Punjabi chole bhature is a dish everyone loves, you can’t eat it and remain indifferent, no way!
I’ve learned this recipe while traveling through India and, although this easy recipe is cooked and loved all over the country, I will cook it Punjabi style, North India, as that is where it originates from.
On this page, you will find the recipe for the Punjabi chole, while the bhature (bhatura) recipe can be found here, for ease of use.
Let’s talk nutrition!
Chickpeas (chole) are an incredibly nutritious ingredient to use in the kitchen, as they are rich in protein and fiber, both considered to aid weight loss when consumed as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Being a great source of fiber makes chick peas not only a great ingredient for filling full, but also for helping with digestion and controlling blood sugar.
The protein present in chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans and Kabuli chana, are a great option for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet; these legumes, being also a good source of magnesium and potassium, may help with heart health.
~~ Good to know how food is more than just a meal on a plate! Have a look at 20 Low-Calorie and Incredibly Filling Foods Quick and Easy to Prepare | How To Lose Weight Without Feeling Hungry
What is chole bhature?
Chole bhature is a popular Punjabi dish, typically served for breakfast, made of spicy chickpea curry and deep fried all purpose flour bread. This popular combination is served in almost all Indian restaurants around the world and each of them will have a slightly different Punjabi chole recipe.
How to make Punjabi chole?
Although this recipe requires quite a few spices, it is very quick to do, so it is good to have everything needed ready to go.
You want to start by flavoring the oil; although you can leave the whole spices in the curry, I find it much nicer (and easier to eat) if the oil is flavored and the whole spices removed.
To flavor the oil, warm it up in a small pot on a low flame; as soon as it is warm, add the black cardamom, black peppercorns, green cardamoms, cinnamon stick, cloves, and bay leaf (tej patta) and allow them to gently cook for about 10 minutes. At no point do you want the oil to be very hot, only warm as the spices after 10 minutes should just lightly brown, not burn.
Once the oil is flavored, you can remove the whole spices with a spoon or use a metal sieve; warm the oil on medium flame and start cooking the base for this spicy chickpea curry.
As soon as the oil is warm enough, add ajwain seeds (carom seeds), grated ginger, and chopped garlic cloves and allow to cook until the raw smell of the garlic is gone (about 30 seconds); next, add the sliced red onion and teaspoon salt, mix and cover, allowing the onion to cook until golden brown, which should take 5-7 minutes.
It is then time to add the dry spice powders: turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and some chole masala powder (or chana masala powder if preferred); mix all of the spices well and allow them to cook. The spices will be cooked once the oil starts separating and this should take about 2 minutes.
Once the spices are ready, add the fresh chopped tomato, mix well and put the lid back on the pan; allow the tomato to soften on low heat for about 5 minutes.
When the tomato is soft and the base of the curry is ready, mix it well and blend half of the curry with enough water to blend it, but not too much to make it watery (about half cup) as it makes it harder to obtain a smooth paste, then return the blended curry to the pan with the rest of the curry.
Mix well the curries together and add some warm water and as soon as this is simmering again, add the amchur powder (mango powder) and the methi leaves (fenugreek leaves); in order to make the fenugreek leaves easier to crush between the palms of your hands, warm them up in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
At this point you are ready to add the cooked chickpeas to the curry; mix well and add enough water to obtain your preferred consistency.
Allow the curry to simmer for about 10 minutes, then serve and garnish with some freshly chopped coriander leaves, ginger juliennes, a few green chillies, and lemon wedges and enjoy with bhature!
Tip: Although it is not necessary to remove the whole spices, it is much easier to eat and serve this Punjabi chole curry when these are removed.
Keep the oil on a very low flame to allow the spices to flavor the oil, without burning in it.
How to cook dried chickpeas?
In order to facilitate the cooking process, it is important to soak the dried chickpeas overnight in plenty of water.
Before cooking them, drain them well and put them in a pressure cooker; you will need about 6 to 7 cups of water for every pound (450g) of dried chickpeas you are planning to cook, so weigh the chickpeas before you put them to soak.
In the pressure cooker also add a black tea bag and some bicarbonate of soda; tea bags and soda are used in order to give moisture to the chickpeas, as they are quite dry naturally inside, and although the water will have a black color this will not make the chickpeas taste like tea.
To cook, seal the lid, and put on high heat for 12-15 minutes, then reduce to low heat for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat; allow the pressure to release naturally, which should take about 10 minutes, before removing the lid.
How to make bhature or bhatura?
You can find the step-by-step recipe here.
As my main aim is to prepare traditional recipes that maintain all of the flavors but have fewer fats and calories, my recipe calls for the soft dough made of plain flour to be cooked in very little hot oil rather than deep frying. The recipe for the bhatura dough is very simple, as it calls for semolina and sugar to give it its typical crunchy texture outside while maintaining a soft sponge inside.
If you decide to use whole wheat flour you can follow the same recipe, but you will require more water as this type of flour soaks up more liquid.
What are you waiting for? Prepare your bhature dough ball, get the rolling pin out and get rolling!
How to store Punjabi chole?
This curry can be easily stored for up to three days in the fridge; it is best practice to allow the curry to completely cool down before storing it in an airtight container. This recipe is also very easy to freeze, as you can follow the same instructions as for the fridge; before serving ensure the curry is piping hot once defrosted.
A few notes:
This breakfast dish is cooked differently in each restaurant and you won’t find two roadside eateries that prepare it the same way, so this is a basic recipe that holds all of the flavors, so here are a few notes, changes, and suggestions to help you make this dish just how you like it:
- HOT HOT HOT: This recipe makes the curry medium hot, not excessive, however, feel free to adjust the heat to your liking by increasing or reducing the quantity of red chili powder and, if liked, by adding some green chilies to the curry, after blending.
- Tomatoes: should you not have or like fresh tomatoes, you can swap this for tomato puree.
- Key ingredients: mango powder is one of the most important ingredients in this recipe and if omitted the recipe will not turn out the same. Mango powder (amchur), can be swapped for dry pomegranate powder (anardana powder) if necessary; this is made of dry pomegranate seeds that are roasted and ground.
- Chickpeas: although this recipe calls for chole, which are the lighter and larger ‘white chickpeas’, should you prefer to use chana, it will be perfectly fine. Chana, or Kala chana, is the name for the smaller chickpeas which are darker in color (Kala means black).
- Vegetables: should you wish to bulk up your curry, feel free to do so, although the traditional recipe doesn’t call for it. Good additions are potatoes and cauliflower.
This recipe has been a pleasure to work on as I got to taste it multiple times!
Enjoy it for breakfast and make sure to keep some for the next day, as the curry tastes even better!
Punjabi Chole Bhature Recipe (Chana Bhatura)
For the flavored oil:
- 1 Black Cardamom
- 7 Black Peppercorns
- 3 Green Cardamoms
- 1 piece Cinnamon about 1 inch
- 4 Cloves
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 Tbsp Sunflower Oil
For the curry:
- 1 tsp Carom Seeds Ajwain
- 2 cloves fresh Garlic thinly chopped
- 1/2 inch fresh Ginger thinly chopped
- 2 Red Onions sliced
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1 Tbsp Coriander Powder
- 1/2 Tbsp Cumin Powder
- 1 Tbsp Chole Masala I like to use Badshah
- 2 Tomatoes chopped
- 1 tsp Dry Fenugreek Leaves
- 1/2 tsp Mango Powder
- 1 tin cooked Chickpeas 240g drained
- Fresh Coriander to garnish
- Salt to taste
- Flavour the oil: on a low flame, in the pan you will ultimately cook the curry in, put the 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil and the whole spices; let this sit on the lowest flame for about 10 minutes. Note that the spices should not become dark, just golden, and release the aromas in the air. Once done, remove the whole spices from the pan.
- To the flavored oil add the ajwain, fresh ginger, and fresh garlic and sauté for a minute or so, without allowing them to brown.
- Once the smell of rawness from the ginger and garlic has gone, add the red onion and salt and allow to lightly brown.
- Once the onions are ready, add the turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and chole masala; stir well and again allow to cook for about one minute, until the spices are cooked and the oil separates from them.
- Add the fresh chopped tomato and cover the pan with a lid, allowing it to soften on a low flame.
- Once the tomato is completely cooked, take half of the mixture and blend it; this will give the curry a nice creamy consistency. Return the blended mixture to the pan with the ‘non-blended’ half and bring back to the boil.
- Put the dry fenugreek leaves on a plate or paper towel and microwave for about 10 seconds, then put in your palm and crush in the curry, then add the mango powder to the pan as well.
- Add the chickpeas to the pan and half a cup of water, mix well and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. In this step, you can adjust the quantity of water you add to the pan as needed and preferred. To serve garnish with fresh coriander.