The classic Amritsari Pindi Chole is a delight to your taste buds; this heavily spiced chana masala recipe called Pindi chole would be everyone’s favorite without a doubt!
If you are looking for a delicious no-onion vegetarian Indian recipe, you have come to the right place. Today’s recipe of Pindi chole is a classic chana masala recipe from Rawalpindi in Punjab and is stunningly delish thanks to the aromatic Indian spices. Yeah, this Pindi chole is quite high on spices and that’s how you elevate up the taste quotient of this no-onion and no-tomato masala dish. If you are addicted to the regular Punjabi chole masala, then I would recommend you to try this classic Pindi chole which is a little differently flavored chole masala dish.
Chole or chana i.e. chickpeas are a very good source of protein besides being delicious. If you are a vegetarian and does not eat meat, fish or egg, you must include such pulses like chana, rajma, various types of dals etc in your daily meals. If you need a great tasting rajma recipe, you can try out my dhaba style rajma masala which I am sure you will absolutely love! Today’s recipe of Pindi chole too is a definite must-have in your recipe repertoire! It’s also a great option to serve to your vegetarian friends at your next house party!
You can serve or treat yourself with this Pindi chole as a snack on its own or with some homemade kulcha for dinner. Pindi chole with kulcha is a heavenly combination and you must try this at least once in life. Once you try it, I am sure you will keep on craving for this divine combination of chole kulche again and again. Good news is making Pindi chole is surprisingly easy and because it is a no-onion and no-tomato recipe, it just takes few minutes to put together when you have your chana cooked and ready. To give your chana that classic brown color, you will have to use either tea bag or tea leaves tied in a small cloth. The tea liquor imparts that beautiful brown color to the chana without altering any taste. Hence do not skip adding the tea leaves if you are cooking your chana from scratch. You can do this step for any recipe of chana and not just this Pindi chole.
The combination of spices in Pindi chole is something to take little care of. There is a good balance of sweetness, saltiness and tanginess along with the subtle kick of heat lend by red chili powder. When you make your Pindi chole for the very first time, I would suggest you to go by the recommended amount of spices to avoid an overpowering taste of any particular spice. Once you understand the flavor profile, you can adjust the spice level according to your liking. I will soon be back with my kulcha recipe for you; until then relish your Pindi chole on its own and as always, enjoy!
- Kabuli chana / chole (chickpeas) – 2 cups
- Tea bag – 2
- Black cardamom – 3
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Baking soda – 1 pinch (1/8 tsp)
- Salt to taste
- Black salt – ½ tsp
- Black pepper – ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Coriander powder – ½ tsp
- Red chili powder – 1 tsp
- Garam masala – ½ tsp
- Amchur powder – 1 tsp
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Tamarind pulp – ½ tsp (I used readymade pulp, hence used less)
- Freshly chopped coriander leaves – ¼ cup
- Ghee – 3 tbsp
- Carom seeds / ajwain – ½ tsp
- Ginger – 2-inch piece, julienned or very thinly sliced into long strips
- Garlic – 5, thinly sliced
- Green chili – 4, split lengthwise
- Red chili powder – ½ tsp
- Soak the kabuli chana (chickpeas) or chole in plain water for 6 to 8 hours. Chole should plump up by soaking and become double in size. Now it’s the time to pressure cook them.
- Add the soaked chole, tea bags, black cardamoms, salt and baking soda to the pressure cooker. Cover the cooker tightly by its lid and pressure cook on high flame until 5 whistles. Then lower the flame to minimum and let it cook for another 15 minutes.
- Then switch off the flame and let the pressure release naturally on its own. Once the cooker has cooled down and all pressure is released, uncover the lid and check for doneness of the chole. They should be soft but not mushy.
- Drain the chole and discard the water. Take out the tea bags and black cardamoms and discard them too. (If you are using canned chickpeas, you can skip above 4 steps and directly start from the next step below.)
- Now take a large kadhai but don’t put it on flame yet. Add the cooked chole to the kadhai.
- Then add all the spices one by one – salt, black salt, black pepper, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, garam masala, amchur powder, sugar and chopped coriander leaves. Whisk the tamarind pulp in couple of tablespoons of water and add it to the chole; this way it will be easier to mix.
- Mix everything thoroughly using a spatula making sure every chickpea is coated evenly with all the spices. Now set it aside while preparing the tadka.
- Heat a small pan and add the ghee to it. Once the ghee is hot and melted, add carom seeds/ajwain, julienned ginger, sliced garlic cloves and green chilies. Cook them on low heat for a minute. Next add the red chili powder and cook it for 30 seconds more.
- Add the prepared tadka to the chole mixture and stir well with a spatula. As soon as you add the ghee tadka to the chole, there will be instant shine visible on the chickpeas. Your pindi chole is ready serve at this stage.
- Since I like some gravy in my pindi chole, I added about a cup of water to it and let it come to boil on high flame. Check and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- The consistency of gravy in the pindi chole is not watery; it should be just clinging to the chickpeas. Switch off the flame and serve your warm pindi chole garnished with some more ginger juliennes with hot kulcha. Enjoy!