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Indian Chole Recipe: Authentic Taste Made Easy

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Chole, also known as Punjabi Chole Masala, is a delicious and hearty North Indian dish made with chickpeas, freshly ground spices, onions, tomatoes, and herbs. This vegetarian curry is not only rich in protein and fiber but also packed with flavors that will leave you craving more.

Whether you’re new to Indian cuisine or a seasoned cook, this dish is straightforward to make and perfect for any occasion. Soak the chickpeas overnight for the best texture and taste. Simple ingredients like bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and black peppercorns add a depth of flavor that makes this dish truly special.

Pair Chole with rice, naan, or chapati for a complete meal that’s both nutritious and satisfying. Dive into this flavorful Chole recipe and experience the authentic taste of Punjabi cuisine right in your kitchen!

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make Indian Chole, you’ll need some key ingredients. Here’s what you need and possible substitutes:

Main Ingredients

  • Chickpeas (Chole): 1 cup dried chickpeas. You can use canned chickpeas if you’re in a hurry.
  • Water: For soaking and cooking the chickpeas.
  • Onions: 2 medium-sized, finely chopped.
  • Tomatoes: 2 large, pureed.
  • Garlic: 4 cloves, minced.
  • Ginger: 1-inch piece, minced.


  • Cumin Seeds: 1 teaspoon.
  • Bay Leaf: 1 whole.
  • Cinnamon Stick: 1 inch. Substitute: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • Cloves: 2 whole.
  • Green Chilies: 2, sliced. Substitute: 1 teaspoon chili powder.
  • Coriander Powder: 1 tablespoon.
  • Garam Masala: 1 teaspoon.
  • Turmeric Powder: 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Chole Masala: 1 tablespoon. Optional but gives authentic flavor.


  • Oil or Ghee: 2 tablespoons.
  • Salt: To taste.
  • Fresh Cilantro: For garnish.

Optional Add-Ins

  • Black Tea Bag or Dried Amla: Use when boiling chickpeas to get a darker color.
  • Lemon Juice: A squeeze of fresh lemon at the end for tanginess.

Possible Substitutes

  • Canned Chickpeas: If time is short, use 2 cans of drained chickpeas.
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste: Use 1 tablespoon instead of fresh ginger and garlic.
  • Tomato Paste: If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, use 3 tablespoons of tomato paste mixed with water.

These ingredients ensure a rich and flavorful Indian Chole. Enjoy making it!


  1. Soak the Chickpeas
    Rinse 1 cup of dried chickpeas in fresh water. Soak them overnight or for at least 8 hours in 3-4 cups of water. Longer soaking makes them softer.

  2. Boil the Chickpeas
    After soaking, drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a pressure cooker, add the chickpeas, 2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 1-2 whistles on high heat.

  3. Prepare the Masala
    Heat oil in a pan. Add 1-inch cinnamon stick, 4-5 black peppercorns, and 2 black tea bags (optional for color).

  4. Sauté Onions and Spices
    Add finely chopped onions to the pan and cook until they turn golden brown. Add ginger and garlic, and cook for another minute.

  5. Add Spices
    Add coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric, and chole masala. Fry the spices for 4-5 minutes until the raw smell disappears.

  6. Mix and Cook
    Add the boiled chickpeas along with the water they were cooked in. Mix well and let it simmer for around 15-20 minutes until the flavors are well combined.

  7. Garnish and Serve
    Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with rice or naan. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Tips & Tricks

  • Pre-soaking: Soak the chickpeas overnight or for at least 8 hours. This helps to soften them and makes them easier to digest.

  • Aromatics: For extra flavor, brown the onions deeply. This adds a rich, caramelized taste to your dish.

  • Spice Boost: Toast whole spices like cumin seeds in hot oil before adding other ingredients. This releases their flavors.

  • Tomato Puree: Cook the tomato puree until it thickens. This prevents your chole from becoming watery.

  • Pressure Cooking: Use a pressure cooker to cut down the cooking time. Cooking on “bean” mode ensures soft and well-cooked chickpeas.


  • Refrigeration: Store leftover chole in an airtight container in the fridge. It stays fresh for up to 4 days.

  • Freezing: For longer storage, you can freeze chole. Divide it into portions and place them in freezer-safe containers. It can last up to 3 months.

  • Reheating: When ready to eat, thaw frozen chole in the fridge overnight. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, adding a little water if it’s too thick. Stir occasionally to heat evenly.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Substitutions: You can use canned chickpeas instead of dried and soaked ones. This saves time, but make sure to rinse them well.

Different Spices: If you prefer, store-bought chole masala can simplify the process. Use 2-3 tablespoons of it. No mango powder? Substitute with lemon juice, tamarind pulp, or pomegranate powder.

Rich Taste: Add a few pieces of dried amla or a black tea bag when boiling chickpeas to give them a darker color and richer taste.

Serving Suggestions

With Rice: Serve chole with steamed basmati rice or jeera rice for a classic combo.

Bread Options: Chole pairs well with Indian breads like bhature, naan, or poori. You can also try it with toasted slices of whole-wheat bread for a twist.

Sides: Add a simple salad of sliced onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes. A side of yogurt or raita helps to balance the spicy flavors.

Garnishing: Top your chole with freshly chopped cilantro and lemon wedges for an extra burst of flavor.

Using simple changes and additions, you can create different flavors and styles every time you make chole. Experiment and find the combinations that you love the most!

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.