Packed with flavors and spices and ridiculously easy to make - give this Punjabi Chole recipe a shot when you’re in the mood for some Indian food.
What Exactly is Punjabi Chole?
Originating in the state of Punjab in India, Chole is actually a protein-rich chickpea curry crafted in a base of onions and tomatoes. The chickpeas are pressure cooked and then dunked in heavily spiced based, and allowed to simmer until they so up all those delicious juices and flavors.
This piping hot curry is then served with some naan bread, pooris or parathas.
Ingredients For the Chole
To make the Punjabi Chole, you’ll need a few ingredients that you can easily get from your local Indian specialty store.
For boiled chickpeas
- 1 cup chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon tea leaves
- 2 dry red chiles
- 1" cinnamon stick
- 1 black cardamom pod
- 2 bay leaves
- Water as needed
For the gravy
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 cups tomato sauce/puree
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- ½ tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon salt (more or less to taste)
- Fresh chopped coriander
- Fresh julienned ginger
- Pomegranate seeds
Kitchen Tools Needed
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Stovetop pressure cooker
- Medium skillet
- Wooden spoon
How to Make the Punjabi Chloe
In a stovetop pressure cooker, add chickpeas and water.
Tie tea leaves, dry red chilies, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, and bay leaves in a small piece of muslin and add to the pressure cooker.
Cook for 7 to 8 whistles or between 25 and 30 minutes until the chickpeas are softened and cooked through.
Once cooked, drain the excess water and set aside the chickpeas.
In a medium skillet, heat ghee over medium heat. Cook until the cumin seeds begin to crackle.
Add in the fresh ginger, garlic, and green chiles, then saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
Next, add in the chopped onions and cook, stirring regularly, for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions are translucent.
Pour in the tomato puree/sauce and stir.
Cook until the moisture has mostly evaporated for 4 to 6 minutes.
Add in the turmeric, coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, garam masala, and salt, and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the chickpeas until well combined.
Add ¼ to ½ cup water and then let simmer for 5 to 6 minutes until it has reached the desired thickness you prefer.
Serve with rice, naan, and a garnish of coriander, pomegranate, and fresh ginger.
Frequently Asked Questions
Adding tea leaves into the spice mixture might sound strange, but it is not! The tea leaves are what lend the recipe a distinct earthy flavor, and most important- that perfect color that the chickpea curry is supposed to have.
Transfer the Chole to an airtight container and refrigerate it. It should stay good there for up to 3 days.
You can also make the Chole in advance and freeze it for later- for those days when you don’t really want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but still don’t want to order takeout. Just remember to transfer the curry to a freezer-safe container to prevent freezer burn. The Chole can stay good in there for up to 3 months.
Tips & Tricks to Make the Punjabi Chole
Ready to give this recipe a shot? Follow these little tips and tricks to really nail the recipe.
- While pressure cooking is a great way to reduce your cooking time, you can also soak the chickpeas the night before you plan to make the Chole. Allowing the chickpeas to soak overnight can really help with the cooking process, and can help the chickpeas imbibe all the wonderful flavors more readily.
- Another benefit of soaking chickpeas is that it helps reduce the amount of a certain acid in them, which has been known to be responsible for flatulence and bloating.
- If you’re not into soaking chickpeas, you can use the canned variety too! This can really be a time saver for when you want to make a quick meal. Just make sure you drain the water and use fresh water to make the gravy portion of the recipe.
- When chopping the onions, make sure you remove the central portion. This will help keep your curry from getting a bitter aftertaste.
- You can also premake the gravy portion of this recipe, and store it in your refrigerator or freezer. This base can work wonderfully with most lentils, and you’ll be able to whip up flavorful meals effortlessly- perfect if you’re always in a time crunch.
- Make sure you top the Chole with a generous amount of chopped coriander leaves and some mint leaves for extra freshness. And of course- don’t forget the lemon wedges too!
Serving Ideas & Suggestions
Ready with your steaming hot bowl of Punjabi Chole? Looking for some ideas and inspiration to serve it. Here are a few you can get started on.
- While the Chole tastes amazing when paired with some kulchas on the side, you can also team it up with any other bread of your choice. You can’t go wrong with some homemade naan of course!
- If you prefer rice, you can also serve this delicious chickpea curry with some steamed Basmati rice.
- Like most other Indian dishes, Chole works wonderfully when you serve it with some roasted poppadom, mango pickle, and some sliced onions. In fact, if you’re trying to make it a healthy meal, you can also make a quick side salad of some fresh chopped or sliced veggies of your choice and serve it with the Chole.
- You can also create quick Indian raita, which is a cooling salad made using yogurt and fresh veggies, which can really balance out this meal.
- To wash it all down, you can whip up a quick pomegranate mint cooler, which is a super refreshing Indian-style drink.
Punjabi or Amritsari Chole
Ingredients for boiled chickpeas
- 1 cup Chickpeas
- 1 tsp Tea leaves
- 2 Dry red chilies
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick
- 1 Black cardamom pod
- 2 Bay leaves
- Water as needed
Ingredients for the gravy
- 2 tbsp Coriander leaves chopped
- 1 tsp Ginger julienne
- 2 tbsp Pomegranate seeds
- In a stovetop pressure cooker, add chickpeas and water.
- Tie tea leaves, dry red chilies, cinnamon sticks, black cardamom, and bay leaves in a small piece of muslin and add to the pressure cooker.
- Cook for 7 to 8 whistles or between 25 and 30 minutes until the chickpeas are softened and cooked through.
- Once cooked, drain the excess water and set aside the chickpeas.
- In a medium skillet, heat ghee over medium heat. Cook until the cumin seeds begin to crackle.
- Add in the fresh ginger, garlic, and green chiles, then saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Next, add in the chopped onions and cook, stirring regularly, for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Pour in the tomato puree/sauce and cook until the moisture has mostly evaporated for 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add in the turmeric, coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, garam masala, and salt, and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the chickpeas until well combined.
- Add ¼ to ½ cup water and then let simmer for 5 to 6 minutes until it has reached the desired thickness you prefer.
- Serve with rice, naan, and a garnish of coriander, pomegranate, and fresh ginger.