Is there anything more quintessential Punjabi than Amritsari chole (also known as safed chana in Hindi or white chickpeas in English)?
Amritsar, in Punjab, is the holiest city for Sikhs, similar to Jerusalem for Jews, Vatican for Catholics and Mecca for Muslims. But Amritsar is also very well known for its food scene and has some of the best street food anywhere in the world. Especially famous are Amritsari chole and bathure (bhathura is similar to the naan but is made from dough fermented with yogurt and filling of potato).
My mom who grew up in Amritsar makes the best chole. When I was a kid, I used to wait for the weekends when my mom made chole and puri (puffed, fried bread)! I have been known to fight with my sisters over who gets to eat the last puri and the most puris! I still do!
However, the chole also has a reputation of being difficult to make but my mom’s recipe for making Amritsari chole uses instant pot (pressure cooker) so is quick and is easy to follow.
Don’t be scared looking at the ingredient list.
Get your instant pot out now!
- 1.5 cups white chickpeas white channa
- 4-5 cups water
- 3 onions medium size (2-3 inches in diameter), peeled and quartered
- 3 tomatoes medium size(2-3 inches in diameter), halved
- 4-5 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 3 inch fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 3-4 green chillies finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt or according to taste
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 3- inch stick cinnamon
- 2-3 tbsp. cooking oil preferably smoked mustard oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 3-4 cloves roughly ground
- 2 black cardamom roughly ground
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp roasted cumin seeds
- 1 tsp pomegranate seeds powder anardana powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 11/2 tsp garam masala
- Handful of fresh green coriander
Soak the chickpeas in water for 5-6 hours or overnight.
Just before cooking, drain the chickpeas.
Add the chickpeas to the pressure cooker with 4-5 cups of water. Add salt, turmeric, cinnamon, onions and tomatoes and close the pressure cooker.
Set the pressure cooker on high heat. After the first whistle (pressure), turns the heat to medium high. Turn off the heat after 4-5 whistles (pressures).
Once the pressure cooker cools down, open it and remove the onions and tomatoes from the pressure cooker. Set the onions and tomatoes aside.
Set a pan (karahi) on high heat and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, cloves and black cardamom.
Once the cumin seeds start to sputter, add garlic, ginger and green chillies.
Immediately afterwards add the onions and tomatoes which were removed from pressure cooker.
Sauté the mix (alternating heat between low and high) until the oil start leaving the sides of the pan (about 12-15 minutes).
Add red chilli powder, garam masala, coriander powder, roasted cumin seeds and pomegranate powder and mix it well.
Remove 1/2tbsp of chick peas from the pressure cooker, mash them and add to the tadka mix.
Saute for another 1-2 minutes and mix in the coriander leaves.
Remove the tadka mixture from the heat and add it to the chickpeas in the pressure cooker. Mix it well and chickpeas are ready!