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Punjabi Chole

Servings 6


  • 2 C white chickpeas/ Garbanzo beans soaked in hot water for at least 3 hours or overnight
  • 3 Tbs coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbs cumin seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 tbs Anardana pomegranate seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp brown cardamom Powder also known as black cardamoms .. use just the seeds to make the powder
  • 2 whole brown cardamoms
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ stick cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf Tej pata - Indian Bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp Shahi zeera black cumin
  • 1 tbs chilli powder or as per taste [ try not to use the Kashmiri/degi variety. we don't need a deep red color in this dish]
  • 2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 C thinly sliced red onions
  • ¾ cup tomatoes chopped
  • 4- 5 Tbs Ghee or oil [ use less at your own risk]
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro


  1. Drain the chickpeas and put into the pressure cooker with 5 cups of water. You can alternately slow cook them on low for 10 hours.
  2. Add 2 of the brown cardamoms, 3 cloves, the cinnamon stick and one bay leaf, ¼ tsp Garam Masala. This step helps getting the flavor of the spices right into the chickpeas and also lends a brown shade.
  3. Based on your equipment, set the timing to cook the chickpeas. Usually 5-7 minutes should be sufficient on electric stoves, but this is just a pointer. The consistency you are looking for is tender but not mushy. So it’s better to undercook first and then check if you are not sure.
  4. Heat a non stick pan on medium-low heat and add the anardana, followed by cumin and coriander.
  5. Keep stirring the spices until aromatic, slightly toasted. Do not let them turn burn. Remove from the pan.
  6. Allow to cool slightly, grind in a coffee grinder, to make a fine powder (Or use your favorite electric spice grinder)
  7. Sift this powder to remove any particles that refuse to turn into a fine powder.
  8. Heat a heavy bottomed deep pan on medium high heat and add the ghee/oil.
  9. Add the cloves, Add the thinly sliced onions, stir and cook for about a minute. Reduce heat to medium.
  10. Add the shahi zeera and continue cooking the onions until caramelized .
  11. Add the ginger garlic paste, cook for a minute.
  12. Add the chopped tomatoes and Cook some more.
  13. Once the tomatoes are cooked – read as totally mishamshed into almost a puree and mixed in with onions, Add the chilli powder, salt, ground cinnamon, pepper powder, cardamom powder and stir well for 30 seconds.
  14. Add the ground spices [ the ones you roasted and powdered) and add a little of Liquid from the boiled chickpeas to help the spices cook
  15. Once the spices mix in, add a cup of the liquid from the boiled chickpeas to the pan. Using a Hand blender, blend into a puree.
  16. Now add the chickpeas into this puree along with the remaining liquid.
  17. Add in the cilantro
  18. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring once a while.
  19. Just before serving, heat a spoonful of ghee/oil , add in a slit green thai chilli, pour it over the Chole and serve. This my neighbor used to call – Mirch ke Tadke wale chole! ( Chole with Green chilli tempering). Cut up an onion into rings and place over the chole in the serving bowl. The heat from the chole makes them mellow and oh so good to eat.

Recipe Notes

For the canned Garbanzo, simply drain and rinse the beans. Boil in two cups of water with the spices ( same as the dry grabanzo) for 2- 3 minutes then follow the same steps.