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  • Writer's pictureSheetal Jandial

Pindi Chole, with a twist

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

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Traditional / authentic pindi chole are made using anardana (dried pomegranate seeds), for a bit of tang & flavour – no tomatoes. I twisted the recipe a little and added a couple of tablespoons of yoghurt, cooked down completely to add texture – something I picked from the Madra Rajma recipe of Chamba (Himachal Pradesh).

**Even though this may be a lengthy recipe to read, it IS a simple one to work with :)

To make a vegan version of this recipe of Pindi Chole, add vegan yoghurt or simply skip the yoghurt and use tomatoes instead.

If you like using chickpeas in your kitchen, here are a few more Chickpeas Recipes for you to try.

Chole Masala (the Punjabi version)

Chickpeas Biryani (not pulao!)

Vegetarian / Vegan Shami Kebabs (the tagged recipe uses black eyed beans, replace those with chickpeas)

Like Indian Curries? Get more recipes here! These are simple, home-style curries, everyday Indian food.

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Serves: 4

Time taken

Soaking: 4 – 5 hours / overnight

Prep: 20 – 25 minutes

Cooking: 25 – 30 minutes

Ingredients to make Pindi Chole

Part 1: soaking chole

1½ cups white / kabuli chana (chickpeas / garbanzo beans)

¼ cup chana dal (split chickpeas)

3 cups water – for soaking

Part 2: boiling chole

2 tsp cooking oil, preferably cold-pressed (kachi ghani) mustard oil

½ tsp carom seeds / ajwain

5 – 6 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

1 inch piece of ginger – finely chopped

½ stick cinnamon / dalchini

1 black cardamom / badi elaichi

1 star anise / chakri phool

4 – 5 cloves / laung

8 – 9 peppercorns / kali mirch

1 bay leaf / tej patta

¼ tsp asafoetida / hing

2 large onions – roughly chopped

Soaked chickpeas + water

1 cup of tea leaves water (1 tsp black tea leaves brewed in 1 cup of water)

Salt to taste

Part 3: making of Pindi Chole

2 tbsp cooking oil, preferably cold-pressed (kachi ghani) mustard oil

Boiled chole / chickpeas

2 tbsp anardana powder /dried pomegranate seeds powder

½ tsp caraway seeds / shahi jeera

½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera

½ tsp carom seeds / ajwain

¼ tsp asafoetida / hing

½ tsp amchur powder (dried mango powder)

3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

½ inch piece of ginger – finely chopped

3 – 4 green chillies – slit (or as per taste)

2 tbsp yoghurt

1 tsp homemade garam masala – adjust to your taste

½ tsp chole masala – adjust to your taste

Salt – as per taste

Method of making Pindi Chole

Part 1: soaking chole

Soak kabuli chana for at least 5 - 6 hours, preferably overnight.

An hour before cooking, add chana dal to the soaked kabuli chana, continue the soaking process.

If you're short of time, simply soak the chickpeas in warm water for a couple of hours. Add a pinch of baking soda to the water to soften the chickpeas sooner.

Part 2: boiling chole

Add 2 tsp cooking oil to a pressure cooker. In case using cold pressed mustard oil, bring the oil to smoking point, allow it to cool a bit and then add the carom seeds, ginger, garlic and whole spices. Sauté for a few seconds, till the aromatics and spices begin to release their oils & flavour.

Add onions, sauté for a couple of minutes till the onions turn translucent. Add soaked kabuli chana & dal along with the water they have been soaking in and the tea leaves water. Add salt to taste.

If you prefer not to use the chickpeas soaking liquid, add fresh water.

Now if you like, you could simply add everything to the pressure cooker at once ie. soaked chickpeas, onions, whole spices, ginger garlic and waters, without frying the aromatics as a tadka. I like to lightly fry the aromatics for better flavour.

Bring this mix to a boil and close the lid of the pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 1 whistle on high heat and then on low heat for about 12 - 15 minutes.

When pressure cooking, always let the steam settle naturally unless you think you may have overcooked your food.

The chickpeas should be cooked to a point less then al-dente, as we will be cooking them further for a few minutes in part 3.

Allow the boiled chickpeas to cool for at least half an hour – the mix should ideally be at room temperature or slightly warm before the next steps to avoid overcooking.

Strain the chickpeas & chana dal – retain the water. Remove the bay leaf, in case you wish to. Leave the other whole spices in the mix.

Part 3 – magic!

While you're waiting for the boiled chickpeas to cool, prepare the masala and you will finish your cooking process sooner.

Add 2 tbsp cooking oil to a kadhai. Again, in case using cold pressed mustard oil, bring the oil to smoking point, allow it to cool a bit and then add the anardana (dried pomegranate seeds) powder, shahi jeera, jeera, ajwain, asafoetida, amchur (dried raw mango) powder, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Sauté for a few seconds, till the aromatics and spices begin to release their oils & flavour.

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Add yoghurt. Cook the yoghurt and spices on a medium low flame, till the yoghurt is completely cooked and darker in shade – the mix should not have any white from the yoghurt left, as seen in this image. This is an important step as uncooked yoghurt will dilute the flavours.

Also cooking the yoghurt completely reduces the tang that it would add to a recipe, just in case your teeth feel sour at the thought of anardana, amchur and yoghurt in one recipe! ;)

At this point, it may look like a lot of oil in the kadhai – this recipe of Pindi Chole calls for it.

Add the boiled chickpeas and dal to the mix, no water. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the water that the chickpeas have been boiled in. We do not need more water, as this is a dry-ish recipe.

Cook the chickpeas and masala mix on medium low heat, stirring at regular intervals, till very little gravy is left.

Add garam masala & chole masala. Adjust salt to taste – go easy on the salt yet as this is still going to cook down.

Continue cooking till the oil starts to separate and the chole are almost (not completely) dry.

Garnish with ginger juliennes & chopped green chillies. Serve hot.

The perfect accompaniment to Pindi Chole are bhatura and kulcha.

Don’t forget to serve onions pickled in vinegar (sirke wale pyaz) for a couple of hours, along with!

In Northern India, Pindi Chole are always with this instant carrot and green chilli pickle.

Add a boondi raita or cucumber raita too!

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Do take a look at the other big plates & mains recipes / other recipes and simple Indian meal ideas.

Feel free to share WhiskMixStir recipe links / Indian food recipe blog with your family & friends! Remember to give credit where its due :) Pls do not publish my content, recipes and / or photos as your own.

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