Punjabi Chole: Chickpea Curry

Punjabi Chole

Punjabi Chole – A Comforting and Healthy Chickpea Curry

The chickpeas for this Punjabi chole are first cooked with black cardamom, imparting its dark and smoky aroma. It also lends a dark colour to the chickpeas, which is important for this dish. Toasting the spices well is key, if you want to achieve that dark colour and rich taste. An interesting ingredient is the anardana, dried pomegranate seeds, which give a sour tang. India has so many wonderfully exotic spices that add that important sour element, such as amchoor, made from dried green mangoes, and amla, indian gooseberries.

This is a hot dish. Serve with flatbreads such as bhatoora. Serves 2 – 3


250g Dried Chickpeas, soaked in plenty of water overnight

Pinch bicarbonate of soda

3 green chillies, slit lengthways but still whole

1inch piece ginger, grated

1/2 inch cinnamon stick

1 whole black cardamom

1 bay leaf

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

1tsp red chilli powder

1 1/2 tbsp oil

fresh coriander to garnish

salt to tast

For the masala – Dry roast in a pan for 4 minutes. Grind to a fine powder

1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds

1 1/2 tsp anardana (dried pomegranate seeds)

3 cloves

1 inch cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

3/4 tsp cumin seeds


Simmer the chickpeas in a large pan with fresh water, along with the bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and black cardamom. When the chickpeas are soft turn the heat off and leave the chickpeas in their cooking water. This chickpea stock will be used in the curry.

Heat the oil in a pot over a medium heat. Add the green chillies, ginger and bay leaf. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes, until soft and transparent.

Add the chilli powder and salt. Stir in well. Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, until the oil separates. When you first add the tomatoes everything in the pot will homogenise. You will know the tomatoes have been cooked enough when the oil separates from the vegetables.

Add the masala and stir well. You can now add the chickpeas and some of the chickpea stock. You may or may not need all the stock. If there is not much you may need to add extra water. You want a fairly thick sauce; not dry. Mash some of the chickpeas to help create a sauce. Cook for 15-20 minutes to blend all the flavours. Before serving stir through the coriander.

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