Lohri 2023: Chef Anand Reveals His Punjabi Pindi Chole Recipe
Image Credit: Pindi chole

The festival of Lohri is just around the corner; it is celebrated each year on January 13. The festival marks the end of winter in North India and the onset of long, warm days. People light up huge bonfires and sing and dance around them with much gaiety. Lohri is especially big in Punjab. People gather for the bonfire and the feast after.

The Lohri feast is as elaborate as it gets. The menu is loaded from the start with seasonal delights like makki ki roti and sarso ka saag. Pindi chole, or thick chickpea curry, is another Lohri speciality you must try on this festive occasion.

Here’s a fascinating fact about Chana, or Kabuli Chana, which was more of a West Punjab phenomenon. After partition, the Punjabi refugees brought a revolution of sorts with Kabuli Chana, popularising the spicy and delicious recipe of Pindi Chole in the new India too. What distinguishes Pindi Chole from other chickpea preparations in India is its rustic mix of spices and deep, dark hue. Anand Rawat, Corporate Head Chef at the Noormahal Palace Hotel in Karnal, shares his recipe.

Recipe for Pindi Chana


  • 1 cup chickpeas (Kabuli chana)
  • 2 Teabags 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Potli Masala (Wrapped And Tied In A Muslin Cloth):

  • 1 tsp amla 
  • 2 badi elaichi (brown cardamom)
  • 2–3 cloves (laung)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
  • 2–3 green cardamom seeds (chotti elaichi)

Dry-roasted ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)

Final Preparation:

  • 1 tsp amchoor powder (dried mango powder)
  • 1/2–1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 Tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp black salt (kaala namak) 
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 2-inch ginger, chopped into julienne strips
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup ghee
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • Lemon wedges 
  • 1 Tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped


1. Wash and soak chole or chickpeas in water overnight or for about 8 hours.

2. In case you forgot to soak the chole overnight, soak them in hot water for 2 hours, covered.

3. In a pressure cooker, put overnight-soaked chole, salt, potli masala tied in a muslin cloth, teabags, and baking soda along with 4 cups of water and put on the lid. Cook the chole for 6–7 whistles on high heat.

4. If you do not have tea bags, you can use 1 teaspoon of tea leaves tied in cheesecloth, just like in potli masala.

5. Switch off the flame and let the pressure release on its own. If you do not want to add baking soda, give another 3–4 whistles.

6. Meanwhile, roast all the ingredients mentioned under the "Dry-Roasted Ingredients" section above on a low flame. Keep stirring constantly to make sure you do not burn them. Otherwise, chana will taste bitter. When it cools, grind it to a fine masala.

7. When the pressure is naturally released from the cooker, open and remove all the amla, tea leaves, and dried khada masala (whole spices). Strain the chole in a separate vessel, but do not throw away the water. This reserved water will be used later.

8. Now, add the boiled chana to a separate big bowl with 2 tablespoons of dry roasted and ground masala, coriander powder, garam masala, mango powder, black salt, hing, crushed kasoori methi, and red chilly powder. Mix well to coat every chana. Stir in the slit chilies and ginger. Keep it aside for half an hour.

9. In a kadhai, preferably an iron kadhai to get that dark black color, heat the oil and ghee together and then add the chole mixture prepared earlier. At this stage, add some of the reserved chole water and mix it gently. Continue to cook the chole on low heat by  adding the boiled chole water in batches to achieve a semi-gravy consistency.

10. Let it simmer on low heat until the oil separates and you get the right consistency.

11. To get a darker color, leave the cooked chole in the iron kadhai for a longer time.

12. Now dish out the pindi chana in a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves, onion and tomato slices, shredded ginger, and lemon wedges.