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Chickpea Curry – How To Make Punjabi Chole


Punjabi Chole

This simple chickpea curry is delicious. I love the colour too!

This authentic Punjabi chickpea curry simply has to be tried! So good.

You are in for a chickpea curry with a delicious difference! You might think that cooking chickpeas with teabags is a bit strange. Chickpeas are naturally quite dry inside even after simmering for a long time.

They don’t naturally retain much moisture. This is one of the things that makes this chickpea curry or Punjabi chole the delicious curry that it is.

By cooking them with teabags, they retain the moisture which is important for Punjabi chole. The sauce does not taste at all like tea but the teabags do give the chickpea curry its distinctive deep brown colour.

This is delicious street food at its best that is usually served with freshly fried bhature. Bhature is like a fried unleavened naan and I will be posting a recipe for that really soon. In the meantime, you could just try this easy stovetop naan recipe.

Punjabi chole

Cooking the chickpeas with tea bags might sound strange but it is for colouring and texture only. You don’t taste the tea.

Punjabi Chole

Once you get that base masala going, you know you’re in for something special.

Punjabi chole

With the sauce made, all you need to do is add the cooked chickpeas.

Punjabi Chole

Simmer the sauce until you are happy with the consistency.

Punjabi chole is street food that simply has to be tried!

Note: Punjabi chole is made with a special chole masala that you can purchase at many Asian grocers. You could substitute chaat masala but it isn’t quite the same. So I have written a Punjabe chole masala recipe for you should you wish to go all out.

Prep Time
10 minutes

Cook Time
1 hour

Additional Time
1 day

Total Time
1 day 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 3 teabags
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 x 5cm (2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 black or 4 green cardamom pods – bruised
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 generous tbsp ghee
  • ½ tsp asafetida
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 medium red onions – blended with a little water to make a paste
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 300g chopped tomatoes – blended
  • 2 tbsp chole masala or chaat masala
  • 1 tbsp dried pomegranate seeds – lightly crushed (if not using Punjabi chole masala)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (more or less to taste)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 4 green bird’s eye chillies – sliced lenthwise
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 small red onion – thinly sliced into rings
  • 3 tbsp coriander – finely chopped


  1. Wash and then soak the dried chickpeas overnight. When ready to cook, drain the chickpeas and place them in a large saucepan. Cover with water and add the teabags, bicarbonate soda, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook for about an hour until the chickpeas are really soft. You should be able to easily smash one between your fingers. Set
  3. Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons ghee in a large, high sided
    pan over medium-high heat. When it begins to shimmer, stir in the asafetida and cumin seeds and let these infuse into the ghee for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the blended onions and stir this all to combine. Lower the temperature to medium and fry for about ten minutes or until the onions are deep brown in colour.
  5. Stir in the garlic an ginger paste and fry for a further 30 seconds before adding the blended tomatoes. Add the chole masala/chaat masala, pomegranate seeds,
    coriander, chilli powder and turmeric. Simmer for about five minutes and then pour in the cooked chickpeas minus the teabags.
  6. Add the kasoori methi by rubbing between your fingers and season with salt to taste.
  7. Garnish with the red onion rings, the coriander and/or a couple more green chillies if you like and serve with fresh bhature

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Punjabi Chole

You need to give this a go!

I hope you enjoy this authentic Punjabi chole – chickpea curry recipe. If you do give it a try, please let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


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