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Chole Chana Masala
Chana Masala (Chole Chana Masala), a delicious chana curry from Punjabi cuisine is popular in all over India. A spicy and tempting curry is prepared from white chickpeas (kabuli chana), tomatoes, onion and basic Indian spices and best enjoyed with bhatura (deep fried puffed Indian bread) as evening snack or dinner. In this recipe, channa are boiled with tea powder to get darken color and fresh chhole masala powder is prepared to get restaurant style flavor. Learn how to make this delicious curry at your home with this easy step by step recipe.
Preparation Time: 8 hours
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2 servings
1/2 cup White Chick Peas (garbanzo beans/kabuli chana)
1 teaspoon Tea Powder or Tea Leaves or (1-2 teabags)
2 Red Ripe Tomatoes, chopped
1 large Onion, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 Green Chilli, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
3 tablespoons Cooking Oil
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped Coriander Leaves
For Dry Masala
1 small piece of Bay Leaf
1 Black Cardamom
1 tablespoon Coriander Seeds
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
4-5 Black Peppercorns
1 Dry Red Chilli
2 Cloves (lavang)
1-inch piece of Cinnamon
  1. Soak white chickpeas in water overnight or for around 8-10 hours.
  2. Tie 1 teaspoon tea leaves in a plain muslin cloth. Tied tea leaves used for enhancing the color and flavor of chana. You can also use tea bags in place of tea leaves.
  3. Pressure cook soaked white chickpeas with a tied tea leaves pouch, enough water and salt in a 3-liter capacity steel/aluminum pressure cooker over medium flame. After 4-5 whistles, turn off the flame and let the pressure comes down naturally. Do not open the lid immediately to cook the chana perfectly. Open the lid and remove tied tea leaves pouch. Drain the excess water from boiled chickpeas in a large bowl. Keep the drained water to use later in the recipe. If pressure cooker is not available, you can also use a deep pan to boil chickpeas but it would take more time to cook.
  4. Dry roast bay leaf, black cardamom, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, dry red chilli, cloves and cinnamon in a pan until nice aroma starts or for around 1-minute over low flame. Let them cool for a while and then grind them in a small jar of a mixer grinder to make smooth dry punjabi masala powder.
  5. Mash 2 tablespoons boiled chickpeas with backside of a large spoon or grind in a grinder to make a medium coarse paste. Grind tomatoes in a mixer grinder to make tomato puree.
  6. Heat 3-tablespoons cooking oil in a kadai or pan over medium flame. Add chopped onion and sauté until it turns light brown or for approx. 1-2 minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste and chopped green chilli. Mix well and cook for 30 seconds.
  7. Add tomato puree and salt (only for tomato puree because we have already added salt while boiling white chickpeas). Cook on medium flame until oil starts to separate, around 4-5 minutes. Stir it in between occasionally to prevent sticking.
  8. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and dry masala powder (prepared in step-4).
  9. Mix well and sauté for a minute.
  10. Add boiled chickpeas, mashed chickpeas and 1-cup water (preserved drained water of boiled chickpeas), mix well.
  11. Cook until gravy becomes thick, it will take around 4-5 minutes. Turn off the flame. Transfer white chana masala curry to a serving bowl and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve it hot with bhatura or steamed rice.
Tips and Variations:
  • If pressure cooker is not available, you can also use a deep pan to boil chickpeas but it would take more time to cook.
  • If you want to use canned chickpeas then drain the excess water from canned chickpeas and skip step-1 to step-3 in the above recipe. No need to boil canned chickpeas. Do not use drained canned water in the recipe.
  • You can also use ready-made chhole masala powder (around 1 teaspoon) instead of homemade fresh punjabi chhole masala powder in this recipe.
  • Adjust the amount of water in step-10 to make thick or thin gravy.
  • You can use the same gravy for any legumes like moong beans, lobia beans, rajma etc.
  • If you do not have enough time to soak chickpeas, then soak them in hot water for 3-4 hours.
Taste: Spicy
Serving Ideas: Serve spicy Punjabi chole masala with bhatura or plain paratha and onion tomato salad. You can also serve it with jeera rice and masala papad.

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