Amritsari Chole Masale is a rich chickpea curry that is filled with earthy warm spices with a hint of tang from dry pomegranate seeds and mango powder. It's rustic and extremely comforting.
The dark shade is what makes it special, like dhaba style chole masale. With a laccha onion on the side, I often eat more than I should.
What is Chole Masale?
Chole is referred to one of the most popular North Indian side dish. We prepare it with dried garbanzo beans that are kept soaked overnight. There are various different versions of making chole.
I often make the quick version of chana masala with chickpea/garbanzo beans.
The Amritsari Chole Masale is our fav and I think I finally nailed the flavor, taste and consistency of the gravy. I had to definitely keep it low on the spice level since my kid cannot eat spicy food. Except for that, it was pretty close to dhaba style.
Ingredients for Amritsari Chole Masale
Chickpea or Garbanzo Beans - Use only dried chickpea or garbanzo beans. You want the dried chickpea to soak it all the flavors as it cooks.
Onion, Tomato, Garlic and Ginger - These are the usual typical ingredients used in most Indian dishes. You want to finely chop the onion. Do not purée it. As for the tomato, you can either purée or finely chop. You also need ginger garlic paste.
You can make this exact same dish with no onion and no garlic too.
Chana Masala Spices - Freshly prepared chana masala powder will add the best flavor to the dish as compared to the store bought. It only needs, cumin seeds, carom seeds, star anise, mace, cinnamon sticks and dried pomegranate seeds.
Other spices - Apart from this you also need, black cardamom, star anise and bay leaves when you are boiling the soaked chickpea. You also need cumin powder, chili powder, salt, turmeric and dry mango powder.
The list of spice is long, but it is this combination of these warm spices that make this chickpea curry so unique.
Some also adds dried Indian gooseberry while boiling the chickpea.
Ghee - The ghee tadka at the end is not optional in my opinion. It adds a richness and aroma to the dish. Ghee tadka with thinly sliced ginger and some sliced green chili.
Steps to prepare
1- Wash the chickpea/garbanzo beans and then soak overnight.
2- Next day boil the chickpea with brewed red tea, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and black cardamoms.
3- In the meantime, make the chana masala by adding all the spices to a pan and dry roast for a while.
4- Then cool it down before grinding to powder.
5- In a cast iron pan or pot or wok, heat oil and add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and green cardamoms. Then add onion and ginger garlic paste. Sauté for a while until it looks softened.
6- Add all the required spices, including ¾th of the chana masala powder, and stir it around.
7- Add the tomato purée and give a stir.
8- Cover the pot and let it cook until the oil separates.
9- At this stage add a little bit of the boiled chana and mash it down. This will create a thick gravy.
10- Add rest of the boiled chana.
11- Add the water from the pressure cooker and stir it around.
12 - If it looks very dry, add a bit more water.
13 - Now add mango powder, rest of the chana masala powder, dried fenugreek leaves and give a stir. Taste for salt and add more if needed.
14 - In a small pan, heat ghee, along with sliced ginger and green chili too.
15- Add the hot ghee tadka to the chola and mix it around.
16 - Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.
Enjoy warm spiced Amritsari Chole with puffed soft Bhatura.
With left over Chola Masala you can make pulao the next day, similar to how I had made Kala Chana Pulao
I will not call this dish for weeknight unless you have some free time in hand. Some dishes need that love and care for the flavor to come out.
For the dark shade of chole masala, there are two things you have to follow. You have to boil the chickpea in red tea, and you have to prepare the dish in a cast iron utensil.
You can, but it will not be as tasty as it will turn out when you cook using dried chickpea.
Both these helps to add that tangy flavor to the chole masale. If you absolutely cannot find it, then you can use lemon juice while serving.
Have you tried these delicious North Indian dishes?
Amritsari Chole Masale
To boil Chickpea
- 1 and ½ cups Chickpea (Soaked overnight)
- 2 tablespoon Black tea leaves
- 2 and ½ cups water
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 Black Cardamom
- 1 Small Cinnamon Stick
Chana Masala Powder
- 1 Tbsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon Carom Seeds
- 1 Star Anise
- 1 Small Cinnamon Stick
- 1 Whole Mace Spice
- 2 tablespoon Dried Pomegranate Seeds
To prepare the Chole Masale
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1 and ½ Inch Fresh ginger
- 1 Medium Size Red Onion (Finely chopped )
- 2 tablespoon Oil
- 1 Small Cinnamon stick
- 3 Green Cardamoms
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 Tbsp Chili powder
- 1 Tomato (Pureed)
- 1 Tbsp Dried Mango Powder
- 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek leaves
- Cilantro leaves for garlic
- Few slit green chili to add in tadka if you want spicy
- 2 tablespoon Ghee
Boil the Chickpea
- Wash and soak the chickpea overnight
- In a pan, add 2 and ½ cup water along with the tea leaves and let it brew for few minutes.
- Add the strained chickpea in an electric pressure cooker and add bay leaves, cinnamon stick and black cardamom. Strain the tea to the chickpea and pressure-cook it for 35 minutes.
Fresh Spice Powder
- In a pan add all the spices mentioned and roast it for few seconds. Let it cool down a little and then grind to powder.
Preparing The Chole Masale
- Thinly slice half of the ginger and keep aside. Grind the garlic and remaining of the ginger to a paste.
- Heat a cast iron pot or pan and pour the oil. Once the oil heats up, add the cinnamon stick, cumin seeds and green cardamoms.
- Add the chopped onion, salt to taste and ginger garlic paste. Sauté for a few minutes.
- Sprinkle cumin powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, and ¾th of the spice powder. Stir around to mix everything.
- Add the tomato purée and mix again. Cover the pan and let the spice cook until the oil separates. It will take roughly 5 minutes.
- Add a little bit of the cooked chickpea and mash it to the onion masala. This will create a thick gravy.
- Finally, add the rest of the boiled chickpea along with the water. Stir it around. Taste for salt and add more if needed.
- At the end, sprinkle the remaining fresh spice powder, dry mango powder, and dried fenugreek leaves. Stir it around and keep the pan covered for 10 minutes.
- Heat ghee in the pan, add sliced ginger and sliced green chili. Let it sizzle for a while and then pour it on the Amritsari Chole Masale.