Punjabi Chole

Punjabi Chole


Punjabi Chole is a spicy and tangy chickpea curry. The curry is a popular Indian dish, which is typically served with rice and/or flat breads.

If you’ve ever enjoyed eating at an Indian restaurant or dhaaba you’d have 100% seen a chickpea curry on the menu. It is my go-to curry when I can’t decide what to order.

As amazing as this super yummy curry is, it is one greasy dish! Well, I have nothing against a greasy curry; I lurrrrve a greasy curry even, but the after-effects of it is less than desirable. But, dont’ you worry I’ve got you sorted!

Now, this recipe is quite like the restaurant version minus the grease. Sounds good, right?

This classic curry is a gorgeous blend of whole and ground spices with a hint of tanginess. Punjabi Chole originated in North India and is widely popular across the country. Punjabi Chole was a regular feature in my home.

Also, when we expected guests, this curry was one of the most popular items that would appear in a dinner meal plan. My mother would serve this with pooris, rotis or pulao. This item alone on the menu would delight us endlessly.

Although mum made sensational food, unfortunately she had not documented many recipes for future reference. I’ve simply had to work on the much-loved recipes from memory and put my own spin from the methods I have learnt from the cookbooks, cookery shows and bloggers. The reason I am going on about this is because the recipe is really close to my heart. Also, after trying and failing many times, I am confident about making this recipe now and I have the right combination worked out.

It has taken many trials and tribulations to get the right combination of ingredients to get the tastiest Punjabi Chole ever. I have an inkling that this will become a tradition, much like mum’s, to serve this sensational chickpea curry for guests or a potluck party. Hope you enjoy this family favourite recipe.

Recipe Variations

  1. Add garlic, if you prefer. Alternatively, use garlic cloves or ginger-garlic.
  2. If you feel the dish is too tangy, avoid using the tamarind paste.
  3. To make the curry more indulgent, skip the oil and cook it in ghee or butter.
  4. Swap white chickpeas for the brown variant.
  5. Simmer the curry longer for up to 30 minutes for a thick, chunky gravy. Simmering the curry makes all the difference for that restaurant style chickpea curry.
  6. Kasoori methi renders a lovely flavour. Omit it if unavailable.
  7. Anardana (dried pomegranate seed powder) is the ‘secret’ ingredient in a good restaurant-style Punjabi chole. That said, many chole masala brands have anardana in their spice blend, you could get away without it.

Find More Curry Recipes

Paneer Masala

Restaurant Style Dal Fry

Egg Masala

Lasooni Paneer Curry

Mushroom & Capsicum Curry

Punjabi Chole
Punjabi Chole

Serves: 3


  • Chickpeas – 1 1/2 cups
  • Onion – 2 large
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
  • Tomato purée – 2 1/2 cups
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cloves – 2
  • Cardamom – 2
  • Tea bags – 2
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
  • Aamchur/ dry mango powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Anardana (pomegranate seed powder) – 1/2 tsp
  • Tamarind paste – 1/4 tsp
  • Chole masala powder – 3 tspn
  • Kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) – 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tblsp, chopped
  • Water – 4 cups
  • Salt – To taste
  • Oil – 2 Tblsp
  • Butter – 25g


Prep: Soak chickpeas in water overnight for 8 to 12 hours.

  1. Drain the water in which the chickpeas have been soaking.
  2. Place the soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker.
  3. Pour 4 cups of water. Along with it, add cloves, cardamom, bay leaf and chickpeas.
  4. Cover pressure cooker and cook for 3 whistles.
  5. Chop onions finely.
  6. Discard the whole spices and tea bags once the cooker’s pressure settles,
  7. Strain the water from the chickpeas, and reserve the stock to make the gravy.
  8. Heat oil in a skillet or pot, add chopped onions and fry them translucent.
  9. While the onions cook, add a few pieces of chopped ginger.
  10. Cook the ginger till it is fragrant.
  11. Add tomato purée.
  12. Cook the tomato puree till the oil separates from the sides.
  13. To this, add the dry spices excluding kasoori methi and tamarind paste.
  14. Stir to combine the spices and tomato-onion mixture.
  15. Add some of the strained chickpeas stock to thin the gravy down.
  16. Bring it to a boil. Add the boiled chickpeas. Mix well.
  17. At this stage, add salt, and more stock optionally to make the gravy dilute.
  18. Crush and sprinkle kasoori methi in the curry.
  19. Cover and cook on medium-low for 15 minutes or longer.
  20. After the said time, the gravy would have reduced a bit.
  21. You could leave it at that if you want your curry semi-dry or add 1/2 to 1 cup water and proceed cooking it for 5 to 7 minutes.
  22. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Cover and keep the vessel on low flame for 2 minutes.
  23. Turn the stove off after two minutes and add the butter.
  24. Cover and let the butter melt completely in the latent heat of the pot.
  25. Serve hot Punjabi Chole with flat breads or steamed white rice.

Recipe Notes:

  1. The curry can be veganised. Skip the butter.
  2. Adjust ingredients and spices to suit your taste.
  3. If you don’t have access to dry chickpeas, alternatively use two chickpeas cans. Drain and pressure cook them with tea bags and spices for 1 whistle, as suggested in the recipe.
  4. The deep brown colour comes from the tea bags. You could skip the teabags if you like a reddish curry.
  5. If you don’t have tea bags, boil tea. Strain the liquid and use the water in the gravy.
  6. Cooking the spices with the chickpeas is the real game changer. I have tried cooking without and trust me, makes all the difference.

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