Chana Masala is a popular Indian dish that consists of white chickpeas in a spicy delightful gravy. In North India, people also call it chole masala or simply chole.
Chickpeas are referred to by the terms “Chana” and “Chole.” In Hindi, the term “Masala” refers to a spice mixture. In chana masala, the word ‘masala’ refers to a spicy thick gravy.
There are many ways to make chana masala, but I prefer the Punjabi chana recipe shared here. It tastes like the chana masala found on Delhi and Punjab’s streets.
There are many varieties of chickpea curry throughout India.
Punjabi Chana Masala Recipe
This is a quick and easy Punjabi chana masala recipe that tastes fantastic. It’s one of the most tried-and-true chickpea curry recipes. It has been made numerous times by myself and many readers.
This chana masala recipe reminds me of our favorite dish, Chole Bhature. Chole Bhature is a Punjabi chickpea curry dish served with “Bhature,” a fried leavened puffed bread.
It tastes exactly like the North Indian street side chickpea curry and is slightly hot and spicy. But, you can adjust the red chili powder, green chilies, and garam masala powder according to your personal preference.
You’ll notice that I used two tea bags while cooking the chickpeas in the pressure cooker because the tea bags help give the chole a dark brown/black color. I only used two tea bags, but you can add more for a deeper, darker brown color. Before you start wondering, let me assure you that the tea bags do not affect the taste of the chickpeas.
After knowing all this, let us start cooking our tempting, yummy Punjabi Chole recipe.
Chana Masala or Punjabi Chole Recipe
For Soaking Chole
- 250 grams chickpea (काबुली चना)
- 3 cups water (पानी)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (खाने का सोडा)
For pressure cooking
- 2 black tea bag (काली चाय का थैला)
- 1-2 Indian bay leaf (तेज पत्ता)
- 2 green cardamom (छोटी इलायची)
- 1 black cardamom (बड़ी इलायची)
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick (दालचीनी)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (नमक)
- 4 to 5 cloves (लौंग)
- 10 to 12 black pepper (काली मिर्च)
How to make Punjabi Chole
- 2 tablespoons of oil (तेल)
- 2 piece of chopped onion (कटा हुआ प्याज़)
- 1.5 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (अदरक-लहसुन का पेस्ट)
- 1/2 cup tomato paste (टमाटर का पेस्ट)
- 1.5 teaspoon chole masala
- 2-3 green chilies (हरी मिर्च) or adjust according to your taste
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (लाल मिर्च पाउडर) or adjust according to your taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (जीरा पाउडर)
- salt to taste (नमक स्वाद अनुसार)
- 1 tablespoon clarified butter (घी)
- 1 inch ginger juliennes (पतले लंबे अदरक के टुकड़े)
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder (गरम मसाला पाउडर)
- 1/4 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves (कसूरी मेथी)
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves (ताजा काटा हुआ धनिया पत्ती)
- Soak the chickpeas overnight in a covered pot by mixing 1/2 tsp baking soda in 3 cups of water.
- The following day, remove the chickpeas from the water in which they were soaked and wash them 2-3 times with fresh water.
Pressure Cooking Chickpeas
- In a pressure cooker, add soaked chickpeas, 5 cups of water, 2 tea bags, bay leaves, 2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 1-inch cinnamon stick, 4 to 5 cloves, 10 to 12 black pepper, and salt.
- Cook it in a pressure cooker over a high flame until 1-2 whistles. Then reduce the heat and cook the chickpeas for another 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the cooker from the stove and keep it aside to cool down until the pressure comes out.
- Open the cooker to check the chickpeas. Once fully cooked, you will be able to mash the chickpeas with your fingers easily. If not, close the pressure cooker and cook again until two whistles come.
- You can remove all the spices at this time from the chickpeas - like bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and other seasonings if you don't want them in the curry.
How to make Chana Masala
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add onions. Fry the onions until their raw aroma is gone, and they turn light golden brown.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for 3-4 minutes or till the ginger-garlic smell goes away.
- Now, add tomato puree and cook on medium-low flame for 12-15 minutes.
- To prevent splashing from this mixture, cover the pan. This step is crucial, and tomatoes need to be cooked very well until their raw aroma disappears. So be patient and let them cook for about 15 minutes.
- Once the tomato mixture gets cooked well, add the chickpeas spices, red chili powder, cumin powder, and salt, mix well and cook for about a minute.
- Drain out the pressure-cooked chickpeas from the cooker. Do not throw the water in which the chickpeas have been cooked. The same water we will use to make gravy.
- In the tomato-onion mixture, add the pressure-cooked chickpeas. Stir well for 2 minutes, or until all the chickpeas get coated with spices.
- Now, add the remaining water from the pressure-cooked gram. Cover the pan, and cook it on a medium-low flame for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, the gravy will become thick, so add fresh water if needed. I'm not too fond of thin gravy in Chole. But if you want, add more water to get your desired consistency.
- After 30 minutes, the gravy, chickpeas, and spices should mix well. Now we can start tempering.
- To make the Tadka, melt 1 tablespoon of clarified butter in a pan and add ginger julienne in it.
- Fry the Julians until they are golden brown, but ensure they do not get burnt. Add it to the chickpeas curry, mix it well and turn off the heat.
- Now, sprinkle garam masala, Kasoori Methi, and chopped coriander leaves on top of the chole.
- Serve with plain rice, roti, or paratha. Chole-rice (chickpeas and plain rice) is a popular dish in North India.
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