softened. If undercooked, then pressure cook for some more minutes.
5. Using a colander or strainer, drain the water from the chickpeas and remove the whole spices and tea bag.
If in case the tea bag has burst while pressure cooking then rinse the chickpeas in a colander with water. This will rinse any of the tea particles from the cooked chickpeas.
6. Crush 1.5-inches ginger and 7 to 8 small to medium-sized garlic cloves in a mortar pestle to a fine paste. You will need 3 teaspoons of ginger garlic paste.
7. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. Keep the heat to a low and add crushed ginger-garlic or ginger-garlic paste. Sauté the ginger-garlic for some seconds or until the raw aroma disappears.
8. Now make sure the heat is at a low or you can opt to switch off the heat. Add all the ground spices listed below.
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder (ground coriander)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons chole masala powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder)
9. Sauté the masala for a minute on a low heat taking care not to burn it.
10. Add the cooked chickpeas.
11. Mix the cooked chickpeas with the masala so that the chickpeas get coated with the masala. Add salt too according to taste.
12. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes on low heat, occasionally stirring in between.
9. The last part is the addition of fresh lemon juice to the chickpeas. I chose not to add it to the chickpeas and instead serve the lemon with the pindi chana. Garnish with coriander leaves if you prefer (I did not have them).
Enjoy pindi chole with sliced or chopped onions, lemon slices, julienned ginger and green chillies with Indian breads like bhatura, naan, roti, paratha, kulcha or puri.
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Pindi Chole | Pindi Chana
For soaking chickpeas
- 250 grams dried white chickpeas (kabuli chana) or 1.25 cups dried chickpeas or 3.5 to 3.75 cups canned chickpeas
- 3 cups water – for soaking chickpeas
For cooking chickpeas
- 3 cloves
- 2 sticks cinnamon – each of 1 inch
- 2 black cardamoms
- 2 green cardamoms
- 2 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
- 1 black tea bag or 3 to 4 dried amla (Indian gooseberries) pieces
- 1 teaspoon black salt
- 3 cups water
For making pindi chole
- 2 tablespoons oil – any neutral oil
- 3 teaspoons Ginger Garlic Paste or crushed ginger-garlic
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper or add as required
- 2 teaspoons Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 2 to 3 teaspoons chole masala (chana masala powder)
- 1 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder)
- salt as required
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or add as required, optional
For cooking chickpeas
- Rinse a few times and then soak the chickpeas in water for 8 to 9 hours or overnight.
- Boil the soaked chickpeas with the whole spices, black salt, water and tea bag in a pressure cooker for 10 to 15 minutes. If the chickpeas are not cooked completely then pressure cook them for a few more minutes.
- You could also tie all the spices in a muslin and make a bouquet garni and add it to the chickpeas.
- Drain all the water from the cooked chickpeas. Remove and discard the spices and tea bag.
For making pindi chole
- In a pan heat oil and saute the crushed ginger-garlic or ginger-garlic paste.
- Sauté for some seconds until the raw aroma of the ginger-garlic disappears.
- Make sure the heat is low or you can switch off the heat. Then add all the ground spice powders – red chilli powder, coriander powder, dry mango powder, garam masala powder and chana masala powder.
- Mix well and sauté the ground spice powders for a minute on a low heat. Take care not to burn the ground spices.
- Add the cooked chickpeas and mix it well with the masala.
- Add salt and check for seasoning. Adjust the seasoning if required by adding more salt or powdered spices.
- Let the chickpeas cook for 5 to 7 minutes in the masala on a low heat. Stir at intervals.
- Lastly, add lemon juice to the chickpeas and mix it well. Instead of adding lemon juice at this step, you can also serve lemon wedges with pindi chana.
- Serve pindi chole hot with onion rings, green chillies and lemon wedges accompanied with naan, bhatura, puri, paratha, kulcha or even roti.
- Swap canned chickpeas with dried chickpeas. Add about 3.5 to 3.75 cups of canned chickpeas. Drain the water from the canned chickpeas and then rinse them in fresh water, before including in the recipe.
- The recipe is moderately spiced, but for an even more spicy taste, increase the amount of red chili powder and chana masala powder.
- Omit the tea bags or dried amla (Indian gooseberry) if you do not prefer them.
- If in case the tea bag has burst while pressure cooking then rinse the chickpeas in a colander with water. This will rinse any of the tea particles from the cooked chickpeas.
- While I have cooked the chickpeas in a stove-top pressure cooker, they can be easily cooked in an Instant Pot or in a pan on the stove-top. Add the same amount of water while cooking in either the Instant pot or in a pan.
- For a more tangy taste, add more dry mango powder. Instead of dry mango powder, you can also use dried pomegranate seeds powder (anardana powder).
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Pindi Chana recipe post from the archives (August 2011) has been republished and updated on 16 July 2021.