Punjabi Chole Masala

Punjabi chole masala or chana masala is a very popular North Indian curry dish prepared using chickpeas. Infact no wedding or any party would be incomplete without chole masala.

Here I could remember something!! When we were in South Africa, I had many North Indian friends and all the birthday parties we attend would have chole masala in the menu.

I learnt this recipe from one of my friend who is from Ujjain. Though we haven’t met for 10 years now, still I could remember her way of making. She makes the excellent chole masala I have eaten so far!!

Coming to the recipe,chickpeas are soaked in water for 8 hours and cooked in onion, tomato gravy which is blended with many spices. Infact in this recipe, we are going to make chole masala with all the spices available at home which makes it more aromatic and delicious. 

The color to the chole masala comes from two tea bags which is dropped along with chickpeas and pressure cooked. These tea bags give good color to the chole masala and doesn’t affect the taste of it.

Chole masala goes well with chapati, roti, bhatura, jeera rice, puri and with plain rice too.

Please go through the step-by-step pictures with detailed explanation.


1 cup = 200 ml.

  • Chickpeas- 1 and a half cup
  • Onion- 2 medium sized ( finely chopped)
  • Tomato puree– from 3 tomatoes
  • Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
  • Bay leaf- 2
  • Cinnamon- 1 inch
  • Cloves- 4
  • Cardamom pods- 3
  • Tea bag- 2
  • Salt- as needed.

To make chole masala:

  • Red Chilli- 4
  • Coriander seeds- 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds- 3/4th tsp
  • Kasuri methi- 1 tsp
  • Fennel seeds- 1/4th tsp
  • Peppercorns- 1/4th tsp
  • Cloves- 3
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4th tsp
  • Asafoedita powder- 1/4th tsp
  • Amchur powder- 1/2 tsp.


Clean and soak 1 and a half cup of chickpeas in water for 8 hours. Leave it overnight.
Take soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker and add 4 and a half cups of water. Pressure cook the chickpeas with 2 tea bags, 1 bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves and salt for 4 to 5 whistles.

Meanwhile, dry roast 4 red chillies, 1/4th tsp fennel seeds, 1/4th tsp of peppercorns, 3/4th tsp of cumin seeds, 1 tsp of coriander seeds, 3 cloves, 1 tsp of kasuri methi in low to medium flame. The red chillies should turn crisp and the aroma should come out from spices.
Once it is cooled, transfer them into a mixer. Add further 1/4th tsp of turmeric powder, 1/4th tsp of asafoedita powder, 1/2 tsp of amchur powder. Grind to a fine powder
Homemade chole masala is now ready.
Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large pan or in a big pot. Add 1 bay leaf. Then add the finely chopped onions and saute it.
Once the onions start to turn the color, add ginger garlic paste. Saute till the raw smell of ginger garlic goes away.
Then add the chole masala we prepared and saute it in oil for 1 minute. Do not burn.
Now add the tomato puree and saute till the raw smell of tomato goes away.
Cook everything together till everything combines and oil separates on top.
Oil is separated and the masala is well combined.
After 4 to 5 whistles, chickpeas are cooked well.
Remove the tea bags from chickpeas.
Now add the pressure cooked chickpeas along with the water left in the cooker to the masala prepared.
Adjust the salt.
Cover and cook it in low flame for 12 to 15 minutes, till oil separates on top.
Adjust the gravy consistency by mashing some chickpeas. Make it according to your desire. Cook for 1 more minute.
Oil is separated on top. You get this color.
Garnish with coriander leaves. Ready.


  • If you want lighter color, use 1 tea bag. If you want some more dark color, use 1 more tea bag. If you do not want to use tea bags, leave it.
  • Go through the above pictures with step-by-step explanation carefully.