Chana Masala, Authentic Punjabi Chole Recipe | Chickpea Curry

Chana Masala, Authentic Punjabi Chole Recipe | Chickpea Curry

Chana Masala is one of the most popular Indian curry dish made with white chickpeas in an onion-tomato base. Across India Chickpea Curries are made in various styles.

In this post, I am sharing 2 super delicious chana masala recipes.

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chana masala recipe, chole recipe, how to make chana masala

  • Authentic Punjabi Chana Masala – Made in a pan on the stovetop with freshly ground spices.
  • Instant Pot Chana Masala (Home Style) – One pot, super easy and does not require the special chana masala spice blend or powder.

Both the recipes are shared with step by step photos and taste awesome. So you can make either of them depending upon the gadgets and time you have. 

About Punjabi Chana Masala

This Punjabi Chole Masala is an Authentic North Indian Style Chickpea Curry made with white chickpeas, freshly powdered spices, onions, tomatoes and herbs.

This is one easy and yet lip smacking Punjabi chana masala recipe which tastes awesome. It is one of the most tried and tested delicious chickpea curry recipe on the blog. It has been tried not only by me innumerable times, but also by many readers.

There are many variations of making chole masala. But I liked this Punjabi chole recipe the most. It tastes like the Punjabi chole you get in the streets of Delhi and Punjab. 

 

This chickpea curry recipe has been adapted from Anita’s blog. Over a period of six years from the time I adapted this recipe, I made some changes in proportions as well as ingredients.

After so many changes, here is a recipe that gives a good balance of spiciness, taste and flavor. so I decided to update this in the post too.

The original chole recipe on this blog was published on Aug 20 2009. Its 8 years now and I have now updated the recipe with the variations and with step by step pics.

However, keeping the old pic of the spices I took with mobile when I started the blog in 2009, just as a memoir.

spices for Punjabi chole recipe

Chole bhature is mine and the family’s favorite dish. When living in Delhi and Gurgaon, we would get awesome chole bhature In many places.

Since I do not live in these places any more, I make this recipe often which tastes exactly like the street side chole, minus the heat. Since we don’t prefer too spicy food. But you can increase the quantity of red chili powder and garam masala powder to get the extra spice and heat.

Serve this delicious chana masala with tandoori rotis or phulka or kulcha or bhatura or poori or naan, along with sliced onions and lime. It also tastes good with plain rice or jeera rice.

How to make chana masala

For ease of understanding, I have divided this post into 3 steps.

  • Step 1 – soaking and cooking chickpeas
  • Step 2 – roasting spices to make chole masala powder
  • Step 3 – making chole gravy

Lets begin with step 1 – soaking and pressure cooking chickpeas

1. Wash and soak 1 cup chickpeas (chana or chole) in enough water overnight. Add enough amount of water as the chickpeas increase in size after soaking it. Rinse the soaked chickpeas in water. Pic of rinsed & soaked chickpeas.

soaked and rinsed chole or chickpeas

2. To give a dark color to the chickpeas, traditionally dried amla (Indian gooseberries) are added. These also give a faint sourness to the stock. If you do not have dried amla, then add 1 black tea bag. You can also just cook the chickpeas with salt and water.

dried amla for chole recipe

3. In a pressure cooker add the chickpeas along with the 2 to 3 dried amla pieces or a tea bag. Taj tea bags work very well. Then pour 2.5 to 3 cups water.

making chole masala recipe

4. Season with ½ tsp salt. Stir very well.

season with salt

5. Pressure cook the chickpeas for 12 to 15 whistles. The chickpeas should be cooked well an softened. The chickpeas should be soft when you mash it with a spoon. The chickpeas should not give you a bite when you eat it. If you do not have a pressure cooker, then cook the chickpeas in a pot with plenty of water. Depending on the quality of chickpeas, it can take less or more time.

making chana masala recipe

Making chole masala powder

6. Meanwhile, in a pan, take all the whole spices for the chole masala and on a low heat begin to roast them. The spices used for masala are following:

  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 3 to 4 peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 medium Indian bay leaf/tej patta or 2 small tej patta
  • ¼ tsp carom seeds/ajwain
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp dry pomegranate seeds
  • 1 or 2 dry red chilies
whole spices of chole masala

7. stir often and roast the spices till they get extra browned. Don’t burn them. You have to go beyond a point roasting them, even after they become fragrant and they get more browned than what is the norm usually.

roasting spices for chole masala or chana masala

8. The extra browned & roasted spices below.

roasted chana masala or chole masala

9. let these roasted spices cool and then grind them finely in a coffee grinder or in a dry grinder.

ground chana masala or chole masala powder

10. By now the chickpeas is cooked. Pic below. You will see a darker brown shade in the white chickpeas. Remove the amla pieces which would have softened by now or the tea bag from the stock.

cooked chana or chole or chickpeas

Making chole masala

11. heat 1.5 to 2 tbsp oil in a pan or kadai. add ½ tsp ginger-garlic paste and saute till their raw aroma goes away.

making Punjabi chole masala

12. then add 1 medium sized finely chopped onion and saute till the onions turn translucent or light brown.

making chana masala recipe

13. add 1 medium sized finely chopped tomato.

making chole masala recipe

14. saute the tomatoes till they soften and the oil starts to leave the sides of the masala.

making chole masala recipe

15. then add the powdered spices that we made, along with ½ tsp red chili powder and ¼ tsp turmeric powder.

adding chole masala or chana masala powder

16. Stir well. Then add 2 to 3 slit green chilies to the onion-ginger-tomato mixture.

Punjabi chole masala recipe

17. Add the cooked & drained chickpeas. Reserve the stock.

add the chole or chana or chickpeas

18. stir well.

stir the chana masala

19. Season with salt as per requirement. Stir. Keep the addition of salt in check as salt is also there in the stock.

add salt to the Punjabi chole masala

20. Add about 1 to 1.25 cups of the reserved stock or water. Stir well.

making chole recipe

Cooking Chole Masala

21. Cover and simmer on a low to medium flame. You can also cook chickpeas without the lid. The gravy will thicken and reduce. Mash a few chickpeas. This will help thicken the chickpea curry. You can keep the consistency you prefer. At home, we prefer chole with a bit of gravy.

making chole recipe

22. In case, you have not added dry pomegranate seeds while roasting the spices, then you need to add amchur powder (dry mango powder) now. About 1 tsp amchur powder is enough. However, you can add less or more of it as per your taste. Stir the gravy very well.

simmering Punjabi chole masala

23. The chana masala is ready to be served.

chana masala ready to be served

24. Garnish with chopped onions and coriander leaves. Serve the Punjabi chole with kulcha or bhaturas or aloo bhatura or poori or naan or roti, along with sliced onions and lime. This chickpea curry also tastes good with plain rice or cumin rice.

Punjabi chana masala recipe

Tips to make Punjabi Chana Masala

  • I use dried amla (dried Indian gooseberry) and dry pomegranate seeds. The dried amla gives a dark color to the chole, along with a light tang. The pomegranate seeds give a sour taste.
  • Now I know that these two ingredients are not easily available everywhere in India as well as in the world. So as a substitute, when I did not get these, two ingredients, I would add Dry mango powder (amchur powder) towards the end. In the absence of amchur powder, you can also squeeze some lime juice towards the end.
  • If you are not fussy about the dark color, then just plainly cook the chickpeas in water with some salt. A pinch of baking soda added while cooking, makes the chickpeas light and soft. I usually do not add baking soda.
  • What contributes to the flavors and aroma of the chhole is the freshly ground chole masala. The spices are roasted till they get extra browned and are later ground. This chole masala is then blended with sauteed onion-ginger-tomato mixture. This makes the chickpea curry more flavorsome.

I have shared many different types of chickpea curries. Few of the popular one are:

  1. Pindi Chole – Easiest and tasty vegan chana recipe to make. As no grinding, no long frying or sauteing is required.
  2. Amritsari Chole – Tastes similar to the chole masala one gets in the Punjabi joints on the streets of Delhi.
  3. Aloo Chole – Potato and Chickpea Curry
  4. Palak Chole – Spinach and Chickpea Curry
  5. Paneer Chole – Cottage Cheese and Chickpea Curry

This recipe post is from the archives (August 2009) and has been republished and updated on 6th June 2020.

Many of my recipes have detailed step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Chana Masala (Indian Chickpea Curry)

One of the best chhole recipe that you can make. This chana masala is made with freshly powdered spices, onions, tomatoes, herbs making the chickpeas taste like the ones you get on the streets of Delhi. 

chana masala
Servings (change the number to scale):5

(1 CUP = 250 ML)

soaking and cooking white chickpeas

  • Rinse and soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight. Add enough amount of water as the chickpeas increase in size after soaking it. Rinse the soaked chickpeas.

  • To give a dark color to the chickpeas, traditionally dried amla (indian gooseberries) are added. These also give a faint sourness to the stock. If you do not have dried amla, then add 1 black tea bag.

  • In a pressure cooker add the chickpeas along with the 3 to 4 dried amla pieces or a tea bag. Taj tea bags work very well. Then add water

  • Season with salt and pressure cook the chickpeas for 12 to 15 whistles. The chickpeas should be cooked well and softened. The chickpeas should be soft when you mash it with a spoon. The chickpeas should not give you a bite when you eat it.

roasting spices

  • In a pan, take all the whole spices for the chole masala powder mentioned above and on a low heat begin to roast them.

  • Stir often and roast the spices till they get extra browned. Don’t burn them. You have to go beyond a point roasting them even after they become fragrant and they get more browned than what is the norm usually.

  • Let these roasted spices cool and then grind them finely in a coffee grinder or in a dry grinder.

  • By now the chana will be cooked. You will see a darker brown shade in the safed (white chana). Remove the amla pieces which would have softened by now or the tea bag from the stock.

making chole masala

  • Heat oil in a pan or kadai. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till their raw aroma goes away.

  • Then add chopped onions and saute till the onions turn translucent or light brown.

  • Add tomatoes & saute them till they soften and the oil starts to leave the sides of the masala.

  • Then add the powdered chole masala that we ground, along with the red chili powder, turmeric powder & garam masala powder (optional).

  • Stir the dry masala and then add slit green chilies

  • Add the cooked chole. Stir well.

  • Add salt. Then add about 1 to 1.25 cups of the stock in which the chana was boiled. You can also add water instead.

  • Stir and cover the chana.

cooking chole masala

  • Simmer on a low to medium flame. You can also cook without the lid. 

  • The gravy will thicken and reduce. Mash a few chickpeas. This will help thicken the gravy. 

  • Simmer till you get the consistency you prefer. The consistency of this chickpea curry is not thin, but medium consistency or dry.

  • In case, You have not added dry pomegranate seeds while roasting the spices, then you need to add amchur powder (dry mango powder) now. Stir the gravy well.

  • Garnish it with coriander leaves & ginger julienne.

  • Serve the Punjabi chana masala with kulchas, bhaturas, pooris, rotis, along with sliced onions, tomatoes and lime. 

  • This Chickpea Curry also tastes good with steamed rice or jeera rice.

  1. If you don’t have amchur or dried pomegranate seeds then add lime or lemon juice toward the end.
  2. You can also use canned chickpeas and add them once the tomatoes are sauteed.

If cooking chickpeas in the pan or pot then:

  1. You have to take enough water in the pot while cooking the chickpeas. It takes a lot of time though. For 1.5 to 2 cups of soaked & drained chickpeas, you can take about 5-6 cups of water.
  2. Adding a pinch of baking soda in the water along with salt, also helps in the cooking process and the chickpeas become really soft when cooked.
  3. You can add about 1 tsp of salt. A little less salt is also alright. I usually add less salt.
  4. Cover the pot and cook the chickpeas. If the water starts to become frothy, then remove the lid and cook chickpeas for some minutes. Remove the scum if there is any while cooking the chickpeas.

Nutrition Facts

Chana Masala (Indian Chickpea Curry)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 237 Calories from Fat 63

% Daily Value*

Fat 7g11%

Sodium 321mg14%

Potassium 597mg17%

Carbohydrates 36g12%

Fiber 10g42%

Sugar 9g10%

Protein 9g18%

Vitamin A 580IU12%

Vitamin C 30.8mg37%

Calcium 86mg9%

Iron 3.5mg19%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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About Instant Pot Chana Masala

This Chana Masala recipe is one pot, super easy and does not require the special chana masala spice blend or powder.

You also don’t need to make this spice blend at home, as is done in Punjabi Chana Masala recipe shared above. The recipe is also gluten-free and vegan.

Instant Pot Chana Masala served in a rectangular enamel cream bowl with a green border with a brass spoon inside the bowl

This is again my mother in law’s homely chickpea curry recipe that is so good when served with rice or had with naan or roti or poori (Indian fried bread). Since this recipe also happens to be our favorite chickpea curry, I often end up making this one at home in the Instant Pot.

This home style Punjabi chana masala recipe is simple in the sense that everything including the chickpeas are cooked together in the IP. Later everything is simmered till you get a medium consistency in the gravy. The recipe is also not spicy.

There is one special aromatic spice that is added to this chana masala gravy. Guess?

No, it is not black cardamoms or cloves or cinnamon. It is carom seed (ajwain or omam). Carom seeds also help in digestion. Now if you do not have carom seeds, kindly skip them altogether and the instant pot chickpea curry will still taste good.

Instant Pot Chana Masala in a bowl

Soaking Chickpeas

While making any chickpea or Rajma (Kidney Bean Curry), it is always better to soak them overnight or at least for 8 hours as then it is easier to cook them. Soaking beans or chickpeas reduce the phytic acid which causes bloating and flatulence.

Pro Tip: If you have forgotten to soak the chickpeas, then add the chickpeas to hot boiled water. Cover and soak for 1 to 2 hours. I would always suggest to soak chickpeas and not directly cook the dried chickpeas.

Soaking also reduces the cooking time and ensures that the chickpeas are really softened well. This not only gives a good texture but the chickpeas also become easy to digest.

Serve Instant Pot Chana Masala with finely chopped onions, green chilli and lemon wedges with a side of bread, dinner rolls, naan bread, roti, poori or steamed rice.

Topping with chopped onions or lemon juice on the chickpea curry really adds a lot of taste.

How to make Instant Pot Chana Masala

1. Rinse and then soak 1 cup dried white chickpeas overnight or for 8 to 9 hours in enough water. Rinse the soaked chickpeas in running water for a couple of times. Drain all the water and keep aside.

soaked chickpeas in a bowl

2. Switch on the IP and press the sauté button setting the time to 12 minutes on normal mode.

Instant Pot Switched on

3. Heat oil. Let the oil become hot (but not sizzling or smoking hot). Add the whole spices – 1 inch cinnamon, 6 cloves, 1 tej patta (indian bay leaf), 2 black cardamoms, 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain) and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds.

sauteing whole spices in Instant Pot

4. Let the spices crackle and splutter.

sauteing whole spices in Instant Pot

5. Then add ½ cup finely chopped onions.

adding onions to instant pot

6. Mix and begin to sauté the onions.

sauteing onions in instant pot

7. Sauté till the onions turn translucent.

sauteing onions in instant pot

8. Now add 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger, 2 teaspoons finely garlic and 2 to 3 slit green chillies.

adding ginger, garlic and slit green chillies to instant pot

9. Sauté for about 6 to 7 seconds. While sautéing, if the ingredients start sticking or the heat is too much, then reduce the sauté setting to low. Alternatively you can sprinkle some water and deglaze the pan.

sauteing ginger, garlic and slit green chillies in instant pot

10. Add 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes.

Adding chopped tomatoes to instant pot

11. Mix well and begin to sauté the tomatoes. If the tomatoes start sticking, then sprinkle some water. Mix and continue to sauté.

sauteing tomatoes in instant pot

12. Sauté till tomatoes soften and become pulpy.

sauteing tomatoes in instant pot

13. Add the spice powders – ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder. If you do not have kashmiri red chilli powder, then add 1 teaspoon sweet paprika or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or ½ teaspoon red chilli powder.

adding spice powders to instant pot

14. Mix very well and sauté for 3 to 4 seconds.

sauté spice powders in instant pot

15. Add soaked chickpeas.

adding chickpeas to instant pot

16. Mix very well and deglaze the pan. Add salt as per taste.

adding salt to chana masala mixture in instant pot

17. Add 3 cups water.

adding water to instant pot

18. Press the cancel button and press the pressure cook button. Select high pressure and set the time for 30 minutes.

Pressure cook button switched on in instant pot

19. Once the pressure cooking is complete and after the beep is heard, wait for 12 to 15 minutes or more for natural pressure release (NPR). If steam is there, then lift the valve and do a quick pressure release (QPR). Check to see if the chickpeas are cooked and softened. If the chickpeas are al dente or undercooked, then pressure cook for 5 minutes more. Note that aged or old chickpeas will take a lot of time to cook.

Checking cooked chickpeas in instant pot

19. Now press the cancel button again and press the sauté button setting the time to 10 minutes on normal mode.

sauté button switched on in instant pot

20. Let the curry come to a simmer. Mash a few chickpeas before the curry starts simmering. This helps in thickening the gravy.

Mashing Chickpeas in instant pot

21. Simmer till you get the desired gravy consistency (which is neither thin nor very thick).

Cooking Chana Masala Gravy in Instant Pot

22. Then add 1 teaspoon garam masala powder and 1 teaspoon dry mango powder. If you do not have dry mango powder, then add ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Adding Garam Masala Powder to Chana Masala in Instant Pot

23. Mix well. Simmer for a minute. If the gravy becomes too thick, then add some water.

Cooked Chana Masala in Instant Pot

24. Serve Instant Pot Chana Masala garnished with some coriander leaves (cilantro) with a side of steamed rice, cumin rice, bread, dinner rolls, roti, puri or bhatura. Do serve with a side of some finely chopped onions, lemon wedges and green chillies (optional).

Instant Pot Chana Masala in a bowl

 

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Many of my recipes have detailed step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Instant Pot Chana Masala (Without Chana Masala Spice Mix)

An easy and lightly spiced version of chana masala made in the Instant Pot. The recipe does not need the special chana masala spice blend.

Instant Pot Chana Masala in a bowl
Cuisine:north indian,punjabi

Diet:gluten-free,vegan,vegetarian

Servings (change the number to scale):4

(1 CUP = 250 ML)

  • Rinse and then soak 1 cup chickpeas overnight or for 8 to 9 hours in enough water. Later rinse the soaked chickpeas in running water for a couple of times. Drain all the water and keep aside.

  • Switch on the IP and press the sauté button setting the time to 12 minutes on normal mode. Keep all the ingredients ready before you begin.

  • Add oil in the steel insert and let it become hot (but not smoking hot).

  • Add the cinnamon, cloves, black cardamoms, tej patta, cumin seeds and carom seeds. Let them crackle and splutter.

  • Add onions and sauté them till translucent.

  • Now add finely chopped ginger, garlic and slit green chillies.

  • Sauté for about 6 to 7 seconds. While sautéing, if the ingredients start sticking or the heat is too much, then reduce the sauté setting to low. Alternatively you can sprinkle some water and deglaze.

  • Next add chopped tomatoes and sauté till they soften and become pulpy.

  • If the tomatoes start sticking, then sprinkle some water. Mix and continue to sauté.

  • Add turmeric and kashmiri red chilli powder. Mix very well and sauté for 3 to 4 seconds.

  • Add soaked chickpeas. Mix very well and deglaze the pan. Then add salt as per taste.

  • Add water and deglaze the pan if required.

  • Press the cancel button and press the pressure cook button. Select high pressure and set the time for 30 minutes.

  • Once the pressure cooking is complete and after the beep is heard, wait for 12 to 15 minutes or more for natural pressure release (NPR). If steam is there, then lift the valve and do a quick pressure release (QPR). Check to see if the chickpeas are cooked and softened. If the chickpeas are undercooked, then pressure cook for 5 more minutes.

  • Now press the cancel button again and press the sauté button setting the time to 10 minutes on normal mode.

  • Let the curry come to a simmer. Mash a few chickpeas before the curry starts simmering. This helps in thickening the gravy.

  • Simmer till you get the desired gravy consistency (which is neither thin nor very thick but medium or slightly thick consistency). Then add garam masala powder and dry mango powder. If you do not have dry mango powder, then add ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

  • Mix well and Simmer for a minute. If the gravy becomes too thick, then add some water.



  • Serve Chana Masala garnished with some coriander leaves (cilantro) with a side of steamed rice, cumin rice, bread, dinner rolls, roti, puri or bhatura. Do keep a side of some finely chopped onions, lemon wedges and green chillies.

  • Spicing: You can increase or reduce the spice powders, especially kashmiri red chilli powder. Do not increase the garam masala powder, but you can reduce the quantity. You can even add chana masala powder instead of garam masala powder.
  • Chickpeas: Use chickpeas which are fresh and in their shelf period. Avoid using aged or old chickpeas as they do not cook well and take a lot of time. 
  • Tomatoes: You can use canned tomatoes in the recipe. Crush the canned tomatoes and add 1 cup of it. You can even add ½ cup of tomato puree if you do not have fresh tomatoes. 
  • Onions: You can use both red onions or white onions. 
  • Black Cardamoms: There is a slight smoky flavor in the chana masala due to Black Cardamoms. So it an essential ingredient. However, skip if you do not have black cardamoms. The smoky hints won’t be there, but still the chana masala will taste good. 

 

Nutrition Facts

Instant Pot Chana Masala (Without Chana Masala Spice Mix)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 320 Calories from Fat 126

% Daily Value*

Fat 14g22%

Saturated Fat 1g6%

Sodium 392mg17%

Potassium 585mg17%

Carbohydrates 39g13%

Fiber 12g50%

Sugar 8g9%

Protein 11g22%

Vitamin A 565IU11%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%

Vitamin B6 1mg50%

Vitamin C 12mg15%

Vitamin E 5mg33%

Vitamin K 9µg9%

Calcium 77mg8%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 288µg72%

Iron 4mg22%

Magnesium 69mg17%

Phosphorus 198mg20%

Zinc 2mg13%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All our content & photos are copyright protected. Please do not copy. As a blogger, if you want to adapt this recipe or make a youtube video, then please write the recipe in your own words and give a clickable link back to the recipe on this url.
Then do follow and SUBSCRIBE to us on youtube to get the latest Recipe Video updates.

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