Punjabi Chole Recipe (Chole Masala)

Try this quick and easy chole recipe made in the pressure cooker! Chole masala is a traditional Punjabi (North Indian) chickpea curry with onion-tomato based gravy. Pair it with paratha, naan, bhatura or rice for a delicious, protein-packed meal.

Close up of chole masala garnished with onion rings.

❤️ You’ll Love This Chole Recipe

Taste & Texture:

  • Soft, melt-in-your-mouth kind of chickpeas
  • With medium spicy, super flavorful, slightly tangy onion-tomato gravy
  • Seasoned with homemade freshly ground masala.

Quick To Make: This Punjabi chole is super quick to make because it is made in a pressure cooker only. Originally this recipe was posted in 2012 and at that time I have used a traditional stovetop pressure cooker. But nowadays I use instant pot. Detailed instructions below.

Here I have made freshly ground masala instead of store-bought chana masala powder. And it makes the chole masala gravy aromatic. 

🧾 Ingredient Notes For Chole Masala

Ingredients used in chole includes chickpeas, onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, chili, oil, salt and spices.
  • Chickpeas: This is the star of the dish. As we are cooking it into the pressure cooker, you must use the dry chickpeas. That has to be soaked overnight. What if you forget to soak the beans? No worries I have mentioned the quick soaking method below in the notes.
    • Pre-soaking the chole will reduce the cooking time. This reduced cooking time can mean less loss of water-soluble nutrients due to less time of exposure to heat and water. This is the reason, I prefer overnight soaking over quick soaking.
  • Freshly ground chole masala – For making this Punjabi chole recipe, whole spices are dry roasted and ground into the powder. This spice powder recipe is adapted from a cookbook ‘The Dhabas Of Amritsar’. It gives very aromatic flavor to the dish. If in rush, you can use store-bought chole masala powder. Or you can make a big batch of this masala and use it in the recipe over time.
  • Onion: When it comes to Indian cooking, I prefer to use red onions.
  • Tomatoes: Always use roma or plum tomatoes for making gravies. Plus, use ripe, red tomatoes otherwise gravy will turn sour.
  • Anardana and Amchur: This gives a nice tang to the dish just like the restaurant-style chole recipe. In absence of it, use lemon juice.

👩‍🍳 How To Make Chole Masala Recipe? (Stepwise Pics) 

Preparation:

1) Wash the chickpeas under running cold water until water runs clear. Or rinse them 2-3 times until the water is not cloudy anymore. 

2) Then soak in enough water (2-3 inches above) for 8 hours or overnight. After the soaking time, you can see they have double up in size. Discard the soaking water.

Collage of 2 steps showing chickpeas in water and soaked chickpeas.

3) To make fresh spice powder, take whole spices (bay leaves, black cardamoms, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick) in a small pan and dry roast on low-medium heat for 2 minutes or until aromatic.

4) Remove it to a plate and let it cool down. Then grind into a fine powder using a spice grinder.

5) Now chop onion, tomato, ginger, garlic and green chilies. 

6) Then make a smooth puree using the blender.

Collage of 4 steps showing roasting spices, ground into powder, chopped veggies and ground paste.

Making Punjabi Chole Recipe:

1) Heat the oil in a pressure cooker on medium heat. Once hot add cumin seeds and let them sizzle a bit.

2) Then add the prepared onion-tomato puree and a little salt. Let it cook. It will splutter a lot so you can partially cover it. It avoids some mess around the stove. Cook until it becomes a thick paste and oil starts to ooze out from the masala.

3) Then add remaining salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, anardana powder and above-prepared spice powder.

4) Mix well and cook for a minute.

5) Then add soaked chana. 

6) Add water, cover the cooker with a lid.

Collage of 6 steps showing cumin in oil, paste added, spices added, mixed, chickpeas added, water added.

7) Cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes. (if using instant pot, then cook on manual for 35 minutes). Let the pressure go down by itself and then open the lid.

8) Stir with a spatula. Check the chana, it should be cooked and soft, but not mushy. Check the gravy consistency. If gravy is thin and watery, then let it simmer for a few minutes. If it gravy is too thick. add some more water and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Mine was perfect for me. So I have not added any extra water.

9) Now add amchur powder and mix.

10) Lastly, garnish the chole with chopped cilantro and serve.

collage of 4 steps showing cooked chole, mixed, adding amchur, adding cilantro.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Quick soaking method: Take beans and plenty of water in a pan. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Then turn off the stove and cover tightly with a lid. Let it sit for 1 hour. Voila, after 1 hour your beans are at the same stage where you have after overnight soaking.
  • In my capsicum curry, many readers have an issue that their gravy becomes bitter. It happens sometimes when you are grinding the raw onions. How to avoid that? Remove the stem and bottom root of the onion completely. If a single piece of root is present. The gravy will be bitter. Been there done that.
  • If your gravy looks thinner in consistency then mash a few chickpeas with the back of the spatula and simmer for a few minutes. Trust me gravy will thicken nicely.

🥣 Storage Instructions

  • In the refrigerator, this chole stays good for 2-3 days depending on the climate where you live. Store in an airtight container. 
  • In the freezer, this chole masala stays good for up to 3 months. Store the individual servings in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag.
  • To defrost it, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. Or just defrost on the countertop for a few hours. 

🍽 How To Serve Punjabi Chole Masala?

Punjabi chole served with onion and bhatura.

PS Tried this chole recipe? Please leave a star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comment section. I always appreciate your feedback! Plus, Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for all the latest updates. 

Punjabi Chole Recipe (Chole Masala)

4.85 from 33 votes
Close up of chole masala garnished with onion rings.
Try this quick and easy chole recipe made in the pressure cooker! Chole masala is a traditional Punjabi (North Indian) chickpea curry with onion-tomato based gravy. Pair it with paratha, naan, bhatura or rice for a delicious, protein-packed meal.
Kanan
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 45 minutes
Serving Size 3

US measuring cups are used (1 cup = 240 ml)

Ingredients

To Make Fresh Powder:

  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 Black cardamom
  • 4-5 Cloves
  • ½ inch Cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon Black peppercorns

To Grind Into Paste:

  • 1 medium or 1 cup Red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 small or 1 cup Tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 Green chili
  • ½ inch Ginger, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, sliced

For Chole Recipe:

  • 1 cup Dried white chickpeas (Chole or kabuli chana or safed chana)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Anardana powder (dried pomegranate seeds powder)
  • 2 ¼ cups Water
  • ½ teaspoon Amchur powder (dried mango powder)
  • 2 tablespoons Cilantro or coriander leaves, finely chopped

Instructions

Preparation:

  • Wash the chickpeas under running cold water until water runs clear. Or rinse them 2-3 times until the water is not cloudy anymore.
  • Then soak in enough water (2-3 inches above) for 8 hours or overnight. After the soaking time, you can see they have double up in size. Discard the soaking water.
  • To make fresh spice powder, take whole spices (bay leaves, black cardamoms, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick) in a small pan and dry roast on low-medium heat for 2 minutes or until aromatic.
  • Remove it to a plate and let it cool down. Then grind into a fine powder using a spice grinder.
  • Now chop onion, tomato, ginger, garlic and green chilies. Then make a smooth puree using the blender.

Making Punjabi Chole Masala:

  • Heat the oil in a pressure cooker on medium heat. Once hot add cumin seeds and let them sizzle a bit.
  • Then add the prepared onion-tomato puree and a little salt. Let it cook. It will splutter a lot so you can partially cover it. It avoids some mess around the stove. Coon until it becomes a thick paste and oil starts to ooze out from the masala.
  • Then add remaining salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, anardana powder and above-prepared spice powder. Mix well and cook for a minute.
  • Then add soaked chana and water, cover the cooker with lid. Cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes. (if using instant pot, then cook on manual for 35 minutes). Let the pressure go down by itself and then open the lid.
  • Now add amchur powder and mix.
  • Lastly, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Notes

  • Quick soaking method: Take beans and plenty of water in a pan. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Then turn off the stove and cover tightly with a lid. Let it sit for 1 hour. Voila, after 1 hour your beans are at the same stage where you have after overnight soaking.
  • If your gravy looks thinner in consistency then mash a few chickpeas with the back of the spatula and simmer for a few minutes. Trust me gravy will thicken nicely.

Nutrition

Calories: 421kcal (21%) | Carbohydrates: 52g (17%) | Protein: 15g (30%) | Fat: 19g (29%) | Saturated Fat: 2g (10%) | Sodium: 492mg (21%) | Potassium: 820mg (23%) | Fiber: 15g (60%) | Sugar: 11g (12%) | Vitamin A: 872IU (17%) | Vitamin C: 16mg (19%) | Calcium: 110mg (11%) | Iron: 5mg (28%)

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