Spicy Amritsari chhole (Chickpeas curry made the Amritsari way)

Spicy Amritsari chhole (Chickpeas curry made the Amritsari way)

I just love chhole (chickpea curry). I have been having this dark-coloured spicy gravy since childhood and it is my absolute favorite. I remember my mother making it usually by late evening. We would have it as a snack – a bowl of chhole topped with chopped onions and coriander leaves with a sprinkling of lemon juice along with toasted bread. Then these same chhole would be cherished for dinner along with steamed basmati rice. Heavenly!

This takes a little time to cook but if you have the ingredients ready and at hand, it is quite easy actually. Always make more quantity if everyone in your house loves it. I make half kg. of raw chickpeas into a gravy. Yep, that is a lot of quantity but it is eaten in a jiffy. Here’s my recipe. You can reduce the quantities proportionately if you cook with lesser quantity.


½ Kg. raw chickpeas (washed and soaked in adequate water overnight or for at least 8 hours)

For the ingredients to be put while boiling chickpeas:

Whole spices: 1 large bay leaf, 10-12 whole black pepper, 5-6 cloves, 2 small cinnamon sticks

Tea liquor: I take 1 cup water and boil 2 tsps. of tea leaves in it. Then strain this liquor and use it. You may use tea bags or tie tea leaves in a muslin cloth. Do whatever works for you.

Salt to taste (2-3 tsp.)

For the curry:

3 medium onions sliced

2 tsp. ginger paste

4-5 ripe large tomatoes

3 green chillies (reduce if you want less heat)

3 tsp. oil

3 tsp. chhole masala or garam masala powder ( You can make your own. I bought some from Amritsar, and it is really wonderful)

3 tsp. coriander powder

3 tsp. roasted cumin powder

3 tsp. pomegranate seeds (anardana) powder

Salt to taste

For garnish:

Chopped onion, coriander and lemon slices


Chickpeas soaked in water overnight
Chickpeas in pressure cooker for boiling

Use a pressure cooker to cook the chickpeas. It is faster and easier. Put in all the ingredients mentioned above for addition while boiling chickpeas. Put in 3 cups water and cook for 7-8 whistles till the chickpeas are cooked yet retain their shape. Don’t allow them to get mushy.

Masala for gravy being sauteed

To make the gravy, take oil in a kadhai/wok. Heat it. Now add chopped onions and fry for a bit till they turn golden. Add ginger paste and fry for a couple of minutes more. Now tip in the tomatoes and green chillies and cook till everything is squishy.

Chickpeas being cooked with blended masala paste and dry masalas.

I prefer smooth gravy so I blend this masala. Add this curry paste to the cooked chhole with the dark liquor. Add in all the dry masala powders. Cook and simmer for about 10 minutes. Smash some chickpeas with the back of the ladle to make the gravy thicker.

Amristsari chhole ready to be eaten

Taste and adjust seasoning as per taste. I prefer watery gravy that goes well with steamed basmati rice. If you are having with puris or naan, you can make it thicker. Enjoy your tangy spicy, absolutely  delightful Amritsari chhole.

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15 thoughts on “Spicy Amritsari chhole (Chickpeas curry made the Amritsari way)

  1. I love drinking the chhole waala paani that is left after you pressure cook the chhole..

    Mom makes wonderful chhole.. We don’t get very good chhole where I live, so I binge on Chhole Kulche whenever I go to Jaipur

    1. Really? But it makes sense because that paani is so totally yummy. I guess all moms make chhole well. You must try making them yourself. I prefer homemade chhole unless I am in Amritsar :). In Bangalore, there is Anand Sweets which makes authentic chhole puris, Punjabi style. Those are yummy.

      1. We have a Dera Amtrisari restaurant in Baroda now, and they make pretty good chhole.. I did make chhole once, it was unfortunately not as good as what I am used to eating..

  2. I love chhole…It was occasionally made in my house while growing up since ours was a completely Bengali non-veg household…But when I went to study in Gorakhpur I came to know about chhole, rajma, matar dal and kadhi and I fell in love with the dishes…And then ofcourse S…!! I find it really easy to make these provided I have soaked them..never tried the tea for the colour, will do it next time for sure…I make my own garam masala too, grind the ingredients I mean as taught by my mother and that smells really good sprinkled on top … Again you made me hungry. I’m going to cook it tomorrow 😀

    Oh and do you have any special tips for UP style Teheri…If yes please share the recipe Rachna…I tried but can never get it right!

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