easy chana masala recipe without chana masala powder, punjabi chole recipes

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easy punjabi chana masala recipe or chole masala recipe with step by step photos. this is an easy and delicious chana 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 chana masala recipe is for keeps.

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

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 chana has a little gravy and is not totally dry.

i have adapted this chana masala recipe from the cookbook 1000 Great Indian Recipes. 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 punjabi chana 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.

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

easy punjabi chana masala recipe below:

4.73 from 11 votes
easy punjabi chana masala recipe
prep time
9 hrs 40 mins
cook time
35 mins
total time
10 hrs 15 mins

punjabi chole masala recipe - white chickpeas in a smooth & lightly spiced tomato sauce made without chana masala powder.

course: main course, snacks
cuisine: north indian, punjabi
servings: 4
calories: 370 kcal
author: dassana amit
ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)
main ingredients for chana 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 chana 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 recipe
cooking chana:
  1. 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.

  2. then boil the chana with 2.5 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a pressure cooker or a covered pan with enough water.

  3. 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.

  4. once the chana is cooked, then drain all the water from the chana. keep the cooked chana aside.

making chana masala paste:
  1. rinse the tomatoes and then chop them.

  2. peel the garlic and ginger and chop them roughly.
  3. in a mixer or blender, add the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, dry red chilies and coriander seeds. no need to add water.
  4. grind or blend to a smooth paste.
making punjabi chana masala:
  1. heat oil in a pan and add the ground paste.
  2. 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.

  3. now add the green chillies and ½ to 1 cup water. mix very well.

  4. cook for 3 to 4 minutes on a low to medium flame.

  5. add the boiled chana.
  6. mix the chana with the rest of the masala.
  7. let the chana masala simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes on a low flame. keep on stirring in between.

  8. then add the garam masala powder and salt and mix with the rest of the chana masala.

  9. simmer chana masala gravy for 2 to 3 minutes more.

  10. lastly add chopped coriander leaves to chana masala.

  11. serve the punjabi chana masala with slices of onion, lemon wedges and ginger julienne along with pooris, naan, bhature, bread or steamed rice.
recipe notes

tips for making punjabi chana masala recipe:

  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 chana 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.

approximate nutrition info per serving:

Nutrition Facts
easy punjabi chana masala recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 370 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 22%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 1277mg 53%
Potassium 1127mg 32%
Total Carbohydrates 51g 17%
Dietary Fiber 14g 56%
Sugars 15g
Protein 13g 26%
Vitamin A 37.3%
Vitamin C 151.6%
Calcium 12.1%
Iron 26.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

how to make easy punjabi chana masala recipe:

a) soaking and pressure cooking chana:

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

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

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.

4. next add 1 teaspoon salt.

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.

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

b) making masala paste:

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

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.

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

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

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 punjabi chana masala gravy:

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

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

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

15. stir and mix well.

16. keep stirring often.

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.

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

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

20. then add the boiled chana.

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

22. let the chana 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.

23. keep on stirring in between.

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

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

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

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

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This post was last modified on May 26, 2018, 12:55 pm

    Categories Curry RecipesDal RecipesDinner RecipesNorth Indian RecipesPunjabi RecipesVegan Recipes

View Comments (45)

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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..

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Wonderful recipe not only this !!! but others as well!! Love the Dahi Wala Bhindi!! it was delicious!!!! :)

    • welcome aparna and thanks for motivating us with your positive feedback on recipes.

    • thanks Tabassum. you can join the email subscription form to receive weekly newsletter of recipes.


    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.

    • firstly wishing you a happy new year shalini. good to know and great :-)
      welcome as always shalini.

  • 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,

    • welcome nageshwari. thanks for your positive feedback and kind words. even i love the smell of spices while making chole.

  • Tried many recipes from your website, and each one is a winner! Thank you for sharing these treasures with us! :-)

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

    • welcome mohini. use any good quality garam masala. homemade is always better. yes you can use chole masala also.

  • 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!

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

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

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