easy punjabi chole masala recipe, how to make punjabi chole masala

white chickpeas in a smooth & lightly spiced tomato sauce made without chana masala powder.
4.86 from 7 votes

punjabi chole masala recipe with step by step photos. this is an easy and delicious punjabi chole masala recipe and one you must try. you do not need any chana masala powder and you do not need to make any chana masala powder before making this recipe. simplicity is the key of this easy chole masala recipe and this chole recipe is for keeps.

chole masala recipe, chana masala recipe

there are so many ways of making punjabi chole or chana masala. i have shared many variations of chana recipes like.

  • chana masala – authentic punjabi style. you need to make chana masala powder in the recipe.
  • pindi chole – made with chana masala powder.
  • amritsari chole – tastes similar to the chole one gets in the punjabi joints on the streets of delhi.
  • chickpea curry – spicy south indian style chana masala.

both punjabi chole and punjabi chana mean the same. however, the chana can be a dry recipe or one with a gravy or curry. this punjabi chole masala has a little gravy and is not totally dry.

i have adapted this chole masala recipe from the cookbook “1000 great indian recipes” by neeta datta and master chefs of india . this book has many age old indian recipes and is worth to buy. its good for a beginner or for a housewive who is new to cooking and wants to try to out recipes from different parts of india. i have tried a few recipes from this book and all of them were good.

this recipe of chole masala is different in the sense that no onions are used in it. hence the curry or gravy is not strong on your senses and the flavors and taste of tomatoes, ginger-garlic, coriander seeds and red chillies blend in beautifully to create an awesome chana masala.

punjabi chana masala recipe

you can serve chole masala with slices of onion, lemon wedges and ginger julienne. chole masala goes well with naan or poori or phulka or tandoori roti or bhatura or paratha or kulcha.

few more punjabi recipes for you!

easy chole masala

Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:9 hours 40 minutes
Cook Time:35 minutes
Total Time:10 hours 15 minutes
Course:main course,snacks
Cuisine:north indian,punjabi
Servings (change the number to scale):4
4.86 from 7 votes
easy punjabi chana masala recipe
white chickpeas in a smooth & lightly spiced tomato sauce made without chana masala powder.

INGREDIENTS FOR easy chole masala

(1 CUP = 250 ML)

main ingredients for chole masala

  • 1 cup white chickpeas (kabuli chana or chole or garbanzo beans)
  • 2.5 cups water for pressure cooking the chana
  • 1 teaspoon salt

for the ground masala paste

  • 5 kashmiri red chillies - use red chilies which have a low to medium heat quotient
  • 5 medium sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 inches ginger - chopped
  • 7 to 8 medium sized garlic cloves (lahsun) - chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds (sabut dhania)

other ingredients for chole masala

  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 2 to 3 green chilies, slit (hari mirch)
  • ½ to 1 cup water or add as required
  • salt as required
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (dhania patta)

for garnish

  • 1 inch ginger, julienne
  • 1 small to medium onion, thinly sliced in rounds
  • 1 small lemon or lime chopped in wedges

HOW TO MAKE easy chole masala

cooking chole or chana

  • rinse the chana (chickpeas or chole) thoroughly in water and then soak them overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. later drain all the water and rinse the chana in fresh water. 
  • then boil the chana with 2.5 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a pressure cooker or a covered pan with enough water. 
  • in a pressure cooker chana can take about 15-20 minutes and in a pan about an hour or more. the chana has to be cooked very well.
  • once the chana is cooked, then drain all the water from the chana. keep the cooked chana aside.

making chole masala paste

  • rinse the tomatoes and then chop them.
  • peel the garlic and ginger and chop them roughly.
  • in a mixer or blender, add the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, dry red chilies and coriander seeds. no need to add water.
  • grind or blend to a smooth paste.

making chole masala recipe

  • heat oil in a pan and add the ground paste.
  • fry the masala paste for 7 to 8 minutes till the raw aroma of the tomatoes, ginger and garlic goes away and the oil leaves the sides of the masala.
  • now add the green chillies and ½ to 1 cup water. mix very well. 
  • cook for 3 to 4 minutes on a low to medium flame. 
  • add the boiled chana.
  • mix the chana with the rest of the masala.
  • let the chole masala simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes on a low flame. keep on stirring in between.
  • then add the garam masala powder and salt and mix with the rest of the chole masala.
  • simmer chole masala gravy for 2 to 3 minutes more.
  • lastly add chopped coriander leaves to chole masala.
  • serve the punjabi chole masala with slices of onion, lemon wedges and ginger julienne along with pooris, naan, bhature, bread or steamed rice.


tips for making punjabi chole masala
  1. do not add water while making the 'ground masala paste' as the tomatoes have enough water content in them for this paste. however there are exceptions and if the tomatoes are not juicy enough then you might have to add some water. but do not make it watery as it will be difficult to fry this paste later. it will start spluttering when you will be frying it.
  2. if you want the chole masala to have some more gravy, add some more water to liquefy it.
  3. you can use any variety of dry red chilies, but keep in mind the pungency of the red chili, whether its hot or less hot.
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preparation for punjabi chole masala recipe

a) soaking and pressure cooking chana:

1. rinse 1 cup chana (white chickpeas or chole) thoroughly in water.

making chole masala recipe

2. then soak them in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. below is the photo of soaked chana.

making chole masala recipe

3. drain all the water from the soaked chana. rinse the chana couple of times with fresh water. drain well. add the soaked chana in a pressure cooker. also add 2.5 cups water.

making chole masala recipe

4. next add 1 teaspoon salt.

making chole masala recipe

5. pressure cook chana for 10 to 12 whistles or for about 15 to 20 minutes or till the chana is tender and cooked well. if cooking chana in a pan then it can take about an hour or more. cooking time may vary as per quality of chana, size of cooker and intensity of flame. but make sure that the chana is cooked well.

making chole masala recipe

6. drain all the water from boiled chana. keep boiled chana aside.

making chole masala recipe

making masala paste for punjabi chole masala

7. rinse 5 medium sized tomatoes and then roughly chop them.

making chole masala recipe

8. peel 7 to 8 medium sized garlic cloves and 2 inch ginger. rinse and chop them too. measure all the ingredients and keep ready for making ground masala paste.

making chole masala recipe

9. in a mixer, add 5 medium sized tomatoes (roughly chopped), 2 inch ginger (roughly chopped) and 7 to 8 garlic cloves (roughly chopped).

making chole masala recipe

10. next add 5 dry red kashmiri chilies and 2 tablespoons coriander seeds (sabut dhania).

making chole masala recipe

11. grind to a smooth paste. don’t add any water while grinding. this paste is looking so red as i have used kashmiri red chillies and they are known to impart a bright red color to the food. they are also not spicy like the other variety of red chilies available in india.

making chole masala recipe

making punjabi chole masala

12. measure and keep all the ingredients ready for making punjabi chole masala.

making chole masala recipe

13. heat 3 tablespoon oil in a pan or kadai. keep the flame to a low.

making chole masala recipe

14. add the ground masala paste. be careful as the paste can splutter.

making chole masala recipe

15. stir and mix well.

making chole masala recipe

16. keep stirring often.

making chole masala recipe

17. saute the masala paste for 7 to 8 minutes till the raw smell of the tomatoes, ginger and garlic disappears and the oil starts to float on the top. the oil will also start to release from the sides.

making chole masala recipe

18. now add around ½ to 1 cup of water and 2 to 3 slit green chillies. for a thicker consistency in chole masala you can add ½ cup water.

making chole masala recipe

19. mix well and simmer chole masala gravy for 3 to 4 minutes on low flame. you should see oil floating on top of the gravy.

making chole masala recipe

20. then add the boiled chana.

making chole masala recipe

21. mix the chana with the rest of the masala. at this step you can add more water if required.

making chole masala recipe

22. let the chole masala gravy simmer for 10 to 15 minutes on a low flame. mash a few chana with the back of a spoon. this helps in thickening the gravy.

making chole masala recipe

23. keep on stirring in between.

making chole masala recipe

24. once done, then add ½ teaspoon garam masala powder and salt as required. mix well with the rest of the chole masala gravy.

making chole masala recipe

25. simmer chole masala for 2 to 3 minutes more.

chole masala recipe

26. then switch off the flame. lastly add some chopped coriander leaves to chole masala.

punjabi chole masala recipe

27. while serving chole masala, garnish with ginger julienne and coriander leaves. serve punjabi chole masala with slices of onion, lemon wedges and ginger julienne. punjabi chole masala goes well with plain paratha or butter naan or poori or roti or lachha paratha or bhatura.

chole masala recipe



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dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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45 comments/reviews

  1. Finally someone has stated that the Indian cup measure is 250 ml. Thank you.

    Looking forward to trying this recipe. Thank you for posting.

  2. I stumbled across your recipe site and can’t wait to try a few recipes.
    Just curious….can the Chana masala be made the day before (or earlier in the day) and reheated? Always looking for make-ahead recipes to make entertaining a little less stressful. Thanks!

  3. Dassana what kind of garam masala powder to be added for above recipe, cn v added ready made chole masala. Thks!

  4. Tried many recipes from your website, and each one is a winner! Thank you for sharing these treasures with us! 🙂

  5. Hi Dassana,
    Have tried this recipe twice. It’s simple to make, does not need lot of spices, yet so flavourful! I loved the way my kitchen smelled while I was making this chole. And made punjabi chole yesterday. Also a winner!
    Thank you for sharing these recipes.
    Also thank you for the step by step instructions, all the tips, hints, suggestions, alternatives that you so generously embed in your recipe posts.

    Best Wishes,


    You made my 31st Dec 2014 party wonderful & appreciable. I made this recipe for my family get together, all of them liked it very much. I served this along with ur blogs Kulcha.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  7. Wonderful recipe not only this !!! but others as well!! Love the Dahi Wala Bhindi!! it was delicious!!!! 🙂

  8. Hi Dassana,
    Loved your recipe.I recently found your blog.I have cooked Lobia and also this Punjabi chola masala.Simple,easy and homemade style.Thaks for posting.Best of luck .
    Love Ruma.

  9. I tried this and again a recipe that’s just delicious. I have a question about the black salt: how much and is this added when the garam masala powder is added? Thanks!

    • salt depends upon the individual’s taste. black salt is not salty as regular salt, so more quantity is needed. you can also add both rock salt or regular salt + black salt. black salt is added when the garam masala powder is added. you can also add it towards the end.

  10. dassana who needs a cookbook when u r there to make us perfect in cooking..i made this punjabi chana recipe today in the lunch for some guests coming over..nd i was so appreciated for this dish also i made bhindi do pyaza which was also a very successful dish..actually i was looking for a menu where i could make 1 dish without onions nd i just went through ur website without any second thought..

  11. hi dassana

    simply awesome recipe and mind blowing taste i must say seriously, first i was in a 2 mind since its without onions but it tastes better without onions i must say. When the paste was getting fried in oil the smell was bursting with flavours. I made your aloo bature and simply great morning breakfast.
    Thanks again dassana and today i am going to make you punjabi kadi pakora. Will let u know how was it

  12. It looks Yummy, But there is no where mention of Onion. I guess it give more good gravy and little spicyness, Please suggest..

    • this recipe of punjabi chana does not have onions. onion and garlic flavor any food strongly and depending on the recipe it can mar the other subtle and delicate flavors of the recipe.

      in this punjabi chana recipe the aroma, flavor and taste of the freshly ground coriander seeds, red chilies and tomato come out so well and there are no onions to oppose or mar this flavor. its much like the pav bhaji one makes without adding the onions.

      my suggestion is to make this recipe for the first time without adding any onions. but if you still feel the need for the oniony taste, then you can try the recipe with onions.