Punjabi-Style Chole Chickpea Curry

Chole chickpea curry recipe

​The Spruce / Nita West

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
493 Calories
18g Fat
69g Carbs
19g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 493
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 24%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 967mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 69g 25%
Dietary Fiber 18g 65%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 20mg 102%
Calcium 172mg 13%
Iron 5mg 25%
Potassium 780mg 17%
*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 distinctly 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.

The trick to making this recipe as delicious as possible is to use whole herbs and spices, and to use ones that are as fresh as possible. Take a whiff of your spices if there are some in this recipe that you don't use frequently. Anything musty or off, toss and buy new if you can.

This chole recipe requires both a ginger and garlic paste, which are not hard to make. The ginger paste can be made by blending fresh slice ginger in a food processor with a little bit of neutral oil (such as avocado or canola) to a paste-like consistency.

Serve this crowd-pleasing dish piping hot and accompanied by pooris or bhatooras, which are two different kinds of fried Indian bread.


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


  • 3 large onions, sliced thin and divided

  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste

  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil , or canola oil

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 5 to 6 cloves

  • 3 to 4 whole green cardamom

  • 5 to 6 peppercorns

  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 2 teaspoons garam masala

  • 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans chickpeas

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Water, enough to make a gravy

  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, julienned

  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped fine

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chole chickpea curry recipe ingredients

    ​The Spruce / Nita West

  2. Grind 2 of the sliced onions, the tomatoes, and the ginger and garlic pastes together into a smooth paste in a food processor.

    Grind onions and tomatoes, along with ginger and garlic pastes

    ​The Spruce / Nita West 

  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep, thick-bottomed pan on medium heat.

    Heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven

    ​The Spruce / Nita West

  4. Add the bay leaves, cloves, cardamom, and peppercorns and sauté until slightly darker and mildly fragrant.

    Bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and peppercorns to oil in Dutch oven

    ​The Spruce / Nita West

  5. Add the remaining sliced onion and cook until light golden in color.

    Sliced onions cooking in Dutch oven with bay leaves

    ​The Spruce / Nita West

  6. Add the onion-tomato paste you made earlier and cook until the oil begins to separate from the paste.

    Add onion tomato paste

    ​The Spruce / Nita West

  7. Add the ground cumin, coriander, red chili, turmeric, and garam masala. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 more minutes.

    Add dry powdered spices

    ​The Spruce / Nita West

  8. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them well under running water.

    Drain and rinse the chickpeas

    ​The Spruce / Nita West

  9. Now add the chickpeas to the masala. Stir to mix everything well.

    Chickpeas added to masala

    ​The Spruce / Nita West

  10. Add salt to taste and enough hot water to make the gravy—about 1 1/2 cups.

    Add salt to taste and hot water to make a gravy

    ​The Spruce / Nita West

  11. Simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes.

    Simmer and cook chickpeas and masala

    ​The Spruce / 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 / 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 / Nita West 

  14. Serve hot and enjoy!

    Chole chickpea curry recipe

    ​The Spruce / Nita West


  • In this recipe, canned chickpeas are used because they're so convenient, but you can also use dried chickpeas. If you do so, then factor in the time required to soak the dried chickpeas. After soaking, boil the chickpeas with a little salt, until soft and then use.
  • You can also make the ginger and garlic pastes ahead of time.

How to Store Punjabi Chole

Chole doesn't freeze well, and while they taste even better the day after they have been cooked, and will be good for a few days thereafter, they are best eaten the day they are prepared.

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