Amritsari chole is the most popular North Indian curry recipe made with chickpeas and other spices. It is quite different from the normal chole masala and has its own unique taste.
I usually love chickpeas curries. But, I haven’t tasted Amritsari chole before my marriage. The first time I tasted it was when I made it. And guess what my first thought would be? Why didn’t I know about this before my marriage? If I had known I would have asked my mom to prepare it for me and I would’ve relished it often. So, what makes it different from the other curries? Well, I can tell a lot of differences, but mainly the taste and color of the dish is different from the normal chole masala.
Amritsari chole has a deep brown color. So, you might ask me how this is achieved? For this deep color, black tea is used while cooking the chana or instead you can use tea bags or tie some tea powder in a muslin cloth like a potli and immerse in the water used to pressure cook chana. The next difference is its taste. Amritsari chole gets its unique taste from the use of anardhana powder (or dry pomegranate seeds powder). Mostly, anardhana powder is readily available in the market. If not, you can replace it with amchur powder (or dry mango powder).
On top of all these, a good chole masala powder makes the difference. This is also readily available in the market. You can use homemade powder too for which I will post the recipe soon. For this recipe, I have used previously made chole masala powder. You can store the powder for 6 months or even a year when refrigerated. Be careful not to put anything wet inside the powder. Now, this may reduce its shelf life. Amritsari chole tastes great with butter naan or any naan variety, bhature, lachha parathas, poori, kulche, jeera rice. Serve along with some chili vinegared onions and seasoned curd for an awesome meal.
We now have the recipe for an authentic Amritsari chole on day-7 of the No Veggies, 21-Day Lockdown Series. Let’s get started. Have a healthy meal with your family. Stay safe, stay healthy! Happy cooking and eating!
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- 1 heaped cup chickpeas / white chana
- 3 tsp tea powder
- 1.5 cups water
To cook the chana
- 2 – 2 inch sticks cinnamon
- 2 black cardamom / badi elaichi
- 4 green cardamom
- 7-8 cloves
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1/8 tsp whole black pepper
- 1/4 tsp carom seeds / ajwain
- 5-6 cloves garlic, cut lengthwise
- 1 star anise
- salt, to taste
For the chole masala
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1+1 tbsp ghee
- 1 2-inch piece ginger, julienned
- 3 green chilies, julienned
- 1 large onion, ground to a paste
- 1 tbsp ginger-garlic-green chili paste
- 3 ripe tomatoes, pureed
- 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp red chili powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp amchur powder
- 1 tsp anardhana powder
- 2 tbsp chole masala powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp kasuri methi
- handful of coriander leaves
- Wash and soak dry white chana in enough water for a minimum of 5-6 hours or overnight.
- Discard the water and transfer the soaked chickpeas to a pressure cooker.
- Boil 1.5 cups of water along with 3 tsp of tea powder in a pot.
- Strain the black tea using a strainer to the pressure cooker and add all the ingredients mentioned under 'To cook the chana' to the chana.
- Add salt as per taste, 2 cups of water and close the lid. Pressure cook the chana for 4-5 whistles or until thoroughly cooked. Let the pressure settle naturally.
- Meanwhile, cut the ginger and green chili as shown in the picture. Grind the onions to a smooth paste and puree the tomatoes.
- To a heavy-bottomed vessel, add 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp ghee and let it heat.
- When the oil is hot, add half of the julienned ginger and green chili. Reserve the other half of both for a final tadka. Fry them for 30 seconds.
- Add the onion paste and cook until it changes color.
- Add the ginger-garlic-green chili paste and cook until the raw smell disappears. Cook until the onion paste starts to brown.
- Add the pureed tomatoes and mix well. Cook for a minute.
- Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, amchur powder, anardhana powder and chole masala powder to the onion-tomato mixture. Cook until oil separates.
- Add some water to this mixture if it becomes very dry.
- Add the pressure-cooked chana along with the spices and the water to the onion-tomato mixture. Mix well and let it come to a boil.
- Now, add the garam masala, kasuri methi and the coriander leaves and check for salt. Let the curry simmer until the desired consistency of gravy is achieved. Switch off the stove.
- In a tadka pan, add 1 tbsp ghee and add the reserved ginger and green chilies. Let it fry. Add this tadka to the chole masala before serving.
- Serve Amritsari chole with butter naan or paratha or rice.
- Soak the chana for a minimum of 5-6 hours.
- You can add tea bags directly in the pressure cooker instead of making black tea.
- The whole spices used when cooking the chana can be discarded if not needed. I did not discard it.
- The amount of green chili can be altered as per taste.
- If you do not have anardhana powder, then replace with amchur powder or simply neglect it. The taste will differ slightly.
- While cooking the onion paste, add some water if it becomes too dry.
- Usually, the curry is served very thick. But, you can always alter the consistency of the curry as per taste.