Punjabi-Style Chole Chickpea Curry

Chole chickpea curry recipe

​The Spruce Eats / Nita West

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
238 Calories
4g Fat
42g Carbs
11g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 238
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 188mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 9g 34%
Protein 11g
Calcium 104mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There are few foods more North Indian than chole (pronounced chho-lay) or chickpea curry, and there are probably as many recipes for making chole as there are households in North India. This is the recipe my mother has always used.

Serve this crowd-pleaser piping hot and accompanied by pooris or bhatooras (fried Indian bread).


Click Play to See This Punjabi-Style Chole Chickpea Curry Recipe Come Together


  • 3 large onions (sliced thin, divided)
  • 2 large tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or canola or sunflower cooking oil)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 to 6 cloves
  • 3 to 4 green cardamoms
  • 5 to 6 peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 (15 1/2 ounces) cans of chickpeas
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Water (enough to make a gravy)
  • Garnish: 1 inch piece of ginger (julienned)
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons coriander leaves (fresh, chopped fine)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chole chickpea curry recipe ingredients
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  2. Grind 2 of the sliced onions, the tomatoes, and the ginger and garlic paste together into a smooth paste in a food processor.

    Grind onions and tomatoes
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West 
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep, thick-bottomed pan on medium heat.

    Heat vegetable oil
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  4. Add the bay leaves, cloves, cardamom, and peppercorns and sauté until slightly darker and mildly fragrant.

    Add bay leaves
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  5. Add the remaining sliced onion and fry until light golden in color.

    Add remaining onion
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  6. Add the onion-tomato paste you made earlier and fry till the oil begins to separate from the paste.

    Add onion tomato paste
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  7. Add the dry, powdered spices—cumin, coriander, red chili, turmeric, and garam masala powders. Sauté, stirring frequently, for 5 more minutes.

    Add dry powdered spices
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  8. Drain the water in the can from the chickpeas and rinse them well under running water.

    Drain the water in the can
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  9. Now add the chickpeas to the masala you fried up earlier. Stir to mix everything well.

    Now add chickpeas
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  10. Add salt to taste and enough hot water to make the gravy—about 1 1/2 cups.

    Add salt to taste
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  11. Simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes.

    Simmer and cook
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  12. Use a flat spoon or potato masher to mash some of the chickpeas coarsely. Stir to mix everything well.

    Mash chickpeas
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  13. Garnish with juliennes of ginger and finely chopped fresh coriander leaves. A squeeze of lemon and a handful of very finely chopped onion tastes great as a garnish too.

    Garnish with ginger
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West 
  14. Serve hot and enjoy!

    Chole chickpea curry recipe
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West


  • In this recipe, canned chickpeas are used (who doesn't like a shortcut?), but you can also use dried chickpeas, available from most supermarkets and specialty Indian groceries. If you do so, then factor in the time required to soak the dried chickpeas. Overnight typically works best. After a night of soaking, boil the chickpeas with a little salt, until soft and then use.
  • Chole doesn't freeze well, and while they taste even better the day after they have been cooked, they are best eaten the day they are prepared.

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