Punjabi Chole

Punjabi Chole, not to be mistaken for chana masala is a quintessential North Indian dish. Served with piping hot bathura and sirke wale pyaaz, it’s one meal you’ll be dreaming about for days.

Chole Bature

What are Punjabi Chole?

Punjabi Chole have a distinct flavor and color to them unlike most chickpea gravies. This dish has a prominent smokiness with a balanced tang and deep dark color. In this recipe I’ll share how to get that perfect balance of flavor along with how to achieve that beautiful rich color.

Punjabi Chole

While Punjabi Chole require a little extra time,  they are really easy to make, and it’s worth every minute. This Punjabi Chole recipe tastes like a Mom has lovingly slow cooked this comforting meal with all the love in her hands.

You can serve this with almost anything as a side dish or make it the main event with some piping hot bathuras.

Chole Bature

Punjabi Chole Key Ingredients

  1. Chickpeas/ Kabuli Chana: I have used dried chickpeas for this recipe because I feel the spices soak in best when cooked with the dried chickpeas. If you are really in a pinch you can make it using canned chickpeas. If using canned chickpeas, follow the same recipe of making onion tomato masala. Replace boiled chickpeas with canned chickpeas. Cover and cook until the chickpeas are soft and tender.
  2. Grated onions: grated onions cooked down until golden brown gives it the balance of sweetness and thicken up the gravy.Punjabi Chole
  3. Anardana: Pomegranate seed powder helps for some tartness, for that authentic taste. If you can’t find anardana you can substitute it for amchoor which is a dried mango powder.
  4. Black tea bag: cooking your dried chickpeas with the tea bag helps impart that dark color and do not hamper the taste of the cholee in any way.Punjabi Chole
  5. Chole/Chana masala: you can either use homemade (see below) or store bought, my favorite store bought chole masalas are Everest or MDH
  6. Tej Pata: Indian Bay Leaves give the smoky flavor we crave for in cholePunjabi Chole

Soaking Chickpeas

While making any chickpea or kidney bean recipe; it’s good to soak the chickpeas overnight or at least for 8 hours. Soaking beans or chickpeas reduces the phytic acid which causes bloating and gas.

If you forget to soak the chickpeas overnight, add chickpeas to hot boiled water, cover and let soak for 3-4 hours.

Homemade Chole Masala

Punjabi Chole

Punjabi Chole

Punjabi Chole
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Punjabi Chole, a quintessential North Indian dish with a distinct smokiness, balanced tang and deep, dark color. Here's how to make it.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4-5
To pressure cook
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas / kabuli chana
  • 1 dal cheeni/cinnamon stick
  • 2 badi elaichi/ black cardamom
  • 1 tea bag
  • 2 tej patta; Indian bay leaves
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Punjabi Chole Masala
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1¼ cup cup grated onion (from about 1 large onion)
  • ½ tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 cup crushed tomatoes; fresh or canned
  • 3 teaspoons chole masala; homemade or store bought; Everest or MDH
  • ½ teaspoon lal mirch/red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon anardana/ pomegranate seed powder
  • ½ teaspoon bhunna jeera/ roasted cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon dhaniya/coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoon salt; adjust to taste
  • 1 inch ginger cut into julienne
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methil/dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
To pressure cook
  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight in enough water to cover them. In the morning, drain the water.
  2. In a pressure cooker add the soaked and drained chickpeas, a tea bag, bay leaves, green and black cardamom, cinnamon stick, grated ginger, salt and 4 to 5 cups water. Pressure cook the beans for one whistle and then set to medium heat, let cook for 20-25 minutes until the chickpeas become soft. If using an Instant pot, pressure on manual mode vent off for 20 minutes and let pressure naturally release.
Punjabi Chole Masala
  1. In a wok or wide saucepan, heat the oil. Once hot, add grated onions. Sauté the onions until they become translucent and then add the ginger garlic paste. Cook down the onions until light golden brown in color.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, mix, cover and let cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat.
  3. Uncover, add the chole masala, red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, anardana, salt and mix.
  4. Add the masala mixture to the chickpeas and it’s water, mix, taste for salt/adjust if needed and cover.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes, if using an Instant Pot, slightly cover with a lid and set the sauté function for 16 minutes, allowing the chickpeas to cook with the masalas
  1. Once the Chole have cooked and reached the desired thickness, turn off heat and immediately add julienned ginger, garam masala, kasuri methi and chopped coriander leaves.
  2. Serve with bhatura, roti, paratha or plain rice.
Chole always taste better the next day as the spices fully soak in the chickpeas.
I prefer a hearty Punjabi Chole gravy, for a thinner gravy add more water.
Chole freeze well. Once down to room temperature, store in an airtight container and freeze.

Punjabi Chole


10 thoughts on “Punjabi Chole

  1. 4. Add the masala mixture to the chickpeas and it’s water, mix, taste for salt/adjust if needed and cover.

    Is this the soaked chole and 5 cups water?

  2. Hi Nisha! Thank you for the recipe. Can I still make this reciped without the black tea bag? We keep tea powder only at the house.

  3. Hi! This is currently on the stove right now and smells delicious. Can’t wait to dig in! But quick question, how much water do you add if you’re using canned chickpeas? I just eyeballed it but wasn’t sure if there was an actual amount I should be adding.

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