HOW TO MAKE PUNJABI STYLE CHOLE MASALA?
Punjabi Style Chole Masala- Garbanzo beans cooked in a delectable curry base.
Why we love Chole Masala?
✓ Protein loaded because of the garbanzo.
✓ Chole Masala easily feeds a crowd. You can double this recipe in a pinch.
✓ Freezer-friendly, vegan and naturally gluten-free.
What is Punjabi Chole?
Punjab is a northern state in India and this Chole is synonymous with Punjab. You will probably find a recipe for this in almost every Punjabi household. We also refer to this as Channa Masala. But please note that the two recipes are different. The recipe for Punjabi Chole in itself is simple. However, traditionally, Punjabi chole is slow cooked in an open pan. But in this post, we will see how to make an amazing Punjabi Chole easily and quickly.
Is Channa Masala different from Chole Masala?
Both Channa Masala and Chole Masala are made with garbanzo beans. And the curry base is also the same. But while Channa masala uses just basic pantry spices, Punjabi Chole Masala uses a special spice blend- Chole Masala. We also use ghee traditionally to make this. And towards the end, a garnish of ginger juliennes, finely chopped cilantro and finely chopped green chili go in. We love using this brand of Chole Masala for our Punjabi Chole.
Like any Indian style curry worth its salt, this Chole uses a gravy base with onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic.
Along with these, some spices and baking soda will go in with the chickpeas too. Adding baking soda gives evenly cooked garbanzo beans. We will also be using dried garbanzo beans here.
I like adding some Channa Dal to my Chole. The Dal adds a nice creamy texture without changing the overall taste. This is optional but recommended.
If you want a deep brown color Chole, you can do either of these-
- Add some Anardana powder with the spice powders in the gravy base.
- Or you can add 2 small pieces of dried amla ( Indian gooseberry) while pressure cooking the chickpeas with the whole spices. If you are going to add Amla, then you can even skip adding the tea bags.
How to hydrate the Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans?
Unlike other chickpea curry recipes, you cannot substitute canned chickpeas in place of the dried ones here. The cooking method for Chole is slightly different. So it is very important that we hydrate our chickpeas before cooking them. Hydrating them will not only speed up the cooking but is also cheaper and easy to do at home.
For this Chole, wash your chickpeas under water once or twice. Then drain all the water used for washing. For every 1 cup of chickpeas, add 3 to 4 c of water. Let it hydrate for at least 6 to 8 hours. I prefer doing this just before bedtime. That way, my chickpeas would be all hydrated and ready for the morning.
How to cook chickpeas for Chole in Instant Pot?
If you have an Instant Pot, then now is the time to use it to save time. Wash the chickpeas. Combine 1 c chickpeas, tea bag, whole spices , salt and baking soda along with 3.5 c in the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Close the IP, turn valve to sealing. Now, choose PRESSURE COOK on HIGH FOR 12 mins. Immediately, press the delay start button and set the timer to 8 hrs.
After 8 hours, the cooking cycle will have begun. Allow the cooking cycle to complete and let pressure release naturally. Once done, you can discard the spices and the tea bag from the cooked channa. Drain the water and reserve 1 c of it. We will be adding this to our Chole towards the end.
Meal Planning and Prep Work
The most time-consuming part in this recipe is hydrating the chickpeas. You can do this well ahead of time. Soak the chickpeas in water over the weekend to hydrate them. When they are nicely plump and hydrated, drain all the water used for soaking. Spread them out on a baking tray and let them air dry for 10 mins. After 10 mins, transfer them to a fridge-safe container and keep them refrigerated. This keeps well for upto 3 days. You may notice that some of the chickpeas may start to sprout while in the fridge. This s an added bonus. Because like we all know, sprouted legumes only mean more nutrition.
Punjabi Chole Masala- Method
Hydrating the chickpeas
Wash your chickpeas under water once or twice. Then drain all the water used for washing. For every 1 cup of chickpeas, add 3 to 4 c of water. Let it hydrate for at least 6 to 8 hours.
Pressure cooking the chickpeas
Drain all the water used for hydrating the chickpeas. Add this to a pressure cooker along with water, channa dal, bay leaf, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, tea bag, a pinch of baking soda and salt to taste.
Pressure cook this for 4 whistles. Do not over cook the chickpeas. We need them to hold shape. If they are cooked to a mush, then the texture of our Chole will change.
Once done, allow the pressure to release naturally. Open when done and discard the tea bag and the whole spices. Now drain the water from the chickpeas and reserve 1 c of this water. Discard the rest or you can use it to make broth or add it to soups.
Making the Chole
When the chickpeas are ready, remove about ½ c of the cooked chickpeas and transfer this to a mixing bowl. Mash this using a potato masher. Add ¼ of the reserved water to this. Mix well. Set aside.
Heat a pan with oil.** Now, add the ginger and garlic. Saute till garlic begins to become brown. At this point, add the onions and mix well. Add salt to the onions to help cook them faster. Now add all the spice powders and mix well. Next, add the ground tomatoes and mix well. Cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.
When the tomatoes are cooked, add the chickpeas and mix well. Now, add the reserved water and combine. Simmer for 2 to 3 mins. At this stage, add the mashed chickpeas mixture and mix well.
Simmer for 4 to 5 mins until the gravy comes together. When done, garnish with ginger juliennes, finely chopped green chilis and finely chopped cilantro.
Mix well and serve spooned over steamed rice or with flatbreads like Naan
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Punjabi Chole Masala
- Pressure cooker
For Hydrating the Chickpeas
- 2 c Garbanzo beans
- 6 c Water
For Pressure cooking the chickpeas
- 1 recipe Hydrated Garbanzo beans ( Chickpeas)
- 1 tbsp Channa Dal ( Chickpea lentils)
- 5 c Water
- 1 Tea bags
- ¼ tsp Cooking Soda
- 1 inch Cinnamon 1''piece
- 2 to 3 pods Green Cardamom 2 to 3*
- 1 Bay leaf 1*
For the gravy base
- 1.5 tsp Ginger grated 1 tsp
- 1 tsp Minced garlic
- 1 c finely chopped onions
- 1 tsp Paprika Red chili powder
- ½ tsp Ground Turmeric
- 1.25 tsp Chole Masala
- 1 tsp Ground cumin
- 2.5 tsp Ground coriander
- 1.5 c Ground tomatoes Blend 3 tomatoes in a blender.
- 2.5 tbsp Oil
For the garnish
- 1 slit Green chilli 1
- 1 tsp Ginger juliennes
- 2 tbsp Finely chopped cilantro
Hydrating the chickpeas
- Wash your chickpeas under water once or twice.
- Then drain all the water used for washing. For every 1 cup of chickpeas, add 3 to 4 c of water.
- Let it hydrate for at least 6 to 8 hours.
Pressure cooking the chickpeas
- Drain all the water used for hydrating the chickpeas.
- Add the drained chickpeas and channa dal to a pressure cooker along with 4 c water, bay leaf, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, tea bag, baking soda and salt to taste.
- Pressure cook this for 4 whistles. Do not over cook the chickpeas. We need them to hold shape. If they are cooked to a mush, then the texture of our Chole will change.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally.
- Open when done and discard the tea bag and the whole spices.
- Now drain the water from the chickpeas and reserve 1.5 c of this water. Discard the rest.
Making the Chole
- When the chickpeas are ready, remove about ¼ c of the cooked chickpeas and transfer this to a mixing bowl.
- Mash this using a potato masher.
- Add ¼ of the reserved water to this. Mix well. Set aside.
- Heat a pan with oil. Now, add the ginger and garlic. Saute till garlic begins to become brown.
- At this point, add the onions and mix well. Add salt to the onions to help cook them faster.
- Now add all the spice powders and mix well.
- Next, add the ground tomatoes and mix well.
- Cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.
- When the tomatoes are cooked, add the chickpeas and mix well.
- Now, add the reserved water and combine.
- Simmer for 2 to 3 mins.
- Add the mashed chickpeas mixture and mix well.
- Simmer for 4 to 5 mins until the gravy comes together. The gravy will be thicker at this point.
- When done, garnish with ginger juliennes, finely chopped green chilis and finely chopped cilantro.
This post was originally published in November,2011. This has now been updated with new pictures, recipe card and process photos.