Chana masala or Chole masala is an authentic Punjabi cuisine (Indian). This is a healthy chickpea curry made with aromatic Indian spices. This chickpea curry is a vegan and gluten-free dish.
Chole is one common party food in India. Especially in North India, there is no marriage party or any celebration that won’t have this chickpea curry or chana masala in the menu. It’s paired with bhature. But this curry is versatile and can go well with bhature, poori, naan, tandoori roti, or even with plain steam rice or jeera rice.
Chana masala or chickpea curry is an easy Indian curry that takes 30 – 40 minutes to prepare. The only main task is we need to soak it overnight or 6 – 8 hours before cooking. If you are using pre-cooked chickpea or canned chickpea, this is an easy and quick dish.
Also, you can make this on the stovetop and in the instant pot. I prefer the pressure cooking method even if on the stovetop, i.e. with a manual pressure cooker. But here I will share both the methods to cook chickpeas for the curry. It will take really long if you are planning to simmer this in a saucepan.
Chole or chickpea is basically a pulse and this is a rich source of protein and hence considered as a healthy food. Chickpeas are excellent for a weight-loss diet. Because of high protein, it keeps you full for longer. Excellent source of protein and helps in building muscles.
Chana Masala/ Chole Masala/ Vegan Chickpea Curry
What is chole masala/ chana masala/ chickpea curry?
Chole masala is nothing but an authentic and traditional Indian curry made with chole or chickpeas. This is also popularly known as chana masala. In this dish we cook soaked chole/ chana or chickpeas with onion tomato paste and some aromatic spices.
In this chickpea curry, we use more whole spices to bring out that strong yet delicious flavor. Also, there is a separate mix of spice “chole masala” or “chana masala” used for this dish. You can get them Asian aisle of any supermarket.
In chole masala, I normally add potatoes. However, this is totally optional. I dice them into larger chunks like cut into halves or quarter ones. or to make it little healthy add spinach leaves also. Paneer or tofu is also a good option to add in with chickpea curry.
Ingredients required to make Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)
Chole/ Chana/ Chickpeas
Tea bag (optional)
Baking soda 1/2 tsp (optional) – helps in cooking quickly and evenly
Whole spices (bay leaf, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper)
Oil (authentically they add pure ghee or unsalted butter)
Onion, Tomatoes, Ginger, Garlic
Whole Spices (cumin seeds, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper)
Ground spices – coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, chana masala/ chole masala.
(Chana masala or chole masala is for authentic flavor. In case you don’t get them you can increase the whole spices a little bit.)
Fresh cilantro leaves
Chana masala or Chole masala – Stovetop method
Soak chole (chickpea) for overnight or 6 – 8 hrs. Then pressure cook for 5 – 6 whistles. While boiling chickpeas, add 1 tea bag with it. This is to make chole darker in color. However, this is optional. I have not added it here. It helps in getting that dark color in the curry.
Add whole spices (bay leaf, cloves, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon) also during pressure cooking. This will make the chole or chickpeas a little more aromatic and flavorful. Place the spices in a tea strainer and place them in along with chickpeas. This will help in removing them easily.
Remove from the water using a colander and keep away to be used further in next steps.
Make the gravy for chole or chickpeas:
This is the main part of the recipe.
Heat oil in a pan. Add whole spices (a bay leaf, cloves, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon) and saute for 30 seconds or till it’s fragrant.
Now add ginger garlic paste (minced fresh ginger and garlic) and saute till it leaves a pungent smell. Now add the ground spices and quickly saute for 15 seconds. Then add onion paste and cook till it leaves oil. You can also add finely chopped onions in place of onion paste.
Add tomato puree and saute till it’s cooked. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add boiled chickpeas or chole to the pan. Add little water and simmer for 5 – 7 minutes. Garnish with some finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve with roti or naan or even with rice.
Recipe Card for Chole Masala
- 1 cup chole
- Water to soak chole
- Soak chole or chickpeas for 8 hours or overnight.
- Pressure cook it for 6 – 8 whistles. Add bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and salt to the water while pressure cooking.
- Remove from water when pressure released on it's own.
- Don't discard that water. It will added while making gravy.
- You can remove whole spices or keep them with chole.
- Heat oil in a pan or kadai.
- Add bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon to the pan.
- Then Add ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute or half.
- Next add onion paste and saute till it's translucent and leaves oil on sides.
- Add tomato puree and simmer till it's cooked.
- Now add all dry spices and salt. Saute for 2 minutes.
- Then add 1/4 cup of water and simmer for a minute till it starts boiling.
- Add boiled chickpeas or chole to it. Add water to it.
- Now either pressure cook for one or two whistle or simmer in the same pan for another 5 – 7 minutes.
- At this stage I normally pressure cook for 2 more whistles.
- Also slightly mash some chole or chickpeas with back side of spatula. This will make the curry little thicker and will enhance the taste.
- Lastly garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with homemade bhature or naan or roti.
Here I would request you to read other similar posts like mushroom matar masala, paneer tikka masala, gatte ki sabzi, palak paneer. Also read matar paneer curry, dum aloo, bagara baingan, lauki kofta curry, malai kofta curry, shaam savera curry.
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