Amrisari Chole | Chickpea Dark Masala

September 2020

Amritsari Chole Masala is an authentic dark chole curry that is different from the regular channa Masala. It’s usually paired with Amritsari kulcha, bhatura, roti or rice and is a hearty, vegan, gluten free one pot meal perfect with rice or rotis or just chilli style.

Amritsar is dream destination for any foodie, where ghee, butter and cream are the star performers. Amritsari Chole Kulcha and channa are the most popular street food and especially in most dhabas, or roadside eateries.

Amrisari channa masala is different from regular channa masala in it’s deep brownish color and the masala that is used in it. How does it get its deep color? because chickpeas are boiled along with black tea. The tea when boiled with the channa gives it nice color and distinct flavor. I typically use the tea bags which are easy to pick out after channa is cooked. If you don’t have tea bags, you can tie a teaspoon of tea in a muslin cloth, and add it to the chickpeas while cooking.

The next thing special in this recipe is the masala powder. Ready made chana masala powder works fine with the recipe but I made my own masala powder which adds to the aroma of the recipe. Coriander seeds, Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Black pepper corns, Cloves, Cinnamon and white pepper corns is all you need for a flavorful masala. You can also replace white pepper corn with red chillis.

Traditionally the gravy is made with coarsely minced onion-tomato sautéd in pure homemade ghee. The flavors of homemade chole masala adds to the dish. It’s popularly served with hot bhaturas. Ghee can be easily replaced with regular vegetable oil for the Vegan version, which is how I prepared this dish. Also I tried making my bhaturas and they turned out pretty amazing, puffy, soft and crispy 🙂

Note: I added a bit of Mustard oil the last time I prepared this and it gave a nice pungent flavor to the dish. It’s optional and can be skipped.

Amritsari Chole Masala | Chickpea Dark Curry

Amritsari Chole Masala is an authentic Punjabi style dark chole curry recipe that is paired with Amritsari kulcha, bhatura or roti.
Course Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Chole
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author ramyaanagu


  • Instant Pot Mini
  • Pressure Cooker


For Channa preparation

  • 2.5 cups dried chickpeas soaked overnight or 4-6 hours
  • 3-4 Tbsp oil
  • 2 nos mini potatoes
  • 2 nos black tea bags regular black tea bags
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder divided
  • Salt to taste

for the chickpea gravy

  • 1 tsp Funnel seeds
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 tsp ginger grated
  • 1 large or 2 medium sized red onions finely chopped
  • 4 to matoes finely chopped
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp pomegranate powder

Fresh Masala Powder

  • 3 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 pods Cardamom
  • 2 tsp Black pepper corns
  • 1/2 tsp Cloves
  • 3-4 small piece Cinnamon –
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper corns

for garnish

  • Fresh coriander chopped
  • Fried green chilis


Cooking Chole/Channa/Chickpea

  • Wash and soak chickpea for 4-6 hrs. Do not discard soaked water, use it to cook the and the chickpeas.
  • I used my Instant-pot in Bean/Chilli mode for cooking the chickpeas. It takes about 40 minutes + 20 minute cool down time. It is fool-proof method and I usually prefer to cook it this way.
  • Add turmeric powder, 2 teabags, small potatoes, salt and cook it until done.
  • If you are using a pressure cooker,add the chickpeas, 4-5 cups of water, tea bags, 1 tsp turmeric powder and salt. Pressure cook the chickpeas for 4-5 whistles or until done.
  • Let the pressure release naturally. Open and remove and discard the tea bags. You will notice the channa/chole has a nice dark brown color.

Chole Gravy

  • While pressure cooking the chickpeas, start making the gravy in another pan.
  • Dry roast all the ingredients on the Masala list and ground to a fine powder. This in my opinion adds a lot of flavor to the do not skip it if you can.
  • In a heavy bottom pan heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil in a pan. I usually use my Cast Iron wok.
  • Add the funnel seeds and when the seeds start to sputter, add slit green chilies. Remove chilies when its fried. I use it as garnish ( this is optional)
  • ginger and garlic. Sauté for a minute, to flavor the oil.
  • Add the chopped onions. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, till the onions start to turn brown. Add the puréed tomatoes, salt, sugar, all the spices and pomegranate seeds water. Mix well and cook covered for 5 minutes.
  • Add the cooked chickpeas along with the water they are cooked in to the gravy and simmer on low for 15 minutes till the gravy is thick.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and julienne ginger. Amritsari chole go best with kulcha or bhature but you can serve them with any of the flat Indian breads or basmati rice.
 January 2020

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