Pindi Chole | Pindi Chana (No Onion Garlic)

Pindi Chole is a very flavourful chickpea curry recipe that has no onion, garlic or tomatoes. It has a typical dark colour that comes from cooking it slowly on a cast iron pan or kadhai. Serve with bhaturas, naan or kulchas, this can double up as breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Pindi Chole in a cast iron pan

Pindi Chole is a typical North Indian dish that actually hails from Rawalpindi in Pakistan, which is also where the name comes from. Its unique because it doesn’t use regular ingredients like garlic, onions or tomatoes which generally form the base of most Indian curries. Instead it gets all its flavour from whole and ground spices and the general flavour of chickpeas which when cooked slowly, become perfectly soft and soak up all the masala.

Ingredients You’ll Need

While most ingredients are easy to find, there are some that you’ll need to source. I’ve listed substitutes below:

Picture of all the ingredients for pindi chole with text overlay to identify them
  • Kabuli Chana: Garbanzo beans or chickpeas. Need to be soaked overnight. I recommend using raw instead of canned
  • Whole Spices: Cloves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Pepper
  • Tea Leaves: Responsible for that distinct black colour. This is a fairly recent addition to the recipe. Earlier dried amla (gooseberry) was used for flavour and colour but I didn’t have it easily available.
  • Ghee: Always always the choice of fat for pindi chole but can be replaced with oil. Although I don’t recommend it
  • Anardana: basically dried pomegranate which adds sourness, tartness and colour. In a pinch, sub with tamarind juice at the end
  • Ajwain (Carom Seeds): Makes this dish easy to digest
  • Hing (Asafoetida): Flavour replacement for garlic plus makes this easy to digest
  • Ginger: Adds a nice sharpness and flavour to the whole dish
  • Green Chillies: For that hit of heat
  • Chole Masala: Store bought for all practical purposes. I love using ‘Roopaks Pindi Chole Masala’. Used for chole as well as potatoes
  • Chilli Powder: For the potatoes to give them a spicy
  • Potatoes: Fried potatoes are a topping generally served with pindi chole. They are spicy, tangy and so snackable

How to make Pindi Chole

Here’s a quick step by step to show you how to make this recipe

Step by step picture collage showing how to make pindi chole

1. In a cheesecloth or muslin, wrap tea leaves, cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, peppercorns and cinnamon.

2. Secure it tightly to ensure none of the contents spill out while cooking.

3. Place this in a pressure cooker along with soaked and drained chickpeas and 3 cups of water.

4. Pressure cook – after the first whistle on high flame, reduce the flame and cook for 25 minutes till the chhole are soft.

Step by step picture collage showing how to make pindi chole

5. Once the chole is cooked, remove the potli and discard.

6. Drain the chole and reserve the water.

7. In an iron kadai or cast iron pan, roast anardana on a low flame for a few minutes.

8. Then add the cooked chole, rock salt, ajwain, hing, half the ginger, two slit green chillies and chole masala. Mix this well.

Step by step picture collage showing how to make pindi chole

9-10. Add ½ cup of reserved chole water and let this cook on low flame for 7-8 minutes.

11-12. Keep adding water little by little (approx 2-3 times) and cook the chole on low for 15-20 minutes till the masala coats the chole well, and the dark colour of the dish deepens.

Step by step picture collage showing how to make pindi chole

13. Deep fry the potatoes on a medium flame till crisp and golden brown.

14. Immediately transfer them to a bowl and sprinkle with kashmiri chilli powder, chhole masala and salt. Toss well to coat the potatoes with masala.

15. In another pan, heat all the ghee and add the remaining ginger and two more slit green chillies.

16. Fry the ginger and chillies and then pour all the ghee on top of the chole. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Top with fried aloo, chopped coriander and serve

Bowl of pindi chole served with spicy fried aloo

FAQ

Do I have to soak the chickpeas?

I highly recommend soaking dried chickpeas as it helps cook them faster and also makes them easy to digest

Is Pindi Chole different from Amritsari Chole?

Yes, Amritsari Chole use onion and garlic and have a slightly different cooking method than Pindi Chole

What is a good substitute for Anardana?

You can skip anardana if it’s hard to find and use 1.5 tablespoon tamarind juice in the end instead

Watch the Recipe Video

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Bowl of pindi chole served with bhatura and potatoes on the side

Pindi Chole | No Onion Garlic Chana

Pindi Chole is a very flavourful chickpea curry recipe that has no onion, garlic or tomatoes. It has a typical dark colour that comes from cooking it slowly on a cast iron pan or kadhai. Serve with bhaturas, naan or kulchas, this can double up as breakfast, lunch or dinner!

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Course: Main Course

Cuisine: North Indian, Punjabi

Diet: Gluten Free, Hindu, Vegetarian

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Servings: 4 people

Calories: 299kcal

Instructions

Potli

  • In a cheesecloth or muslin, wrap tea leaves, cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, peppercorns and cinnamon. Secure it tightly to ensure none of the contents spill out while cooking.

Chhole

  • Place this in a pressure cooker along with soaked and drained chole and 3 cups of water. Pressure cook the chole. After the first whistle on high flame, reduce the flame and cook for 25 minutes till the chhole are soft.

  • Once the chole is cooked, remove the potli and discard. Drain the chhole and reserve the water and chickpeas separately

  • In an iron kadhai or cast iron pan, roast anardana on a low flame for a few minutes. Then add the cooked chhole, rock salt, ajwain, hing, half the ginger, two slit green chillies and chhole masala. Mix this well. Add ½ cup of reserved chhole water and let this cook on low flame for 7-8 minutes.

  • Keep adding water little by little (approx 2-3 times) and cook the chhole on low for 15-20 minutes till the masala coats the chhole well, and the dark colour of the dish deepens.

  • In another pan, heat all the ghee and add the remaining ginger and two more slit green chillies. Fry the ginger and chillies and then pour all the ghee on top of the chhole. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Fried Aloo (optional)

  • Deep fry the potatoes on a medium flame till crisp and golden brown.

  • Immediately transfer them to a bowl and sprinkle with kashmiri chilli powder, chhole masala and salt. Toss well to coat the potatoes with masala. Use these on top of the pindi chhole while serving or serve these on the side.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 929mg | Potassium: 795mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 94IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg

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