Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Chole | Channa Masala | White chickpeas in rich masala gravy

Chole is a very famous dish from the North Indian cuisine and generally finds its place in the first set of orders placed in a restaurant. I have heard many cooks complaining that they were not able to make a perfect chole. Either their gravy was too watery or the chickpeas used to be disjoint. Well I atleast haven't faced this problem.

The famous combination for Chole is Bature - A poori like dish made out of maida and yeast. But we generally consume less of Bature or Poori since it is very rich in oil. I serve Chole with chapathis or Appams. Believe me chole tastes great with Appams.

Channa Masala - I generally use store bought powder. If I do not have it, I use garam masala + amchur powder. But Channa Masala in addition to the standard garam masala ingredients, also has amchur powder and pomegranate powder. That gives the characteristic tangy taste. Also, remember that Channa Masala has some amount of saltiness in it. So add salt accordingly


Chickpeas dried - 1 cup (125 grams)
Onions - 4 (150 grams)
Tomato - 4 (125 grams)
Ginger - 1 inch piece (10 grams)
Garlic - 4 pods (10 grams)
Green Chillies - 4 (10 grams)
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Bay Leaf - 1
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Cardamom - 2 Clove
Star Anise - 2
Cumin/Jeera - 1 tsp (5 grams)
Channa Masala - 1.5 tbsp (15 grams)
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp (10 grams)
Coriander leaves for garnish


  • Soak the chickpeas overnight. Drain water. Add 4 cups of water, turmeric powder and a little salt. Pressure cook till it is cooked well, but retains the shape. I cooked for one whistle and simmered for about 10 minutes. Drain the cooked water and save it. 
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon, clove, cardamom. star anise and cumin. When it sizzles, add finely chopped onions and a little salt. Saute till the onion starts to brown. 
  • Make a paste of Ginger and Garlic. Add to the pan along with turmeric powder. Saute for some more time. 
  • Add chopped tomatoes and green chillies. Cook till the tomatoes are cooked well. Don't stop when the tomatoes are done. The trick is to keep cooking till there is no trace of tomato and we have a smooth paste. 
  • Add the channa masala. Mix well. 
  • Add the drained water to the pan and bring it to a boil. Simmer for a little bit. 
  • Add the cooked channa and chilli powder (Add as per need. I added 1 tsp and felt it was enough since sometimes the channa masala has some amount of chilly). Or you could add more green chilli at the beginning. Add salt if needed. 
  • Simmer for a little while. Switch off and garnish with coriander leaves. Add a little lime juice if you like it more tangy. 

Serve this hot with Chapathi / Roti/ Appams / Idiappams / Poori or even rice..

If the gravy is too watery, grind little chickpeas and 1/2 a tomato and add to the gravy and boil.
If the gravy is too disjoint, it might be that the chickpeas have not cooked soft. Once the gravy is ready just pressure cook it for one minute.

Linking this recipe to the event Dish it out-light dinners event organized by Vardhini and hosted by Preetha Soumyan