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Punjabi Chole Masala (Chana Masala) // Protein-Rich Indian Chickpea Curry

Punjabi Chole Masala (Chana Masala) // Protein-Rich Indian Chickpea Curry

One of the most popular Indian curries – Chole or Chana Masala. It is so delicious and tempting that this one recipe is a part of almost all weekends and festivals. It is spicy, a little sour, and full of flavors. Chana Masala can be made in many different forms and this one is inspired by the streets of Delhi. No tea bag or tea leaves have been used in this recipe to retain the red color of the curry.

It is perfect to be made for lunch or weekend brunch. You can surely have it for dinner too but most people find chickpeas heavy and not easily digestible. If you try this, then make some extra so that you can also make the Leftover Chole Wrap the next day.

What is Chole or Chana Masala?

Chole or Chana Masala is a traditional Indian curry that is made of protein-rich chickpeas. It contains onion and tomato gravy (or curry), a blend of Indian spices, and chickpeas. It is a staple dish in North Indian cuisine, mostly Punjab. But it has become widely popular now all across India and in other parts of the world too.

Is this recipe Vegan?

Yes. Of course. All the ingredients used in this recipe are plant-based and vegan.

How to store Punjabi Chole or Chana Masala?

You can store chana masala or chole in the refrigerator for 2 days. Reheat while serving.

I never froze the curry because I prefer to make it fresh. But you can surely do that. Store the curry in an air-tight container and freeze for up to a month. Take it out a day before and put it in the refrigerator to thaw. Reheat while serving.

Ingredients Needed – for your reference

Chole or Chana Masala Ingredients

Cooking Method – for your reference

Chole or Chana Masala

Chole or Chana Masala

Chole or Chana Masala

More Indian Curries – just as good

  1. Punjabi Rajma Masala (Kidney Bean Curry)
  2. Dhaba-Style Dal Makhni
  3. Dilli Wale Pindi Chole
  4. Kala Chana Masala
  5. No Onion, No Garlic Paneer Gravy
  6. No Deep Frying – Lauki Kofta

Now grab all the ingredients because you are ready to make this delicious, wholesome, full of flavors Chole or Chana Masala at home. You can make it for lunch, brunch, or dinner. Next time you make chole or chana masala at home, make it extra because you do not want to miss the leftover Chole Wrap recipe.

Happy Cooking 🙂

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Punjabi Chole Masala (Chana Masala) // Protein-Rich Indian Chickpea Curry

Spicy. Flavourful. Vegan.

If you ever visit Delhi, notice the Chole-Rice stall on the streets and corners of the city. The bright red color of curry with freshly chopped coriander on top, steamy hot rice, and green chili on the side - you will get attracted to it. Now, make it at home and enjoy it anytime. 



10 min

Prep Time

90 min

Cook Time

1 hr 40 min

Total Time



Grains and Pulses

Vegetables & Herbs




Soak and Boil Chickpeas
  1. Soak chickpeas in water overnight or for 6 to 8 hours. 
  2. Rinse well 2 to 3 times with water. 
  3. In an Instant Pot, add chickpeas, salt, and 6 Cups of water. Close the lid and pressure cook for 30 minutes or until chickpeas are soft to press and well cooked. 
  4. You can use pressure cooked too. Cook on high flame until first whistle and then lower the flame and cook for another 20 minutes or until chickpeas are soft and well cooked.
  5. Let it depressurize itself. Meanwhile, let's prepare the masala. 
Chana Masala or Chole
  1. Add onion, garlic, and ginger in a blender. Add water just enough to blend well into a paste. 
  2. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds or until brown. 
  3. Add onion, ginger, and garlic paste to it. Mix and let it cook on high flame until brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent burning. 
  4. While that is cooking, blend tomatoes well into a puree. Add it to the pan once the onion paste is brown. 
  5. Along with the tomato puree, add red chili powder, turmeric powder, and a pinch of salt. Mix and cook until the moisture is evaporated and it starts to release the oil, 20 min on high flame.
  6. Keep it covered and stir occasionally.
  7. Add chana masala and mix well. Then add cooked chickpeas, along with the water in which it was boiled. Cook on medium flame until it becomes thick (yet pourable) and you get the desired consistency, 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. 
  8. Lightly press with the back of the ladle to make the curry thicker.
  9. Once done, switch off the flame and add green chili and coriander leaves. Serve hot with some steamy hot rice and salad on the side. Enjoy!


Can I use chickpeas (chole) without soaking?

Yes. You can use chickpeas or chole without soaking. It would take much linger time to cook well and become soft. To speed up the process, you can add a pinch of baking soda.

Can I use canned chickpeas to make Chana Masala or Chole?

Yes. You can use canned chickpeas (4 Cups approx.) to make chole or chana masala. Discard the liquid from the can and wash it two to three times with water. Then add it to the chole recipe along with fresh water. The taste would be different and I would recommend making chole or chana masala from scratch.

Can I use garam masala instead of chole masala or chana masala?

Yes. You can use garam masala instead of chole masala or chana masala. Garam masala and chole masala are a blend of different whole spices. The amount of ingredients used in both the spice mixes is different and hence the taste would differ.

Is Punjabi Chole or Chana Masala a vegan Indian curry?

Yes. Punjabi Chole is a traditional Indian vegan curry. All the ingredients used to make it are plant-based and vegan.

Can I boil chickpeas in a saucepan instead of pressure cooker?

Yes. It can be done but it would take a very long to cook and become soft. i would recommend using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot.

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