Amritsari Chole/Chhole/Chholey

Chholey have always got an unchanging strong hold of their place in meal menu of any party you say, big or small. Amritsari Chholey is one of the ace delicacies of Punjabi Cuisine. It has got delectable spiceful flavor with equally tempting dark texture. Many of the folks out there strive to get that perfect dark texture along with that authentic flavor, & even I was not apart from them. During early stint of my cooking voyage, since I started to get familiar with authenticity and typicality of any dish, I got to know the typical method of cooking Chholey, the Punjabi (Amritsari) style. Prior to it, Chholey had been prepared at home with a simpler method like any other usual curry style. The authenticity of Punjabi or Amritsari Chhole appears both in flavor, color, texture and aroma. Boiling chickpeas(chholey chana) in presence of tea bag and skipping turmeric help in acquiring that dark-colored texture along with other supplementary ingredients. Usage of the specific freshly ground spices’ mixture, provides authenticity in flavor.Amritsari Chole/Chholey

In Punjabi Masaledar Chholey I adopted a different hassle-free method to cook chhole. Here in Amritsari Chholey also, the method is also hassle-free and not so complicated but a slight elaborated. In earlier’s method of cooking, the distinctive and special preparation of cooking method was lying in the specific purée prepared. While in latter i.e Amritsari Chole the distinctive preparation is the fresh spice which is called chholey chana masala that has been freshly prepared by grinding different whole spices. Not only this but other ingredients are also no less & have full contribution in giving a Perfect Amritsari Chholey.

As both kinds of Chholey are from Punjab thus both are not very much different in flavor, just the difference lies in cooking method and slight difference in texture and color.Amritsari Chole/Chholey with Pan Naan

Though Chholey have inseparable bond with bhature/Bhaturas but Amritsari Chholey finds a perfect bond with crunchy Amritsari kulcche. It also pairs up perfect with bhatura or naan.

Let’s check out the recipe of Amritsari Chole to get one authentic serving of Amritsari Chholey.


Time Taken- For Preparation- 12 hrs or 6 hrs min

For Cooking- 35 min


Category- Main- Course (Curry- Side Dish)



Chickpeas/Chholey Chana/Kabuli Chana- 2 cups (soaked overnight or for 6 hrs in warm water)

Tomatoes- 2 medium (in purée)

Onions- 3 large (paste)

Red Chilli Powder- 1½ tsp (generous)

Ginger Paste- 2 tsp

Green Cardamoms- 7

Bay leaves- 2

Anardana Powder- 2 tsp

Fennel Powder-1½ tsp

Roasted Cumin Powder- 2 tsp

Garam Masala Powder- 1 tsp (generous)

Black tea-1 tsp

Salt-to taste

Oil- 4 tbsp

Spices to Grind

Coriander seeds- 2 tsp (generous)

Cinnamon- 1”

Cloves- 7

Black Peppercorns-12

Black Cardamoms-2+2

Cumin Seeds- 2 tsp

To Garnish

Coriander leaves

Onion Rings

Lemon wedge

Steps to follow-

  1. Boil Chickpeas in enough water having 1 tsp of tea and 2 black cardamoms(out of 4) tied up in a muslin cloth, until tender. If cooking in pressure cooker, boil for 5 whistles.
  2. Meanwhile dry roast all spices under “spices to grind” and then grind them finely. Sieve them through or discard left bit-pieces of spices, if any. Put it aside.
  3. Then after drain the boiled chickpeas, remove tied bag, untie it, discard tea and keep cardamoms to reuse later in cooking method, if you want. Keep drained chickpeas aside.
  4. Heat oil in a deep pan/ pressure cooker. Put in bay leaves, green cardamoms, those drained out black cardamoms and sauté until nice aroma starts leaving out of them
  5. Add in onion paste and sauté until it starts caramelizing.
  6. Mix in ginger paste & freshly ground spices mixture and sauté for 1-2 min.
  7. Now add tomato purée followed by red chilli powder, anardana powder, fennel powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder. Stir cook until done or spices start leaving oil.
  8. Throw in drained chickpeas with some salt as per taste and stir well to coat chickpeas with whole spices mixture.
  9. Pour in 2 ½ cups of water and leave it to cook until gravy thickens as per your desired consistency or pressure cook for another 2 whistles. If you want dried coat-y consistency of gravy, add only 1 or 1½  cups of water & let it cook to desired thickened gravy.
  10. Serve hot garnished with onion rings and coriander. Relish with Amritsari Kulchas (or Bhatura/Naan).Amritsari Chole/Chholey with Pan Naan

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