chana masala
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4.88 from 88 votes

Chole Recipe

One of the best chhole recipe that you can make. This chole masala is made with freshly powdered spices, onions, tomatoes, herbs making the chickpeas taste like the ones you get on the streets of Delhi. 
Prep Time9 hrs
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time9 hrs 45 mins
Course: main course
Cuisine: north indian
Servings: 5
Calories: 237kcal
Author: Dassana Amit


for pressure cooking white chickpeas

  • 1 cup dried white chickpeas or 200 grams white chickpeas (garbanzo beans, kabuli chana or safed chole)
  • 2.5 to 3 cups water for pressure cooking the chickpeas
  • 2 to 3 dried amla or indian gooseberry or 1 black tea bag, optional
  • ½ teaspoon salt or add as required

ingredients for gravy

  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 small garlic cloves + ½ inch ginger, crushed to a paste in a mortar-pestle or ½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder optional
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon amchur powder (dry mango powder), optional and only to be added when you do not have dry pomegranate seeds
  • 2 to 3 green chilies slit
  • 1 to 1.25 cups water or the stock in which the chickpeas were cooked
  • 1.5 to 2 tablespoon oil
  • salt as required

spices for chole masala powder

  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 3 to 4 black peppers
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 medium sized tej patta (indian bay leaf) or 2 small tej patta
  • ¼ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon dry pomegranate seeds
  • 1 to 2 kashmiri dry red chilies

for garnishing

  • some chopped coriander leaves (cilantro leaves)
  • ½ inch ginger julienne
  • 1 medium onion sliced or chopped
  • 1 medium tomato sliced or chopped
  • 1 lime sliced or quartered


soaking and cooking white chickpeas

  • Rinse and soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight. Add enough amount of water as the chickpeas increase in size after soaking it. Rinse the soaked chickpeas.
  • To give a dark color to the chickpeas, traditionally dried amla (indian gooseberries) are added. These also give a faint sourness to the stock. If you do not have dried amla, then add 1 black tea bag.
  • In a pressure cooker add the chickpeas along with the 3 to 4 dried amla pieces or a tea bag. Taj tea bags work very well. Then add water
  • Season with salt and pressure cook the chickpeas for 12 to 15 whistles. The chickpeas should be cooked well and softened. The chickpeas should be soft when you mash it with a spoon. The chickpeas should not give you a bite when you eat it.

roasting spices

  • In a pan, take all the whole spices for the chole masala powder mentioned above and on a low heat begin to roast them.
  • Stir often and roast the spices till they get extra browned. Don't burn them. You have to go beyond a point roasting them even after they become fragrant and they get more browned than what is the norm usually.
  • Let these roasted spices cool and then grind them finely in a coffee grinder or in a dry grinder.
  • By now the chana will be cooked. You will see a darker brown shade in the safed (white chana). Remove the amla pieces which would have softened by now or the tea bag from the stock.

making chole masala

  • Heat oil in a pan or kadai. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till their raw aroma goes away.
  • Then add chopped onions and saute till the onions turn translucent or light brown.
  • Add tomatoes & saute them till they soften and the oil starts to leave the sides of the masala.
  • Then add the powdered chole masala that we ground, along with the red chili powder, turmeric powder & garam masala powder (optional).
  • Stir the dry masala and then add slit green chilies
  • Add the cooked chole. Stir well.
  • Add salt. Then add about 1 to 1.25 cups of the stock in which the chana was boiled. You can also add water instead.
  • Stir and cover the chana.

cooking chole masala

  • Simmer on a low to medium flame. You can also cook without the lid. 
  • The gravy will thicken and reduce. Mash a few chickpeas. This will help thicken the gravy. 
  • Simmer till you get the consistency you prefer. The consistency of this chhole recipe is not thin, but medium consistency or dry.
  • In case, You have not added dry pomegranate seeds while roasting the spices, then you need to add amchur powder (dry mango powder) now. stir the gravy well.
  • Garnish it with coriander leaves & ginger julienne.
  • Serve the punjabi chole recipe with kulchas, bhaturas, pooris, rotis, along with sliced onions, tomatoes and lime. 
  • It also tastes good with steamed rice or jeera rice.


  1. If you don't have amchur or dried pomegranate seeds then add lime or lemon juice toward the end.
  2. You can also use canned chickpeas and add them once the tomatoes are sauteed.

If cooking chickpeas in the pan or pot then:

  1. You have to take enough water in the pot while cooking the chickpeas. It takes a lot of time though. For 1.5 to 2 cups of soaked & drained chickpeas, you can take about 5-6 cups of water.
  2. Adding a pinch of baking soda in the water along with salt, also helps in the cooking process and the chickpeas become really soft when cooked.
  3. You can add about 1 tsp of salt. A little less salt is also alright. I usually add less salt.
  4. Cover the pot and cook the chickpeas. If the water starts to become frothy, then remove the lid and cook chickpeas for some minutes. Remove the scum if there is any while cooking the chickpeas.


Calories: 237kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 321mg | Potassium: 597mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 580IU | Vitamin C: 30.8mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 3.5mg