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Pindi Chana/Pindi Chole

Pindi Chana/Pindi Chole

This recipe originated in Rawalpindi in Pakistan and hence the name.It is different from the normal Chole Masala in the sense that the way of preparation and spices are different.You will see that the chickpeas appear a little different in this recipe than the other recipes.


Pindi Chana….

A very important thing to note here is that the original recipe invented in the 1900’s did not have readymade ingredients and relied on authentic spices for the preparation.However these days owing to the fact that whole spices are available in rarity and can be got in mixed or powdered forms we use those and the same “Zaika” or taste can be achieved for the same.Here are a few points we need to know for making the recipe:

  • This recipe uses plain tea leaves to get the lovely dark color on the chickpeas.Use the normal tea bags available in the market(NOT the flavoured ones like Orange or Lemon).If you do not have tea bags then take a small piece of muslin cloth(jaalidaar kapda) or a handkerchief and place 1 tbsp loose tea leaves inside.Securely tie up the handkerchief or better still stitch it to prevent the tea leaves from dropping out.
  • Use raw chickpeas if possible as when you boil them with the tea leaves the colour will come on beautifully and you will be left with dark tinted chickpeas.I have used a few pieces of dry Amla(Indian Gooseberries) but its ok if you cannot get hold of them.
  • The typical Chole Masala you get in the market has a multitude of spices and this is going to make the preparation a lot easier especially for spices like Anardana(dried Pomegranate seed) and Shahi Jeera(Black Cumin) which are not easily available in the market.
  • The Pindi Chana can be preserved in the refrigerator and has a life of 1 week if properly stored.In 4-5 days it tastes absolutely delicious as the spices have amalgamated into the Chana and have merged their wonderful aromas and favours.
  • If you have to make the recipe in a short duration with no extra time remaining then soak the raw chickpeas in boiling hot water in a covered container for 5-6 hours.
  • In case you are using canned chickpeas then extract the dark liquid from the tea bags by boiling them in 1 litre of water till the dark colour is extracted.Then cook the chickpeas in this liquid following the normal procedure.
  • If you do not want to use whole spices,then dry roast and powder them and add the powder while making the recipe.

Preparation Time : 1 1/2 -2  hours

Makes – 6-7 servings


2 cups raw Chickpeas

2 tea bags

2 liters water

3-4 pieces dry Amla(Indian Gooseberries) – optional

2 tsp soda bicarbonate

2 tsp salt plus to taste

2 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste/1 tbsp chopped fresh Ginger and 1 tbsp chopped fresh Garlic – Omit Garlic if needed and use only Ginger Paste

1 tbsp Green Chili Paste/3 chopped fresh Green Chilies

Whole spices:

2 Bay Leaves(Tej Patta)

2 sticks Cinnamon(Dalchini)

4 Cloves(Laung)

5 Green Cardamom(Choti Elaichi)/2 tsp Cardamom Powder

Dry powdered Masalas:

2 1/2 tbsp Chole Masala

1 1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder

1 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder(Jeera)

1 1/2 tsp Garam Masala

2 tsp Coriander Powder(Dhania)

2 tsp Dry Mango Powder(Amchur)

1 tbsp powdered Jaggery

Other ingredients:

2 medium Onions – finely chopped

2 medium Tomatoes – diced

2 tbsp Coriander Leaves – very finely chopped

3 tbsp Oil


Preparing the Chickpeas – For Raw Chickpeas:

Soak the chickpeas overnight in 2 litres of water with the Soda Bicarbonate and 2 tsp salt.Next day pressure cook with the tea bags for 5-6 whistles till fork tender.Remove the tea bags carefully and drain the chickpeas.Preserve the water.

Follow as usual for canned chickpeas from this step onwards:

Heat Oil on medium heat in a nonstick pan and add the whole spices.After they release their natural aromas add the Onions and sauté till transparent and then add the diced Tomatoes.Cover and cook on medium heat till the Tomatoes are pulpy and release their juices.Lower the heat and add the Ginger-Garlic and Green Chilli pastes and mix well.

Now add the dry Masalas – Red Chilli,Cumin,Coriander and Dry Mango Powders and mix well.Add the prepared/canned chickpeas and mix again gently without mashing them.Add the drained water and check for salt.Add approximately 1 1/2 to 2 tsp salt and 1 tbsp of the Chole Masala and 1/2 tbsp of the Jaggery and cover the pan.

Cook for 10- 15 minutes and uncover the pan.Now cook further till the water evaporates.Add the rest of the Chole Masala and Jaggery.Cover the pan again and cook on the lowest heat till the Jaggery is melted and the Masalas have absorbed into the Chickpeas.

Take off heat,remove Bay Leaves and sprinkle the Coriander Leaves on top.Cover the pan and keep it for 30-45 minutes to absorb all the flavours.Serve with any Indian bread – Roti,Phulka,Pooris,Bhaturas or between halved bun slices with raw,sliced Onions and a squeeze of lime.


Delicious Pindi Chana…


Served with hot puffed up Bhature…

Your expert comments and views about this recipe?

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