Mamta's Kitchen

Chickpea Masala in a Spicy Sauce (Pindi Chole) - 2

Chana Masala or Chatpate Chole or Pindi Chole - 2

Mamta Gupta

This is a dry and spicy dish traditionally, a part of the Chat Selection'chat street food of north India'. It does not have turmeric. To give it it's authentic dark colour, you can add a tsp. tea leaves tied in muslin while boiling. It can also be served as a vegetarian curry. It can be, and often is, served as part of a meal, when it has a little more gravy or sauce. Serves 4-6

Edited February 2019


  • To boil chick peas (or use tinned, pre-boiled chickpeas:

  • 250 gm. chick peas /Kabuli chana

  • 1/4 tsp. or a large pinch of soda-bicarbonate

  • Water

  • Whole spices*

  • 1 inch piece cinnamon stick or dalchini*

  • 2 bay leaves or tej-patta*

  • 2 large cardamoms or illaichi*

  • 5-6 cloves*

  • 8-10 black peppers*

  • 1 tea bag *(to give brown colour to this dish)

  • *You can tie all these in a small piece of muslin or old handkerchief, if you don't want to pick them from your plate.

  • 2-3 medium sized potatoes (optional) boiled, peeled and cut into cubes

  • 2 tbsp. ghee or cooking oil, you can use less if you like

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • 2 medium sized onions, finely chopped or grated

  • 1-1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, grated (optional)

  • 2-3 medium tomatoes, cut into small pieces or use tinned tomatoes

  • 2 tsp. coriander powder or dhania*

  • 1/4 tsp. red chilli powder (to taste)*

  • 1-1 1/2 tsp. amchoor* (dry mango powder) or ground anardana (ground pomegranate seeds). You can also use tamarind paste instead, I often do. If you cant find any these, use lemon juice.

  • Salt to taste

  • 1/2 -1 tsp. Garam Masala.

  • **You can use ready-made Chana Masala instead of all these ground spices or at least replace half of these spices with Chana Masala Mix. It gives the dish a nice, professional taste. In fact, most professional cooks do. A Chaat Wallah in India once to

  • Garnish:

  • Green coriander leave finely chopped

  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped

  • 1 lemon or lime, cut into wedges

  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced


  1. Wash and soak chick peas overnight or for a few hours.

  2. Place chickpeas, 5 cups of water and all the whole spices and tea bag in muslin in a pan and boil until tender. This may take a couple hours. You may need to add more water during boiling. It is quicker to boil them in a pressure cooker for 15-20 minutes, under full pressure.

  3. Drain water and keep the water aside, in case you need to add some to the gravy later.

  4. Remove the pouch containing whole spices + tea bag.

  5. Heat ghee or oil.

  6. Add cumin seeds and allow to splutter.

  7. Add onions, ginger and garlic and fry until medium to dark brown (this dish can be made without onions and garlic, in which case, just add ginger and fry for a few seconds).

  8. Add coriander powder, chilli powder, amchoor and salt (or chana masala mix). If using ready Chola/Chana mix, reduce the spices by half and add 2 tsp. of Chana mix here. Fry for 5-10 seconds only. You must not burn the spices.

  9. Add tomatoes and fry until oil separates.

  10. Add boiled and drained chick peas and potato cubes and stir fry to coat with spices. Add 1/2 cup water from the previously saved water, more if too dry. This dish should be moist but without gravy, with a 'clingy' sauce.

  11. Add garam masala and stir it in well.

  12. Garnish with coriander leaves, sliced onions, chopped green chillies and a wedge of lemon per person.

  13. Serve hot with Kulcha bread or Bhatura or Chapatties or Nan or Tandoori Roti .

  14. Like many dals, when it is made in advance and reheated later, it dries up and needs addition of a little water during heating.


  • You can use tinned boiled chick peas in brine, saving time taken in boiling the chick peas. When using pre-boiled chick peas, add the whole spices (cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf)when you add the cumin seeds to the hot oil.

  • **Ready made chana masala mix ingredients: Coriander , Salt , Dry Mango , Pomegranate Seeds , Chilli , Cumin , Musk Melon , Black Pepper , Black Salt , Fenugreek Leaves , Cloves , Mint , Nutmeg , Dry Ginger , Cinnamon , Bay Leaf , Cardamom Ammomum Seeds , Caraway , Mace

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