Chole recipe with stovetop & instant pot instructions – Chickpeas cooked in a delicious, flavorful & spicy gravy. Punjabi chole served with bhatura is a favorite among many Indians and is very popular in Dhabas and North Indian restaurants. The combo of chole chawal & chole bathura are simply irresistible & delicious.
Making a good chole recipe at home is quite simple and here is how to do it.
Preparing chole: Firstly chole is soaked overnight or at least for 8 hours. Then pressure cooked until soft. If using canned chickpeas, these steps can be skipped.
Choosing spice powder: A special flavorful spice powder known as chole masala is the key to this dish which infuses exceptionally good flavors. You can either use readymade chole masala from any popular brands or make your own as mentioned in the recipe below.
Make Onion tomato masala: Like most other Indian curries, chole is also cooked in onion tomato gravy which forms the base of this dish. So first the onion tomato masala is prepared.
Simmering chole in the prepared spicy onion tomato masala is the important step which makes the dish flavorful and delicious.
Amla or tea bags: Punjabi chole recipe makes use of dried amla which gives the dark color to the chickpeas apart from adding a slight sour taste.
Since I am not accessible to dried amla sometimes I make use of tea decoction which works fairly well without altering the taste of the dish.
However feel free to skip if you do not have. I have made this several times without the use of tea as I have young kids at home.
Using tea for dark chole
If you fancy the dark color chole and do not have access to dried amla, then add a tea bag while you boil the chickpeas. You can also make tea decoction with half tsp tea powder and then use that to boil the chole.
While making the decoction do not over boil the tea to the extent it turns bitter. Do not use tea powder that has leaves.
Chole recipe | How to make chole
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
For cooking chole
- 1 cup chickpeas or chole (uncooked dried)
- 1 tea bag (optional) or 2 dried amla pieces or half tsp tea powder
Whole spices (optional)
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- 1 small bay leaf
- 2 green cardamon
- 2 tablespoons oil or as needed
- 1½ cup onions finely chopped or 1¼ cup processed or 1 cup pureed (2 no)
- 1 green chilli slit (optional)
- ¾ to 1 tablespoon ginger garlic fine chopped or paste
- 1 cup tomatoes fine chopped or pureed (3 no)
- salt as needed (I used ¾ tsp pink salt)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 tablespoon chole masala (refer notes)
- ¾ teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) (optional)
For garnish (optional)
- 1 tbsp ghee
- ½ inch ginger julienne (for garnishing)
- 1 green chilli slit
- 2 tablespoon coriander leaves (fine chopped for garnishing)
How to make the recipe
Preparation (skip this if using canned chickpeas)
- Rinse chickpeas in lot of water. Soak them overnight to 8 hours in water.
- Next morning, drain the water and rinse them well.
- Add to a pressure cooker along with 1½ cup water.
- optional – Add a tea bag or dried amla or tea decoction.
- Pressure cook until soft for 5 to 6 whistles on a medium heat. Chole must be soft cooked and not al dente.
- If the chickpeas are aldente or hard, then pressure cook for 2 more whistles.
How to make chole (stovetop)
- Add oil to a hot pan, add cinnamon, clove, cardamom and bay leaf.
- When they begin to crackle, add ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell goes off.
- Add finely chopped onions and green chilli. Saute until the onions lose the raw smell and get golden to light brown.
- Next add tomatoes, turmeric & salt. Cook until the mixture turns mushy and soft.
- Add chole masala powder, garam masala powder, coriander powder, turmeric & red chili powder .
- Stir and fry again for 1 to 2 minutes till the masala flavours come out.
- You will also see the oil separating.
- Add the pressure cooked chole along with the stock and 1 cup water.
- Mix together and add more water as needed to bring it to a consistency.
- Cover and simmer on a low flame for about 18 to 20 minutes until the chole absorb the flavors of masala.
- When the gravy thickens, add ginger juliennes & kasuri methi if using. Turn off. Keep covered for a while.
- Heat ghee in a small tadka pan. Fry ginger and green chilies until fragrant. Pour this over the chole.
- Sprinkle coriander leaves. Serve chole with rice, poori or bhatura.
Instant pot chole
- Press saute button on the IP and pour oil.
- When the Ip displays hot, add the spices. Then the onions and green chili.
- Saute the onions until golden to light brown.
- Then add in ginger garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Next add the tomatoes and salt.
- Saute well until they break down a bit.
- Add garam masala, chole masala, coriander powder, red chilli powder and turmeric.
- Saute well until the raw smell of the onion and tomatoes reduces.
- Pour 2 cups water and deglaze the pot. Then add soaked chickpeas.
- Mix well and secure the IP with the lid.
- Position the steam release handle to sealing.
- Press cancel. Then press pressure cook (high pressure) and set the timer for 35 mins. If using canned chickpeas, then set the timer to 10 mins.
- When the IP is done cooking wait for 18 to 20 mins for the pressure to release naturally.
- Then open the lid. Add ghee, ginger julienne and kasuri methi.
- Press saute button and cook for a few minutes.
- To thicken the curry you can take 3 to 4 tbsps chole to a bowl and mash them well. Add to the curry.
- Garnish with coriander leaves.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds or saunf
- 1 tsp cumin or jeera
- 1 black cardamom
- 3 green cardamoms
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 8 pepper corn
- half tsp anardana – dried pomegranate seeds
- half tsp amchur – dry mango powder
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
1. Rinse chole very well in a pot. Then soak them in ample amount of water overnight or at least for 8 hours.
To get darker chole, I simmer half tsp tea powder or 1 black tea bags in 3 cups water for a while. Cool and filter the tea decoction to the pot and soak them in tea.
Soaking for longer helps in better digestion and chole turns out to be soft.
2. After soaking chole will absorb much of this tea and turn darker in color. Discard the tea and give a good rinse with fresh water.
3. Add 1½ cups water along with dried amla or one tea bag. As I didn’t have tea bag I boiled some tea powder in the 1½ cups water and poured it.
4. This step is optional. Add a generous pinch of baking soda. Using soda helps to cook them soft and they turn mouth melting.
5. Cook till soft cooked not mushy. On a medium flame, I pressure cook for 5 to 6 whistles (without soda) or for 1 to 2 whistles with soda.
6. Once done, open the pressure cooker and check. The chole must be soft cooked and not remain al dente. If they are al dente or even slightly hard, cook them again for 1 to 2 whistles.
Making chole masala
You can also skip this step and use ready made chole masala.
7. While the chole cooks, on a medium to low flame dry roast bay leaf, red chili, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, a small black cardamom, green cardamom and pepper corn. When they turn aromatic, add cumin and fennel seeds.
Deep roast them until they turn slightly dark in color without burning.
8. Cool them and add them to a blender. If using anardana add it now.
9. Make a fine powder. Set this aside.
10. Add oil to a hot and add cinnamon, cardamom, a small piece of bay leaf and a clove.
11. Add ginger garlic paste or ginger. Saute until the raw smell has gone completely.
12. Add finely chopped onions & green chilies. I prefer to fine process the onions in my processor and use. You can also grate or puree and use.
13. Fry until the onions turn light brown and the raw smell has gone completely.
14. Add tomatoes, turmeric and salt. You can also add pureed or grated tomatoes.
15. Saute the entire mixture until the tomatoes turn fully mushy and the raw smell has gone.
16. Add the masala powder we made earlier for this chole recipe, and then red chili powder & garam masala.
An addition of red chili powder is just to adjust the heat levels and color. so you may skip it as well.
17. Mix everything well and saute for another 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure the raw smell of the onion & tomatoes has gone by now. By then the masala begins to leave the sides of the pan.
18. Add cooked chickpeas, fresh water as needed. I added 1 cup fresh water plus more. Note that If you have used tea to soak & as well to pressure cook then using the entire tea decoction for the gravy may vary the taste. You can use 2 tbsps of the chole cooked stock if you like the dark color & then use fresh water.
You will need to adjust the quantity of water as desired to make the gravy.
17. Once it comes to a boil, cover and simmer on a low flame for 18 to 20 minutes or until the gravy thickens & reaches a desired consistency. Add kasuri methi and amchur powder.
Taste the chole and then add more salt if needed.
Remove to a serving bowl. Garnish chole with coriander leaves and ginger juliennes. Serve chole bhatura or rice with lemon & sliced onions.