Pindi Chole – Chickpea Curry with Whole Spices. Instant Pot or Saucepan. Chickpeas cooked with whole spices then added to a sauce with caramelized onions. Punjabi Chole Adapted from Rawalpindi style Chole. Vegan Gluten-free Nut-free Soy-free Recipe
When you think there are enough chickpea curries to make, you realize you have to make one more! And that one has to be this Pindi Chole.
Chole means Chickpea Curry and Pindi came from the place (rawalpindi). Pindi Chole has various versions that have evolved over the years. Pindi Chole can be dryish chickpeas with just spices or spices + ginger+garlic, that make up the thick “curry”. More saucy versions often use onion and other ingredients. This is an evolved recipe from cooking variations of these. Amazingly I hadn’t made these in a while, with all the various recipes I was developing for the book and blog. I would make these for when my parents visited, but they prefer less spiced food now and we stick to simple Dals and veggie sides.
Dried Chickpeas are soaked, then cooked in a pressure cooker or saucepan with whole spices such as whole cinnamon stick, green and black cardamom and cloves. The sauce is made up of caramelizing onions, no tomatoes, which is combined with the chickpeas and simmered to make a very flavorful dish. Definitely try this with dried chickpeas. I do have an option to use canned chickpeas, but the flavor doesn’t infuse the chickpeas as much.
The Chickpea Curry of your dreams or atleast mine! Let me know in the comments if you make this and tag me on Instagram.
More Chickpea Recipes from the blog
- Mango Curry Chickpeas
- Chana Saag – Chickpea Spinach Curry in Instant Pot
- Brown Chickpea Coconut Curry
- Spanish Chickpea Stew
- More Instant Pot Recipes here.
This recipe uses some specific ingredients that you can easily find in an Indian store near you or online on amazon, such as Kala namak (indian sulphur salt which is also used to add eggy flavor in tofu scrambles etc), Chana Masala Spice blend (get this blend for authentic chickpea curry every time!), Amchoor (Dry mango powder adds a sweet sour profile which you can add with a mix of lemon, sugar and kala namak instead), Black cardamom( is large black spice that is very different from the green cardamom. You can use it when making your own garam masala, or just omit it from this recipe). All of these are great additions to your pantry if you make Indian food often and like traditional flavors.
Traditionally the whole spices are tied up in muslin cloth to make a bag and added to the chickpeas, so they are easier to remove later. There are only a few spices, so I generally add them directly. Pindi chole is often served with Kulcha, which is a dough similar to Naan, rolled out to a thin round and deep fried. They are also a great choice to serve over Potato Cutlets (tikki) or make Chaat with.
In other news, my Book has reached the warehouses and is starting to ship! Get your Pre-order in now so you have it on 26th (the release day!) . Also pick up the Pre-order Bonus bundle full of exclusive recipes and Videos! I cannot wait for you all to get it. Thank you So Much for the continuous Support!
Pindi Chole - Chickpea Curry with Cinnamon, Cardamom and Caramelized Onion Sauce. Instant Pot or Saucepan
- 1 cup (150 g) dried chickpeas
- 1 cinnamon stick , 2 inch
- 2 green cardamoms , partially cracked open
- 1 black cardamom , optional but definitely use it if you can find it
- 2 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) kala namak (Indian sulphur Salt)
- 1 tea bag (black tea plain), optional
- 1 tsp oil , organic safflower
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 medium onion chopped or minced
- 2 tsp chana masala or chole masala spice blend , or use 1.5 tsp garam masala and 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp amchoor , dry mango powder (adds a sour profile)
- 3/4 tsp (0.75 tsp ) salt
- onion, lemon juice and pepper flakes for garnish
- Soak the chickpeas for atleast an hour or 4 hours. Combine in a pressure cooker(instant Pot) with 2 to 2.5 cups water with the rest of the ingredients under chickpeas. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. See note for saucepan option
- Blend the garlic, ginger, onion with a few tbsp of water to make puree. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add blended onion ginger garlic. and cook stirring occasionally until golden and onion doesnt smell raw (10 to 13 mins). Alternatively add minced garlic and ginger and cook for a minute, then add finely chopped onion and continue to cook until golden-translucent.
- Add the spices and mix in. Cook for half a minute.
- Add cooked chickpeas with the whole spices, salt,and some of the cooking water or fresh water to the saucepan and simmer covered for 10 to 15 minutes. (alternatively, add the onion mixture and salt to the chickpeas(In Instant pot)) . Taste and adjust salt and spice (add more water if needed). Press saute and Simmer for 10 minutes. Add a pinch of sugar to balance if needed.
- Serve garnished with chopped onions, lemon juice, pepper flakes with rice or flatbread or over Potato Cutlets (tikki). Or make a bowl with roasted veggies. You can remove the whole spices before serving. I usually keep them in in the serving container, so they stay with the leftover chickpeas that get stored.
We made this for dinner last night. We kept to the recipe, except to adjust the seasoning to our palette and substituting for ingredients we did not have such as the black cardamom. It turned out to be one of the best Chana dishes I’ve had – thank you. Could you tell me whether there is any purpose of adding a tea bag, besides imparting colour to the chickpeas?
Vegan Richa Support
the optional tea bag adds another little flavour dimension
This was delicious! I added some tomato paste (just because I love that tomatoey flavor in curries) but it didn’t need it. Lovely flavors.
I made this for dinner tonight and it’s Awesome!!! Omg! And so quick too (in the instant pot)! Thank you!!!
If using canned chickpeas, how much should I use?
I have the same question. Would 2 cans work?
Yes, use 2 cans
Thanks, worked out great! It’s a nice, tasty alternate to channa masala.
I just made it today and it turned out delicious! I absolutely love your Indian Kitchen Cookbook too. I can see all the hard work that went into it and it’s really one of my most favorite cookbooks out there. Thank you, Richa!
I’m also eagerly awaiting your new cookbook!!
I recently purchased an Instant Pot and would really like to use it more often for Indian cooking, but I just have not had time to play around with it.
This recipe is a bit confusing for me. Does the last “alternatively” mean just to put all of the raw ingredients for the sauce into the Instant Pot the same time as the chick peas go it?
I am concerned that there may be too much water if everything comes out at the same time.
Can you clarify?
Have not had time to go back and search for all of your Instant Pot recipes on the web site. Looking forward to doing this soon!
You are totally awesome!
Hi Nancy, yes you put the dryish onion mixture tot he pot. If you use 2 cups of water, there is not much left as most will be absorbed by the chickpeas. If you feel like its too much, you can use a ladle and take some out or simmer uncovered.
Try the chikpea spinach curry or the tortilla soup in the Instant pot. those are easier recipes if you are starting out on the IP. https://veganricha.com/category/instant-pot
Cassie Autumn Tran
This looks delicious! How is this different from your average chana masala? Are the spice combinations not the same?
Usual chana masala uses tomatoes in the sauce and just cumin and chana masala blend. This one is much more flavorful and a bit different profile overall
do you think alma (indian gooseberry) powder could be substituted for the mango powder?
Yes, you can use that or pomegranate seed powder as well. With amla powder, start with a lower amount 1/2 tsp and add later during simmering as it is a stronger flavor.
Sounds absolutely marvelous but I have to say, if I may, I am over the moon excited that my new cookbook will be in my hot little hands in less than 10 days! Way to go Richa.
I am too!!! Thank you Laurel. I cant wait to see what you cook from it!