Punjabi Chole

The ever popular Chole from Punjab is prepared in different ways. Everyone has different ways of making it. I had earlier shared a recipe of Punjabi Chole where the chickpeas alongwith onions, tomatoes and other spices are cooked together in a pressure cooker and gets done quickly. Today, I am sharing another recipe of Chole which requires the onions and tomatoes to be sautéed and cooked well before adding chickpeas to it.  This is a traditional recipe of Punjabi Chole and is a bit time consuming. Also, this recipe does not call for a store bought chole masala. You can make this chole using the spices that we generally have at home.  I follow this method when I have more time on hand. Sauteeing of tomatoes and onions well gives an unique flavor to the Chole. This is one of the few recipes I learnt when I first started cooking.  Chole is generally served with puris or bhaturas, but tastes good even with rotis.  So, here’s how I make my Chole:


For boiling the chickpeas

200 grams chickpeas (kabuli chana)
1 tbsp tea leaves (chai patti)
A piece of cinnamon stick (dalchini)
A black cardamom (badi elaichi)
2 bay leaves (tej patta)
A small piece of muslin cloth (malmal ka kapda)
Salt as per taste (namak)

For the gravy

2 large onions, finely chopped (pyaaz)
2 tomatoes, finely chopped (tamatar)
5 to 6 Garlic cloves (lehsun)
1 inch piece of Ginger (adrak)
1 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
1 tsp oil (tel)
2 bay leaves (tej patta)
A small piece of cinnamon (dalchini)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp red chilly powder (laal mirch)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp dry mango powder (amchoor)
1 tsp crushed pomegranate seeds (anaardaana)
1 green chilly, cut lengthwise (hari mirch)
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (hara dhaniya)
Salt to taste (namak)

For the spice powder

1 tsp coriander seeds (dhaniya)
1 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
10 to 12 black peppercorns (kali mirch)
5 to 6 cloves (lavang)
1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)

Punjabi Chole


  • Wash and soak chickpeas for 5 to 6 hours. 
  • Take a small muslin cloth.
  • Place tea leaves, black cardamom, cinnamon stick, bay leaves on the cloth.
  • Tie and make a small bundle (potli).
  • Transfer soaked chickpeas to a pressure cooker.
  • Add water and salt.
  • Place the spice potli in the midst of the chickpeas.
  • Tea leaves imparts black colour to the chickpeas.   
  • Close the pressure cooker and cook for 6 to 7 whistles.  
  • Allow the steam to escape fully before you open the pressure cooker. 
  • Discard the spice potli.
  • Keep cooked chickpeas aside.
  • Reserve the water in which the chickpeas are cooked.
  • Crush garlic, ginger and keep aside.  
  • To make the spice powder, heat a pan.
  • Add coriander seeds, carom seeds, cumin seeds, black cardamom, black peppercorns and cloves.
  • Dry roast the spices till they turn aromatic.
  • Allow the spices to cool and blend to a fine powder. Keep this aside.
  • Heat a pan.
  • Add ghee and oil.
  • Add bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, crushed ginger and garlic.
  • Saute for few seconds.
  • Now, add the chopped onions.
  • Sprinkle some salt over the onions.
  • Saute the onions, allow them to cook till they turn golden brown and gives out a nice aroma. (Adding salt to the onions, while sautéing, quickens the cooking process). 
  • After the onions are cooked, add chopped tomatoes.
  • Saute and cook till they turn soft and mushy. 
  • Next, add the spice powder, garam masala and give a good mix.
  • Now, add the cooked chickpeas alongwith the water in which it was cooked. 
  • Add amchoor, crushed pomegranate seeds and green chilly.  Mix well.
  • Check the salt. Add salt, if required. 
  • Cook covered for 5 minutes. 
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with masala puris or bhaturas.