Chole Masala: Meaning, Recipe, Tips & More

Chole Masala is a popular Indian dish made with white chickpeas, onion, tomato, and lots of Indian spices & herbs.

Especially in North India, it is a very popular dish, and it is prepared on weekends or any special occasion.

Chole Masala is also known as “Chole” or “Chana Masala” This protein pack vegan dish is served with Bhature, puri, paratha, or jeera rice (cumin rice).

In my family, everyone likes it a lot, especially my daughter. I still remember those days, when she was in school and demanded chole puri almost every other day in a lunch box.

I have learned this recipe from my mom, apart from this I have followed some YouTube channels and also added my tricks with my own experience.

About Chole Masala

In Chole Masala, Chole stands for “white chickpea” and Masala belongs to the “spices”. It is quite famous in North India, especially in Punjab and Delhi.

Chole Masala is a spicy, tangy, and flavorful white chickpea gravy made with onions, tomatoes, and freshly grounded masala (spice) like coriander, cumin, cardamom, clove, black pepper, and many others.

I usually prefer to use freshly ground homemade masala but sometimes I use store brought masala to save time when I do not have much time to prepare masala at home.

This delicious irresistible Chole Masala is served with bhature, puri, paratha, tandoori roti, or rice. Apart from this, it can also be used in chaats like chole samosa chaat, chole tikki chaat etc.

Whenever I make Chole Masala, I generally, save some for my favorite chole tikki chaat.

In this post I am going to share two versions of Chole Masala, the first one is Punjabi Chole Masala and the second is Street Style Chole Masala.

Punjabi Chole Masala:

Chole Masala

`Punjabi Chole Masala is also called Chana Masala, is basically a spicy and flavorful white chickpea curry.

It is quite famous in North India, especially in Punjab and Delhi region. In Hindi chickpea is called Chana while in Punjabi and in Bengali it is called “Chole”, and the word “Masala” means a mixture of spices.

In North India, no weddings or occasions are complete without Chole.

In my home, I prefer to cook it on weekends because it takes a little much time to prepare it.

I generally like to use freshly grounded homemade masala, which gives amazing flavor to the chole masala.

I recommend you to use freshly ground homemade masala, but you can use store brought masala if you don’t have time to prepare the masala.

This delicious lip-smacking Punjabi Chole Masala goes well with Bhature, Puri, Paratha, Naan, or Jeera rice (cumin rice) or even with simple plain rice.

So let’s begin with the recipe without any further delay.


For making Chole Masala:

  • Dry chickpea- 1 cup
  • Tea bag- 1-2 or Dry awla (Indian gooseberry)- 2-3
  • Baking soda- 1/4 teaspoon
  • Oil- 2 tablespoon
  • Green cardamom- 1
  • Cinnamon stick- 1/2 inch
  • Bay leaf- 1 small
  • Clove- 2
  • Onion- 2 (finely chopped)
  • Tomato- 2-3 (finely chopped)
  • Ginger + Garlic- 1 tablespoon (finely chopped)
  • Kashmiri red chili powder- 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4 teaspoon
  • Green chili- 2-3 (slit)
  • Salt- to taste
  • Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)- 1 teaspoon
  • Green coriander- 1 tablespoon (finely chopped)

For Chole Masala Spice Powder:

  • Coriander seeds- 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds- 1 teaspoon
  • Fennel seeds- 1 teaspoon
  • Black cardamom- 1
  • Green cardamom- 1
  • Cloves- 2
  • Cinnamon stick- 1 inch
  • Black pepper corn- 4-5
  • Bay leaf- 1
  • Dry red chili- 2
  • Dry pomegranate seeds- 1/2 teaspoon (You can skip this step, if you don’t have dry pomegranate then use dry mango powder (amchur powder) instead of it later as mentioned in the steps below in the recipe.

Also Read: Aloo Sabzi Puri: Recipe, Tips & more

For Garnishing or Tempering:

  • Clarified butter (ghee)- 1 tablespoon
  • Ginger juliennes- 1/2 inch
  • Asafetida- a pinch (optional) I recommend you to use asafetida, which gives a good aroma to the dish, but you can skip it if you don’t want to use.
  • Kashmiri red chili powder- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Green coriander- 1 teaspoon (finely chopped)

Also Read: Masala Dosa: Recipe, Meaning, Nutrition


  • Soaking & Boiling Chickpeas (chole): In a large bowl add dry chickpeas (chole), rinse it well 2-3 times with water
  • Add sufficient water to soak chole.
  • Cover it and keep aside for 8 hours or overnight (I usually soak it overnight).
  • After chickpeas have soaked, later drain water and again rinse it with water for a couple of times.
  • In a pressure cooker add soaked chole, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teabags or two dried awla (gooseberry) and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Add 3 cups of water and cook it till 5-6 whistles or until chickpeas turn soft on medium flame.
  • Making Chole Masala Spice Powder: Heat a pan, add all dry spices except dry pomegranate seeds.
  • Roast them on low flame until they turn dark brown in color and fragrant.
  • After roasting, let them cool for sometime.
  • Transfer these roasted spices in a grinding jar, add 1/2 teaspoon dried pomegranate seeds and grind it well into a fine powder. Keep aside.
  • Making Chole Masala gravy: Heat a pan or kadahi, add 2 tablespoon oil. let the oil heat.
  • In hot oil add, Green cardamom- 1, Cinnamon stick- 1/2 inch, Bay leaf- 1 small, Clove- 2, Let them splutter.
  • Now add 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger + garlic.
  • Sauté well until the raw smell goes off.
  • Add finely chopped onion and saute them until they turn soft and translucent or light brown color.
  • Add finely chopped tomatoes
  • Add prepared chole masala spice powder, turmeric powder and kashmiri red chili powder.
  • Sauté tomatoes and spices well until the tomatoes turn soft and releases oil from the sides of the pan.
  • Now discard awla (gooseberry) pieces or teabags from boiled chickpeas and add to the pan, save stock for the later use.
  • At this point you can add 1 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder) instead of dried pomegranate seeds and 2-3 slit green chilies and give it a good mix.
  • Add salt as per taste, chole stock and some fresh water if needed, mix everything well.
  • Cover the pan and cook it till 18-20 minutes or until gravy become thick on low medium flame. You can mash some chole with the ladle and mix well to thicken the gravy.
  • After 18-20 minutes check it and give it a good stir, here you can adjust the thickness of gravy according to your choice, I prefer little thinner gravy chole. Switch off the flame.
  • Now crush and add kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and finely chopped green coriander. Mix well
  • Here you can check and adjust salt and spiciness in chole masala.
  • For Garnishing or Tempering: Heat a tempering pan, add 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter), add ginger Juliennes, asafetida and Kahmiri red chili, stir well. Switch off the flame
  • Pour this tempering to the Chole Masala, mix gently.
  • Sprinkle some finely chopped green coriander.
  • Delicious Punjabi Chole Masala is ready to be served.


  • Serve this tasty lip-smacking Punjabi Chole Masala with hot puffed Bhature, Puri, Tandoori roti or rice with some pickle and salad.
  • This spicy and tangy Punjabi Chole Masala can also be used for making chaats like Chole tikki chaat, Chole samosa chaat etc.

Street Style Chole Masala:

The Street Style Chole Masala is quite famous among chaat vendors, in street style chole masala they make a base of chole then they customize it according to the customer.

Generally, In this type of chole masala onion and garlic are not used, but there is no hard and fast rule, it can be added at the time of frying masala.

In my family, everyone likes this version of Chole Masala without onion and garlic.

Still, whenever I go to my mom’s place my uncle (father’s friend) always demands this version of chole, he can’t believe that no onion no garlic chole masala can taste good.

Street Style Chole Masala is made with white chickpeas, lots of spices like black cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, coriander powder, chili powder, dry mango powder, etc.

This type of chole masala is mainly used for making chaats, but it can also be served with Bhature, Kulche, Naan, Puri or jeera rice (cumin rice), or plain rice.

Let’s start with the recipe.

Preparation Street Style Chole Masala


  • Dry chickpea- 1 cup
  • Baking soda- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Black cardamom- 1
  • Green cardamom- 1
  • Pepper corn- 10-12
  • Clove- 2-3
  • Bay leaf- 2
  • Cinnamon stick- 1/2 inch
  • Tea bag- 1-2 or Dry awla (dry Indian gooseberry)- 2
  • Salt- to taste
  • Black sat- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ghee (clarified butter)- 1 tablespoon
  • Ginger- 1 inch (grated)
  • Green chili- 2-3 slit
  • Coriander powder- 2 teaspoon
  • Cumin powder- 1 teaspoon
  • Yellow chili powder- 1 teaspoon (yellow chili powder is easily available in any Indian store but if you don’t get it in store then take some dry red chili seeds, grind it into fine a powder and use).
  • Garam masala powder- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Dry mango powder (amchur powder)- 2 teaspoon
  • Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)- 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander leaves- 2 tablespoon (finely chopped)
  • Water- as needed

For Tempering:

  • Turmeric powder- 1/3 teaspoon
  • Kashmiri red chili powder- 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander leaves- 1 tsp (finely chopped)
  • Asafetida- a pinch
  • Ghee (clarified butter)- 1 tablespoon


Soaking & Boiling Chickpeas:

  • In a large bowl add dry chickpeas, rinse well with water.
  • Add enough water to soak.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, mix well. (adding baking soda at this stage prevent chickpeas turn mashy at the time of boiling chickpeas).
  • Soak it for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Rinse soaked chickpeas again for couple of times.
  • In a pressure cooker add soaked chickpeas
  • Add 3 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 black cardamom, 1 green cardamom
  • Add 10-12 black pepper, 2 bay leaves, 4 cloves, 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
  • Now add 1-2 teabags or 2 dried awla (gooseberry). Mix well.
  • Close the lid and cook it for 5-6 whistles or until chick[peas turn soft.
  • Discard awla or teabags and whole spices from boiled chickpeas.
  • Save chickpeas stock for later use.

Street Style Chole Masala Making:

  • In a large bowl add boiled chickpeas.
  • Add 2 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon yellow chili powder
  • Add 2 teaspoon dry mango powder, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder, crush and add 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves).
  • Now add salt to taste, 1/2 teaspoon black salt and 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander.
  • After that add 1 tablespoon ghee and mix everything well.
  • Now spicy & tangy Chole Masala base or Dry Chole Masala is ready.

For Tempering:

  • Heat a pan, add 1 tablespoon ghee, let it melt.
  • Now add a pinch of asafetida, 1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, stir well.
  • After that add mixed chickpeas and mix well.
  • Now add saved chickpeas stock, here you can add some fresh water according to your choice.
  • Cover it and let it cook for 5 minutes on medium flame.
  • After 5 minutes check it and give it a good mix. Switch off the flame.
  • Sprinkle 1 teaspoon chopped green coriander and some grated ginger or ginger juliennes.
  • Super delicious Street Style Chole Masala is ready to be served.


  • In a serving bowl add 1-2 ladleful of piping hot Chole Masala, crush and add aloo tikki or samosa, add some green chutney and sweet chutney, sprinkle chaat masala, red chili powder and black salt, finally add some chopped onions and coriander leaves. Spicy & Tangy lip-smacking Chole chaat is ready to enjoy.
  • This delicious Street Style Chole Masala can also be served with Bhature, puri, paratha or rice as I have mentioned above.

Tips & Tricks:

  • If you ever forget to soak the chole or chickpeas then you soak it in boiling hot water for 1-2 hours.
  • I highly recommend you to use freshly roasted and ground spice powder, but you can use store brought chole masala if you don’t have time to make it.
  • If you don’t have dry awla or teabag then take 2 teaspoon of tea leaf in a muslin cloth tie it well then use, awla powder can also be used instead of dry awla. But if you don’t like dark color chole then just skip dry awla and teabags.
  • Spiciness and sourness of chole can be adjusted according to your taste.
  • You can adjust the thickness of gravy by adding some water to make the gravy thinner, however you can mash some chole and mix to make the gravy thick.
  • You can store leftover Chole in refrigerator for 1-2 days.

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