Chole Recipe | How to Make Punjabi Chole Masala | Punjabi Chana Masala Recipe

Chole recipe

If you are an Indian, Punjabi Chole (पंजाबी छोले) needs no introduction. The fantastic duo that is Chole-Bhature is popular and much-loved throughout the length and breadth of the country. I mean, have you ever seen anyone say no upon being offered a plate of piping hot chole and fluffy, hot bhaturas? We folks dig right in! So for the unacquainted, let me tell you what a chole recipe comprise of. It’s a vegetarian Indian curry made with chickpeas/garbanzo beans or kabuli chana (काबुलीचना)as they are known in Hindi. The recipe uses a special spice blend that’s known as chole masala(छोले मसाला). Interestingly, some people use the term ‘chole masala’ for both the spice blend and the curry. Chole are had with bhature(भटूरे), which is leavened, fried bread. Some yogurt, onion and lemon on the side are like icing on the cake.

I remember having the best chole in Delhi when I was a teenager. A humble place it was, with a few tables and no chairs. You share a table with strangers; stand around the table in harmony, looking forward to enjoy every morsel of the divinely delicious food.Throughout the years that followed, I have tried countless chole recipes at home trying to replicate the one I had had in Delhi. I figured, it wasn’t possible to create a good chole recipe with the store-bought chole masala/spice blend. After all, that spice blend is the essence of the dish and it needs to be special; robust but not overpowering, fragrant yet subtle in taste. So after several rounds of trial and error in my kitchen, the recipe of ultimate chole masala became a reality. It’s a blend I would cherish for life. I am so not going back to the store-bought chole masala.

Slow-Cooked Punjabi Chole Recipe

Slow cooking is my favorite method, mainly because the food tastes great. The flavors develop so much better and the texture of curries is so amazing, something that cannot be achieved using the conventional method of cooking. Besides, it doesn’t need you to stand in front of the stove and stir or toss the food constantly. You are free to run errands as the food continues to cook on its own.

I have cooked this Punjabi chole recipe in a regular saucepot for about 2 hours.The chole become incredibly soft and melt-in-mouth. The onions and tomatoes vanish in the curry, giving it a uniform and rich texture. If you have a crock pot or a slow cooker, that is great. Try making this chole recipe in a crock pot or slow cooker; you would be blown out of your mind. However, I still do recommend pressure-cooking the chole because otherwise they would take exceptionally long to be done. Just choose good quality chole and you won’t need to add the god forbidden baking soda. It practically ruins the flavor of the curry. If you are in India, you should try requesting your grocer to get gavthi(गावठी) variety of chole for you. They are unhybridized, and hence more delicious and lighter on tummy. That’s what I do. Also, here are the links to the recipes of chole masala and bhature.

Homemade Chole Masala /Spice Blend Recipe

Bhatura Recipe

How to Make Punjabi Chole Recipe

5.0 from 10 reviews
Punjabi Chole Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Punjabi Chole- A hearty curry made from chickpeas (garbanzo beans/Kabuli chana), slow-cooked in a broth seasoned with a special, homemade spice blend.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: North Indian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Chickpea – 1 cup
  • Onion – 1 medium, sliced
  • Tomato - 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece, finely crushed
  • Garlic – 10 cloves, finely crushed
  • Green chilies – 3, partially slit
  • Chole masala – 3 tbsp or to taste
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil or ghee – 3tbsp, divided
  • Cumin seeds – ¾ tsp
  • Asafetida – ¼ tsp
  • Red chili (byadgi) powder – ½ tsp (See notes)
  • Cilantro – 2 tbsp
  • Kasoori methi/Dried fenugreek leaves – ½ tbsp., lightly roasted and crushed
Instructions
  1. Pressure-cook the chickpeas with salt and 3 cups of water or as needed depending on your pressure cooker. The chickpeas would almost triple in volume. Reserve the stock.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil or ghee in a sauce pot and add the onions. Sauté the onions till they start to change color.
  3. Next, add the boiled chickpeas along with the stock. Top it with 2 cups of water.
  4. Add the tomatoes, green chilies, crushed ginger and garlic.Also, add the homemade chole masala.
  5. Once the curry comes to a boil, reduce the heat and cover the pot. Let it simmer for 30 minutes till the tomatoes soften.
  6. After about 30 minutes, take the lid off and let it simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours uncovered. In the meanwhile, knead the bhatura dough so that it can rest in a warm place for a couple of hours.
  7. After 2 hours, the curry has reduced to a thick consistency. It looks rich and smooth. The onions and tomatoes have practically vanished. Check the salt.
  8. To prepare the tempering, heat the remaining 1 tbsp ghee or oil in a tadka pan or a skillet. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add the asafetida and turn the heat off.
  9. Add the red chili powder, being carefully not to burn it.
  10. Immediately pour the tempering over the chole.
  11. Add the kasoori methi and cilantro/coriander leaves. Give it a final mix.
  12. Chole masala is ready. Serve with hot puffed up bhaturas. Enjoy!
Notes
I used Byadgi mirch powder which is a medium-hot variety of dried red chilies. It’s extremely flavorful, tasty and has a fantastic color too. I highly recommend you buy it. Alternatively, you can mix 1 part of Kashmiri chili powder and 1 part of regular hot variety of red chili powder. The taste would vary slightly, tough.

Punjabi Chole Recipe with Step by Step Pictures Below


Step 1

To prepare the ingredients for Punjabi chole recipe, pressure-cook 1 cup chickpeas with some salt and 3 cups of water or as needed depending on your pressure cooker. The chickpeas would almost triple in volume. Reserve the stock. Slice the onion, chop the tomato, slit the chilies, and crush the ginger and garlic. Lay out the spices too.

Ingredients and preparation for punjabi chole recipe


Step 2

Heat 2 tbsp oil or ghee in a saucepot and add a medium-sized sliced onion. Sauté the onions till they start to change color.

saute onions in oil or ghee till they start to change the color


Step 3

Next, add the boiled chickpeas along with the stock. Top it with 2 cups of water.

add boiled chickpeas with the stock and top it up with 2 cups of water


Step 4

Add a medium-sized chopped tomato, 3 slit green chilies, finely crushed 1-inch ginger, and finely crushed 10 cloves of garlic.

add tomatoes, green chilies, ginger and garlic


Step 5

Also, add 3 tbsp or to taste homemade chole masala.

add 5 table spoon homemade chole masala


Step 6

Once the curry comes to a boil, reduce the heat and cover the pot. Let it simmer for 30 minutes till the tomatoes soften.

once the curry starts to boil, cover it with a lid and reduce the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes


Step 7

After about 30 minutes, take the lid off and let it simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours uncovered. In the meanwhile, knead the bhatura dough so that it can rest in a warm place for a couple of hours.

remove the lid and let it simmer for next 1 hour


Step 8

After about 2 hours of slow cooking, the curry has reduced to a thick consistency. It looks rich and smooth. The onions and tomatoes have practically vanished. Check the salt.

after 2 hours of slow cooking, the curry thickens and the onions and tomatoes become a part of the curry, check salt.


Step 9

To prepare the tempering, heat the remaining 1 tbsp ghee or oil in a tadka pan or a skillet. Add ¾ tsp cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add ¼ tsp asafetida and turn the heat off.

tempering of ghee or oil with cumin seeds and asafoetida


Step 10

Add the 1/2 tsp red chili (byadgi) powder, being carefully not to burn it.

add red chili powder after turing the heat off and letting the tempering cool a bit


Step 11

Immediately pour the tempering over the chole.

immediately pour the temper over chole


Step 12

Add ½ tbsp kasoori methi and 2 tbsp cilantro/coriander leaves. Give it a final mix.

add kasoori methi and cilantro and mix


Step 13

Chole masala is ready. Serve with hot puffed up bhaturas. Enjoy!

punjabi chole recipe is ready serve hot with hot bhaturas

You Might Also Like

22 Comments

  • Reply
    Richard Wells
    June 24, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Nicely done. I love Chole Bhature, one of my favorite Indian dishes.

    • Reply
      Monica
      June 26, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Thanks you, Richard. Do try the recipe and share your feedback. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa Turner
    July 21, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Slow-cooked meals are always better taste-wise because the flavours develop so well over the hours of cooking. Can this be made in crockpot? Looking forward to hearing from you. 🙂

    • Reply
      Monica
      July 27, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      That’s very true, Lisa. Yes, you can make this in the crockpot as well.

      • Reply
        Lisa Turner
        August 13, 2017 at 11:28 am

        Hey Monica. I tried this recipe in the crockpot and it was amazing! I love Indian food and your recipes are just perfect for beginners like me! My entire family loved it. The step by step pictures were so helpful. Thanks a ton!

        • Reply
          Monica
          August 13, 2017 at 9:37 pm

          Thank you Lisa. I am glad that you enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  • Reply
    Darshana Sahani
    September 14, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Thanks for an authentic recipe.

  • Reply
    nutan jadhav
    September 19, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    plz put chana masala dry recipe. i love it. thank you

  • Reply
    Chole lover
    September 25, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Nice recipe

  • Reply
    Deepa Anandkumar
    October 25, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Thanks Monica for uploading step by step photo of cooking process.it was quite easy to understand and saved lot of time.
    I can now enjoy all hotel recipe at home.your hard-working really made wonders for all beginners in cooking.thanks a lot.

    • Reply
      Monica
      October 25, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you so much Deepa for your kind words.
      I am glad that you found this site useful. Nothing makes me happier than helping newbies learn to cook with ease. 🙂

  • Reply
    Pallavi
    November 3, 2017 at 11:00 am

    I don’t eat onion-garlic, so will this recipe taste good without onions. Do I need to replace onions with something else.

    • Reply
      Monica
      November 3, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      Onions help form the gravy. You can skip them. Add 1 more tomato instead. Adjust the spices accordingly and in the end mash some chickpeas to thicken the gravy. That should work. 🙂

  • Reply
    Pallavi
    November 5, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I tried your recipe and it came out good . Thanks. My bhaturas didn’t come that well.
    The masala was also good but I felt black cardamom taste dominated probably it’s quantity should be decreased.

    • Reply
      Monica
      November 5, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      I am glad you enjoyed the curry. As far as bahturas are concerned, do try them again. I hope you followed the recipe to the T. Use fresh baking soda and baking powder. With some practice, they will come out well.
      As for the masala, I suggest you consider the size of the black cardamoms. I have made it a lot of times and never had the issue of flavour domination. Make some more masala without black cardamoms and mix it with the one you have already made. It will get balanced and your masala won’t get wasted.

  • Reply
    Pallavi
    November 5, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Can you also share recipe for making Punjabi garam masala. And paneer makhanwala

    • Reply
      Monica
      November 5, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      Sure dear. 🙂

  • Reply
    gauri bisaria
    November 23, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    aap street food chole kuche ki recipe bhi daaliye please, humne bohot try kiya, par streetside jaise taste nahi aa raha

    • Reply
      Monica
      December 9, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      Hi Gauri. Jaldi hi share karungi. 🙂

  • Reply
    Shuba
    March 27, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Monica,
    I made your recipe and it came out pretty good. The Bhature turned out very tasty too. Your chole masala was very aromatic and added a dimension to the chole. You are like a food scientist who has taken the time to experiment and is able to explain small nuances like for e.g. in your amritsari chole recipe you have explained why we use tea when using baking soda. Its understanding and implementing these nuances that make food not just good but exceptional. Thanks for an overall great recipe.

    P.S:
    I made the following small changes to suit my need and I don’t think I compromised on the taste.
    1. For Bhature, instead of all purpose flour I substituted whole wheat and bread flour and the taste was much better than regular puris.
    2. For Chole masala, I cut down the use of both the cardamoms by half as I usually find it quite overpowering.

    • Reply
      Monica
      March 28, 2019 at 7:30 pm

      Thank you Shuba for your kind words. I am so glad you find the details I give out to be useful.
      As far as making changes to the recipe is concerned, I am all for it. After all, it must suit one’s palate. I really loved your idea of using whole wheat and bread flours to make bhatura. Very impressive and I so tempted to it out myself.
      Thank you for such a glorious review. 🙂 Happy cooking!

  • Reply
    Romi
    May 17, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Lipsmackimg Chole. First time I added hing tadka on top like this and it was wow. I cooked chole for 2.5 hours and it made chole taste better than usual

  • Leave a Reply

    Rate this recipe: