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Punjabi chole masala in an Indian iron dish from the front.
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4.77 from 17 votes

chole masala

Chole masala (or chana masala) is an absolutely delicious Punjabi chickpea curry. It not like any chickpea curry you have ever had
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 2
Calories: 473kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


Chole masala

  • 1 19 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 onions finely diced
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil divided
  • 2 green chilies finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups pureed tomatoes - this is not tomato paste. Think passata...
  • 2 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1/2 cup water maybe a bit more depending on your desired consistency

Whole spices

  • 2-3 kashmiri red chilies
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 2 inch piece cinnamon bark

Ground spices

  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp kasoor methi dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp amchoor powder mango powder - secret ingredient number one
  • 1 tsp anardhana pomegranate seeds - secret ingredient number two
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt


Fry the onions

  • Add two tbsp vegetable oil to a frying pan. Surface area in the pan is going to help move this along. 
  • Add the onions and cook over medium heat until the onions are well browned. Stir once in a while. This takes about 15 minutes. Keep going until they are soft and brown. This is important.

Prep your spices

  • This will give you something to do while the onions cook. Put the whole spices in a little bowl. Or toss them on the counter. 
  • Combine all the ground spices (except the pomegranate seeds) in a small bowl.

Make the chole masala

  • Heat 3 Tbsp over medium heat in a second frying pan.
  • Add the whole spices and cook until the oil starts to bubble. This takes about 30 seconds.
  • Add the green chili. Cook for about 30 seconds. Add the garlic ginger paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it stops sputtering, about another minute.
  • Turn the heat to medium low. Add the ground spices and mix to get them well coated in oil. Be careful. You don't want the spices to burn. Cook for about 30-45 seconds to let the spices bloom. This is a great restaurant trick. Instantly removes that nasty raw spice taste.
  • Add the pureed tomato. Bring to a simmer. Mix in the onions. Add the pomegranate seed and chickpeas. Add a half cup of water and bring to simmer. 
  • Cover with whatever cover fits (nobody ever said it has to match) and simmer for about 10 minutes. If the curry seems a bit dry add a little more water. 
  • Garnish with a bit of red onion if you like. Serve with your choice of Indian flatbread. Chapatis, parathas pooris and naan all work really well. 


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 473kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Sodium: 2178mg | Potassium: 974mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 2375IU | Vitamin C: 95.3mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 5.5mg