Punjabi Chhole (A chickpea dish to die for)

You all are going to love this for 4 reasons:

  1. It was one of the first Indian dishes I ever made, which means that it is EASY!
  2. It can be made in 30 minutes flat!
  3. It tastes delicious.
  4. It tastes even better on the second day. Or the third day. Or the fourth day. Well…if it lasts that long!

This is one of maybe three dishes that Frank requests on a regular basis. Sometimes he’ll even have us make this and he’ll NOT eat it on the first day just so there’s more to eat on day 2, when it has marinated in all the spices and juice for a while.

“Punjabi Chhole” basically just means “Indian Chickpeas.” There are a zillion recipes for Punjabi Chhole, and there are other chickpea dishes, like Chana Masala, which are also delicious but totally different in taste and texture.

This one is our favorite.

First, dice 1 large ONION, 2-3 TOMATOES, and 1 GREEN PEPPER, plus 1/4 c. fresh GINGER minced. Reserve 1 tomato off to the side, and throw the rest of the ingredients into your skillet with 1/4 cup COCONUT OIL OR OLIVE OIL. Simmer for 5-8 minutes on medium heat. The goal is to create a nice juice from the tomatoes for the onion and pepper to simmer in. But ultimately you want the tomato juice to reduce down. You don’t want it to be “soupy” because if it’s too juicy and you add your spices, they won’t stick to your chickpeas.

In case you’re wondering what the yellow/orange is, it’s just a different type of tomato I got at the farmer’s market!

Next, add your spices. You’re going to need the following:

Punjabi Chhole | The Polivka Family
Things not in picture: 1 large onion, 1 green pepper, 1 tomato that was already chopped up when I took this.

  • 2 tsp ground cumin (buy here)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander (buy here)
  • 2 tsp amchur powder, i.e. dried green mango powder (buy here)
  • 1 tsp black salt – NOTE: Black salt is actually a pale pink color. (buy here)
  • 1 tsp anardana (pomegranate) powder (buy here)
  • 1 TBSP ginger powder (if you don’t have fresh ginger)
  • 1-1/2 tsp mustard seeds, crushed (buy here)
  • 1 tsp black pepper (buy here)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (buy here)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (buy here)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, medium heat (buy here)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (buy here)

Punjabi Chhole | The Polivka Family

Stir in all the spices. If the mixture seems too dry, add a touch more oil or tomato.

Punjabi Chhole | The Polivka Family

Next, add 4 CANS CHICKPEAS, drained and a bunch of chopped CILANTRO.

Punjabi Chhole | The Polivka Family

Simmer until this gets really juicy, adding in the 1 tomato you reserved from the beginning. Keep simmering until this last tomato is heated through. I usually let it simmer, covered, for 5 or so minutes to let everything meld together.

Punjabi Chhole (A chickpea dish to die for)

This is still not super cooked down yet, as you can see the chickpeas aren’t sitting in a rich juice yet. You really want those tomatoes to cook down so you can see the juice bubbling.

After you deem the dish to be ready, serve over hot rice or with naan. Sometimes, Frank and I will even eat it as a dip with organic tortilla chips. Yum! Are you salivating yet?

Punjabi Chhole (A chickpea dish to die for)


  1. Purist says

    Looks yummy. However, this isn’t Punjabi chole; it’s more of a veggie chana masala since chole doesn’t usually contains green/yellow/ red peppers

    We usually have a fairly thick sauce derived from grinding the onions, garlic, tomatoes and ginger, and we let the chickpeas stew in it for a while–till their skins separate, ideally (helps with digestion).

  2. Shawna says

    Do you really use canned chickpeas? What brand? I thought canned was a little bit of a no-no. I haven’t found a way to soak chickpeas yet that matches the consistency of canned though.

    • says

      Yup. Sure do. Haven’t gotten around to soaking and cooking my own beans yet because we eat them so very very infrequently. We eat beans maybe once every 2-3 months?? Not a lot at all. So I don’t worry about it. I think Eden brand is BPA-free. I always buy organic.

  3. says

    It has taken me some time to post a comment on this receipe, but here we go!

    Courtney is right – this is a super easy dish to make. As someone who is still finding her way around a kitchen and also parenting an active five-month-old bouncing baby boy, uncomplicated receipes are important to me! All the ingredients were easily purchased from my grocery store, and I bought a package of spices from Courtney (who was very pleasant, friendly, and quick to ship them to me!!).

    The end result was a yummy meal that lasted us several days, and truly does get better and better each day. I had it for meals and also found myself snacking on it, too. Highly recommend!

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