Chole and Chana {Recipe}: Dal Week -2

Chole, or chickpea curry, is arguably the one dish that personifies North Indian cooking, and there are as many variations to the basic recipe as there are households! Five members of IFF share their favourite chole recipes here.

Mona Malik: Pindi Chanachole_1
Pindi Chana is a treasure that Mona Mallik inherited from her mother, and has shared with the members of IFF.

For the Spice Powder:
2tsp Anardana/ Dried Pomegranate seeds
1.5tsp Coriander seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
4/5 Cloves
1 Black Cardamom
1” Cinnamon
10-12 Black peppercorns
Salt to taste

For Chanas:
1 cup Chole/Safed chana/ Chickpeas
1 Bayleaf
2-3 Cloves
1 Black Cardamom
1” Cinnamon
4-5 Black peppercorns
Salt to taste

5-6 tbsp Oil
5-6 Green Chilies, Whole, slit
About 2 tbsp finely shredded /julienned fresh Ginger,

Method :
For the spice powder: Dry roast all the spices, cool and then dry grind them together.
For the chanas: Wash and soak chanas overnight. Discard the water and boil the chanas in fresh water with all the whole spices and salt. Drain and reserve the water and get rid of the whole spices.
Mix the spice powder with the drained chanas in a bowl. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a kadhai to almost smoking point and then pour it on the chanas and mix. Keep aside.
Heat the balance oil in the same kadhai, fry ginger juliennes till golden and crisp and remove. Light fry the green chilies, remove and set aside.
Add the masala mixed chanas to the remaining oil in the kadhai. Stir for a few minutes on high heat (don’t let the masala burn). Add some boiled chana water and cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
Remove the cover and dry out the water to the consistency you want – ideally served almost dry.
Garnish with the fried ginger and green chilies. Serve with Bhaturas or Pooris (no one in our family likes it with Kulchas) and raw onions.

Remember Pindi chana is not mushy so resist the temptation to over boil/pressure cook or to mash while stirring. The boiled chanas need to have a bite to them.
Some people add tamarind pulp as well towards the final bit of cooking. Mom says that’s acceptable for a thick curry version but not for a dry version.

chole_2Harkirat Uberoi: Punjabi Chhole


250 grams Kabuli Chann

1tsp salt

1/4tsp red chilly powder

1tsp coriander powder

1 ½ tsp of Everest chole masala

2 chopped tomatoes

1tsp roasted and coarsely ground anardana, cumin and black pepper

1 black cardamom



1 large onion

1tsp ginger garlic paste 


Wash and soak 250 gms Kabuli Channas, in sufficient water for 8 hours or overnight.
Pressure cook with salt and black cardamom to get them well cooked. Drain and keep the chole and stock aside.
Heat oil and saute a large chopped onion till golden, add ginger garlic paste, salt, red chilly powder,  coriander powder, Everest Chole masala powder  and  the chopped tomatoes. Bhuno for 5 to 7 minutes.
Drain the channas and add to this masala, stir well and then add roasted and coarsely ground anardana, cumin and black pepper mix. Add the boiled channa stock to the channas and again pressure cook for 1 whistle.
Serve with Jeera rice, Poori or Paranthas.


chole_3Sandhya Nag: Aloo Chole with Pooris


1 cup chole
1/2 cup cubed potatoes
1 cup chopped onions.
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 to 3 chopped chilies
1/2 cup coriander leaves
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilly powder
2 tsp of chole masala
Pinch turmeric
Salt to taste
Some sugar to tone the acidity


1tsp Ginger garlic paste

2 badi elaichi



Soak the chole for a few hrs and pressure cook with some diced potatoes.
Now in a kadhai add badi elaichi, ginger garlic paste and sauté.

When done  add the chopped onions,  tomatoes and some salt.

When oil oozes out add coriander powder, chilly powder, the chole masala and sugar.

Saute for a few minutes then add the cooked potatoes, chole and chopped coriander till done.

Garnish with chopped onions and coriander .


chole_4Namita Tickare: Punjabi Chole (Spicy Chickpeas Curry)
This is what Namita has to say about her Chole- “This is a Punjabi dish. It is prepared from soaked Chickpeas in  a spicy gravy. It is very easily prepared with ingredients readily available at home. Dried chickpeas are soaked overnight in water and then used the next day to make this recipe with basic masalas. This is served with Bhatura which is a large puri so it is together called Chole Bhature. For those who don’t eat onions and garlic you can prepare it without them also. So feel free to give it you touch and make your signature dish.”


1 ½ cup Chickpeas (chole)
1 inch Cinnamon stick (dalchini)
2 Black Cardamons (kali elaichi)
8 Peppercorns (kali mirch)
10 Cloves (laung/ lavang)
1 Tea bag
½ tsp Baking soda
4 Tomatoes
3 Green chilies
1 ½ tsp Ginger (adrak)
4-5 Cloves of Garlic (lehsun)
1 Onion
1 ½ tsp Red chilly powder
½ tsp Turmeric powder (haldi)
½ tsp Rock salt (sendha namak)
1 tsp Salt
A pinch of Carom seeds (ajwain)
1 ½ tsp Coriander seeds powder (dhania powder)
½ tsp Garam masala
1 ½ tsp Chana masala
1 tsp Tamarind Paste (imli paste)


3 tbsp Oil

1 Bay leaf

2 Cloves
1/1 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
1 ½ tsp Gram flour (besan)
1/3 tsp Asafoetida (hing)


Boil the chickpeas with Cinnamon, black cardamom, peppercorns, 8 cloves, baking soda and the tea bag. The tea gives it a nice colour.
Check if the chickpeas are boiled and remove it and discard all that was put while boiling and keep aside.

Grind together the Tomatoes, green chillies, ginger, garlic and the onion into a paste. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan . When the oil is warm enough add the bay leaf, cumin seeds, remaining 2 cloves, Asafoetida and the gram flour while stirring continuously. Add the ground paste and sauté till the tomatoes and onions are cooked while stirring continuously on a low flame. Once the paste is cooked add the red chilly powder, turmeric powder, rock salt, salt, carom seeds, coriander powder, garam masala, chole masala, tamarind paste and the cooked chickpeas.
Mix them all together and bring it to a boil while covered.
Garnish with freshly chopped with coriander and serve hot with Roti’s or Bhatura’s.


chole_5Sandipa N. Tombat: Punjabi Chole 

Sandipa got this recipe from Aalok Wadhwa, and made it specially for the Dal week. She loved the dish, and says it is the quickest chole she’s ever made, and that too with only half a teaspoon of ghee!

Ingredients :

3 Handful Kabuli Chana
4 Teabags (optional, I didn’t use)
1tsp Red Chilly Powder
1tsp Garam masala
2tsp Coriander Powder
2tsp Jeera Powder
2tsp Amchur Powder
2tsp Chole Masala
2 Tomatoes chopped or pureed( I used Pureed tomatoes )
Ginger juliennes as per taste
Chopped Coriander and mint for garnish
1 lemon Juice ( if needed)


Ghee/Oil to temper
1/2 tsp Ajwain


Soak the Kabuli Chana overnight and pressure cook with a little salt till soft. Drain out the water, keep it if you want a bit of gravy or discard.
Mix all the dry powders, ginger and tomatoes with the chole and let it rest for awhile.
Heat Ghee/oil in a pan and temper with ajwain and add the chana and cook till done.

I used the remaining water to get a gravy.

Serve garnished with lemon juice, coriander and mint leaves.


chole_6Mona Malik: Punjabi Chole

Chole/Kabuli Chana/ Chickpeas, 1 cup
Tea bags, 1 (2, if you want a darker colour)
Salt, to taste

For the gravy:
Ajwain/Carom seeds/Bishop’s weed,1 tsp
Channa Masala, 2 tsp (I use MDH brand, quantity of rest of the spice powders will depend on which brand of chana masala you use so pls. adjust accordingly)
Red chili powder, 1 tsp
Coriander powder, 2 tsp
Cumin Powder, 1 tsp
Garama Masala powder, 1 tsp
Aamchur/Dried Mango Powder, 2 tsp
Tomatoes, chopped into large chunks, 3 medium
Ghee, 4-5 tbsp (preferably ghee or can you can use oil)
Green Chilies, 2-3
Ginger, julienned, 1 x 1″


Wash and soak the chanas overnight/for 8 hours.
Drain and wash the chanas. Add just enough water to cover them, salt and cook them still soft. (If using pressure cooker, one whistle on high flame and about 20-25 mins on low).
Once it cools down, drain the chanas and retain the water. Discard the tea bag.
Heat the ghee in a kadhai/wok.
Lower the heat to minimum and add ajwain, followed by ginger and green chilies.
After about 10-15 seconds, add in all the spice powders. Mix well and let the spices cook for about 5-6 seconds.
Add in the drained chanas and tomatoes. Increase the heat and let the chanas cook for 8-10 minutes.
Add in about ½ a cup (or more if needed) of the boiled chana water and cook till it gets reduced to half.
Check and adjust for seasoning. Serve hot.

If you don’t have a tea bag, wrap about a teaspoon of leaves in a muslin cloth instead. Tea is used to add dark brown colour, you can skip it as well.


Chane_1Sandhya Nag: Sookha Chane ki Sabji
1 cup boiled kala chana
1 spoon dhania powder
1 spoon chaat masala
1 spoon garam masala
1 spoon haldi podwer
1/2 spoon aamchur powder
1 spoon red chilli powder
1 spoon ginger juliennes
1/2 cup wedges of tomatoes
2 spoons corriander
2 to 3 green chillies
1/2 cup…ghee

To the boiled chana, add all the masalas, and keep aside.

Heat ghee in a container, and when it is hot, add chana with masalas and saute till done.
Add ginger juliennes, chopped corriander and salt to taste
Add wedges of tomatoes and toss them all together.


Chane_2Sandipa N. Tombat: Green Chana Subzi

This is a dish made by Sandipa’s husband, Nitin, who has this to say about it- “In my zeal to make healthy & tasty food, I ended up making this dish which is cooked without any OIL …………..”


2 cups Green chana, soaked overnight.
2 Potatoes
1 Chopped onion
2 Chopped tomatoes
2/3 Chopped Garlic
1 inch piece of Ginger
2/3 Chopped green chillies
Chopped Coriander
¼ Tsp Hing
1Tsp Chana Masala
1 Tsp Rajmaah Masala
½ Tsp Garam Masala
½ Tsp Usal Masala ( can be done without too)
1 Tsp Chat Masala.
Salt to Taste.
Tamarind pulp (obtained from a small ball of it soaked in hot water).

Method :
Soaked green chana boils easily and does NOT need to be pressure cooked. Just boil it in a kadhai for 5-7 mins and its done.
When boiling potatoes, add stalks of green dhania, garlic and ginger to enhance the flavour of the stock. The stock will be used for the gravy of the green chana.
Start by putting potato stock in a kadhai, add hing, boiled green chana, chilly and onion, boiled potatoes, tomatoes, the masalas (except chaat masala). Once the masalas are cooked, add more potato stock, as per the gravy that you will need. Add tamarind pulp, salt and coriander and (may be) lemon, if the sourness from the tamarind pulp is not adequate. Add chaat masala in the end and mix well . Garnish with chopped coriander & Green Chana sabzi is ready to be served with hot phulkas /parathas

Compiled by Sandipa Nitin Tombat

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