Soak the dried white chana (chole) overnight or for 7 to 8 hours.
Drain and Add chickpeas with 3 to 4 cups of water in the pressure cooker. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt or as required.
Pressure cook the chickpeas till they are cooked completely. You can also cook the chickpeas in a pot or pan.
Meanwhile, prepare the onion paste with 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. Also drain the cooked chickpeas and set aside.
Sautéing spices, onions and tomatoes
In a pan heat oil. Fry all whole spices till fragrant.
Add the onion paste. Sauté until light golden.
Add the tomato puree and all the spice powders mentioned in the above list.
Fry until oil leaves the sides of the masala and the masala is well browned.
Now add the chopped palak and salt. Stir and saute for 4 to 5 minutes.
Making palak chole
Add the cooked chole and stir. 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.
Chickpeas: Though white chickpeas taste fabulous here, but you can swap them with black or brown chickpeas. The curry will taste good with black or brown chickpeas. Canned chickpeas can be also be used in the recipe and it will save some cooking time. Note that aged chickpeas will take a longer time to cook.
Spinach: Use only the leaves of the spinach. Include stems only if they are tender. Rinse your spinach very well in water. If you prefer, you can blanch the leaves. For frozen spinach, thaw them completely and squeeze out the extra water.
Whole spices: Try to include all the whole spices as listed. If at all you have to skip any of them, then I suggest to omit black cardamom and tej patta.
Soaking and cooking chickpeas: Chickpeas which have been soaked overnight really cook and soften well. If you have forgotten to soak them, then boil water in a pan. Switch off the heat and add rinsed chickpeas. Cover and soak for two hours. You can cook chickpeas in a pot on the stove-top or in the Instant Pot.
Cooking chickpeas in Instant Pot: For cooking in an Instant pot, add 3 cups water to the chickpeas and salt. Pressure cook on high pressure for 25 to 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally and then open the lid.
Cooking chickpeas in a pan: Use a deep pan or pot. Add the chickpeas, salt and 3 to 4 cups water. Cover the pan and cook chickpeas on medium to medium-high flame until they have softened. If the water starts frothing and bubbling, partially cover the pan or remove the lid altogether.
Consistency: You can choose to make the gravy thick or having a medium consistency by adding less or more water.
Spicing: Adapt this palak chole recipe to your tastebuds by adding less or more of the red chilli powder and green chillies.
Dry mango powder: To give some tangy taste to the curry, you can add either dry mango powder or dried pomegranate seeds powder. If you do not have either, add ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice to the curry once the cooking is complete.