Thursday, December 8, 2011

Punjabi Cholé aka Channa Masala (Chick peas cooked the Punjabi way)

I love Garbanzo beans in any form, I add them to salads, love it fried n crispy and Kadala Kozhambu is my favorite :)

Recently, I made Cholé Masala for a friend since she loves Punjabi food in general. I have made Cholé earlier but I felt there was something different in the authentic Punjabi version. The reason - lack of freshly roasted and ground spices :) Yes, store-bought channa masala powder alone does not suffice! I searched quite a bit in my quest for the authentic taste and noted down points from many of them that I thought would make a difference to the end-result. Now, here I am, sharing with all of you, all that I incorporated into my Punjabi Cholé. I am happy to mention that it was a hit with my guests! :)

Punjabi Chole

What I Used -

White Channa (Chickpeas / Garbanzo beans) - 1 and 1/2 cups
Tea Bag - 1 (to give chickpeas a nice, dark color)
Bayleaf - 1
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp

Butter - 1 tbsp
Omam / Ajwain / Carom seeds - 1 tsp ( helps to prevent gas formation because of channa)

Onions - 2
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
Channa Masala - 2 tsp (MDH or your favorite brand)
Tomatoes- 2 (medium)
Tomato puree - 2 tbsp

Whole Spices - to be roasted until a grand aroma fills your nostrils and then powdered coarsely

Coriander seeds -2 tbsp
Cinnamon - 1 stick
Cloves - 5 nos.
Cardamoms - 3 nos.
Peppercorns - 8 nos.
Cumin / Jeera - 2 tsp
Whole Red chillies(dried )- 2
Fresh green chillies - 2 (slit)

To garnish -

Coriander leaves (Cilantro)
Lemon (sectioned)

How I Made It -

I have listed the ingredients in the order (except for the spice list at the end) that I would use them in the recipe. I reckon that it makes the recipe user-friendly. Isn't it so? Let me know if otherwise :)

Let's start with the preparatory steps. Yes, you need to make up your mind atleast the previous night if you're planning Cholé Masala for the next day. Soak the channa with lots of water and let them rest overnight (about 8 hours).

  • Pressure-cook Cholé with salt, turmeric, a bayleaf and a tea bag for about 8 whistles. Yes, Cholé needs to cooked very well. The tea-bag and the bay leaf can be removed after cholé gets cooked. Remember to discard the soaking water and cook with a batch of fresh water. This actually applies for any kind of beans/lentils.

  • Take a kadai / deep pan. Melt butter and temper with carom/ ajwain seeds.Add the chopped onions and fry till it turns golden-brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw smell vanishes. Now comes the star of the recipe - the freshly roasted and ground spices! I started with dry-roasting the spices and powdered them coarsely, after letting them cool a bit first.

  • Now your kitchen would be filled with such an awesome smell, thanks to the spices! I also added 2 tsp of Channa Masala as I didn't have Pomegranate powder or even Aamchur (Dry mango powder).  Add chopped tomatoes and let them get mashed. Then add tomato puree and let the whole thing become soft and mushy. Feel free to add a little more oil if your pan is drying out.

  • By now, the pressure would have released from the cooker and you can open it. Drain the water from the cooked cholé. Don't throw the water yet. My friend, Pri, often tells me this is cholé stock and must be put to good use in the Cholé Masala recipe. She is right! It does make a big difference!

  • Add cholé to the pan. Mash about 2 handfuls of the cooked cholé and leave the rest as such. This helps to make the gravy thicker. Add some cholé stock (water); I add in steps to make sure my Cholé does not become runny! Mix everything together and let the cholé absorb the spices well. I closed the pan for about 5 minutes. Uncover and check (and adjust) for salt and spice levels. The hotness from red and green chillies was enough for me, you may add some red chilli powder / cayenne pepper if you want it to be hotter! Add some more water/stock and cook for 3 more minutes, if required.

Channa Masala

That's it :) You've made it! Garnish with fresh cilantro or lemon or some tomatoes! Time to dig in :)

Cholé Batura (deep-fried Indian bread) is a classic combination. Cholé goes wonderfully well with Parathas, Kulchas and all Indian flat breads. If you're having it with rice, make the gravy slightly watery.

P.S : I did not have time to take step-by-step pictures as I was multi-tasking that day and busy preparing Paneer-Cabbage stuffed Parathas, Pulao and some really nice Shahi Paneer with Mixed Veggies, along with Cholé, all within 2 hours!  You already know what my next posts are gonna be :)


  1. wow awesome mouthwatering....

  2. very delicious chole...yummmmmmy

  3. Thanks for the instruction about MV cooking DV. :-) Your chole looks good. I too add ajwain seeds to my chole if i prepare for me and my husband. Otherwise the usual way. Simply enjoying your post.

  4. Thanks, friends for the lovely comments :)


Did you like it? Found something interesting? Do you have a alternate way of doing it? Please leave a line here. Thanks!


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