Channa/Chole Masala – Recipe

If you ever find somebody who doesn’t eat Indian food, make them taste a Punjabi dish and you have a convert. Punjabi cuisine is food from the Punjab region of northwestern India and eastern Pakistan. Punjabis are large-hearted, and known to live life to the fullest. Their food reflects this attitude too.

Channa Masala
Channa/Chole Masala

One of the world-famous Punjabi dishes happens to be Channa Masala/Chole Masala. This is usually teamed with Batura but you can also eat it with any Indian bread like roti, naan or kulcha. Tried it out at home and it came out wonderfully. We had it with whole-wheat paratha. Just sharing my experience and the recipe here.



The recipe requires channa masala powder which can be brought from stores. I didn’t have the masala powder neither did I have amchoor powder and Pomegranate seeds to make it at home so I used Garam Masala powder + Coriander powder + cumin powder instead. And tamarind paste + lemon juice instead of amchoor and pomegranate for tanginess. The result turned out to be pretty good so I think I can repeat the process whenever I don’t have the channa masala powder

The main ingredient here is the channa/chickpeas which needs to be soaked overnight or upto 6-8 hours.


The Channa soaked over-night

Pressure cook the Channa. You can also add a tsp of tea powder/ 1 tea bag in the cooker to get the nice dark color. You need not throw away the water after draining. You can use the same while cooking. My drained water looked like this.

Drained water

Water drained after cooking the chole.


Calcutta Channa/Chole/Chickpeas – 200 gms
Onion(finely chopped) – 2 medium
Tomato(finely chopped) – 3 medium
Green Chilli(finely chopped) – 2-3
Garam Masala – 1 & 1/2 tbsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tbsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Hing/Asafoetida – a pinch(optional) – Hing is an essential ingredient in our kitchen
ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
lime – 1/2 medium
Salt – to taste
Oil – for tadka
Fresh Coriander leaves/Cilantro – for garnishing


Heat oil in a deep sauce-pan and add cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add hing and ginger-garlic paste and sauté. Add Onion and green chilli and sauté till the onion turns golden brown.

Tadka with onion

Tadka with onion

Now add turmeric and tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook nicely. And then add salt and all the other dry powders to it. Saute for a minute.

Tomatoes added

Tomatoes added

Now add the channa to the above and mix. Later add the drained water to the mixture. Add tamarind paste and lime. Cover it and let it cook for 5-6 minutes. Once it is cooked take it out in a serving bowl, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and a dollop of cream.

Channa Masala - ready to eat

Channa Masala – ready to eat

Tips: Make sure your channa is cooked properly in the cooker. If it is half done you wont be able to cook it properly later.
You can also garnish with chopped onion and a wedge of lime as it traditionally done.

Happy Eating!

11 thoughts on “Channa/Chole Masala – Recipe

  1. Would it traditionally use dried or fresh pomegranate seeds? My Indian friends in Chicago haven’t grown up cooking all of these dishes, so I am learning from cookbooks that are written for Americans and don’t mention when the ingredients I see are substituions for traditional ones, as you do here. But I have some pretty good Indian grocery stores that I’ve gone to, so I’d like to see if I can try the more traditional style and understand the dish better.

    • Thanks for stopping by Emily 🙂

      Traditionally dried pomegranate seeds are used. This is a common ingredient in North-Indian/Punjabi dishes but hardly used in South-India where I am from. Since it is not easily found even here, the best option is a store bought channa masala powder. I think you can find it in any Indian grocery store near you. If not you will definitely find garam masala powder. To which I think you can add dry pomegranate seed powder + dry ginger powder + dry Mango powder + coriander powder + cumin powder and make a masala instead of the combination I used above.

      Since you are very particular and can find the ingredients, I will speak to one of my North-Indian friends to get the authentic channa masala powder recipe to make at home. After all nothing can beat the aroma of freshly ground spices. 🙂

      • Sounds great! I do have the pomegranate seeds and amchur and ginger here, so I’d love to use them properly. 🙂

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