Punjabi Masala Chole (Punjabi Masala Chickpeas)


Punjabi Masala Chole (Punjabi Masala Chickpeas)

Punjabi Masala Chole

This is a melt in the mouth and to die for recipe of Punjabi masala chole! The taste is a beautiful rich amalgamation of spices and flavours. Punjabi masala chole are best accompanied with Bhature which is where the dish ‘Chole-Bhature’ is derived from but of course you can have chole wih rotli, paratha or even poori.

Chole-bhature is a spicy,  yet delicious and filling dish and is one of the most popular Punjabi recipes which is enjoyed all over India and even abroad. Chole is a spicy curry made with white chickpeas and bhatura is fried leavened flat bread.

I have eaten this dish at many places in across the UK and in India. Each restaurants and dhabas have their own unique flavours and taste for the masala chole. In some places it has been very spicy and rich in flavour while at others it has the unique tangy taste to accompany the bhature. Often the consistency of the chole also varies from slightly thick to semi-dry and dry. I like mine to have a thick sauce with a a balance of spice and tangy flavours.

In this recipe I have carried out some experimentation to achieve a very unique and authentic spicy and tangy flavour and unlike many other versions of chole recipes posted in various places, this one has a wholesome and homely taste and flavour. It does not have the slightly artificial taste like the restaurant or dhaba versions yet it tasted so damn good.

I used tea bags with the chickpeas while I pressure cooked them. This allows for the chickpeas to become soft and cook through completely and is a technique that is fairly regularly used in India. When I first discovered the technique I was somewhat skeptical as to how it would make any difference at all, but I was pleasantly surprised and it did actually work for me. It is an optional step so do omit if you wish to.

Take time to make this dish, enjoy it while you do it and believe me the end results will be well worth the wait.


Punjabi Masala Chole (Punjabi Masala Chickpeas)

  • Servings: 4-6 serving
  • Difficulty: advance
  • Print

250g or 1 cup chickpeas
1 inch cinnamon bark
3-4 cloves
2 organic tea bags
½ – ¾ teaspoon baking soda (for restaurant style add ¾ tsp of soda)

Ingredients to make chole spice mix:
1 tablespoon ghee
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder
1 ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg powder
Juice of half a lemon

Ingredients for tempering:
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon asafoetida
5-6 neem (limdo) leaves
2 bay leaves
2 dry red chillies or 2 fresh green chillies
2 medium red onions
200g or ½ cup beaten yogurt
400g or 1 cup tomatoes (can or fresh)
½ cup of water


  1. Soak the chickpeas for a minimum of 24 hours then thoroughly wash through.
  2. Place the washed chickpeas in a pressure cooker and fill with water until it just covers the chickpeas.
  3. Add the teabags, cinnamon bark, cloves and baking soda to the chickpeas and cook them at a medium heat for 20 minutes. Let the pressure cooker naturally depressurise.
  4. Finely chop the onions and set aside.
  5. Mince the ginger and set aside.
  6. Beat the yogurt until it is lump free, smooth and runny.
  7. With the tomatoes (canned or fresh), ensure the puree is smooth and without chunks.
  8. Once the pressure cooker has depressurised naturally, remove the teabags and discard. Leave the cloves and cinnamon bark in with the chickpeas and liquid.
  9. Transfer the chickpeas to a bowl and add all the spice mix to the chickpeas. Mix gently to avoid breaking the chickpeas. Allow this mixture to rest for at least 20 minutes, ideal time to allow marination is one hour which is how long I left mine for.
  10. Prepare the tempering. Add olive oil to a heated pan and add neem leaves, bay leaves, either dry red chillies or fresh chopped green chillies, cumin seeds and asafoetida. Allow this to become fragrant but not burn or brown.
  11. Next add the onions and cook until brown but not burnt at a medium heat.
  12. Next turn at low heat slowly add the tomato puree and stir continuously. Cook until oil releases from the mixture.
  13. Next, turn down the heat completely and slowly add the beaten yogurt. Stir continuously to prevent curdling. Mix well and cook for a minute. Yogurt does not require a high heat or a long period of time to cook. Over cooking it will make it curdle.
  14. Now add the marinated chickpeas to the tomato mixture. Stir gentle and add salt as required.
  15. Cook for 20 minutes on a low heat stiring gently occasionally 
  16. Garnish with coriander leaves, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes and serve with masala chaas for a cooling drink.
Punjabi Masala Chole (Punjabi Masala Chickpeas)

Best Wishes,



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