Dark Pindi Choley with No Onion and No Tomato

Pindi Chole | Recipe by Chef Kunal Kapur

This recipe for Pindi Chole was triggered by a discussion by the admin of a food group that I am a member of. Donna wanted to make “almost black” Chole and there were many suggestions including the traditional recommendations of using tea leaves, amla and iron vessels.

Pindi Chole: Spicy Chickpea Curry from Punjab
Pindi Chole

Then Donna located this recipe by Chef Kunal Kapur for Pindi Chole and posted it on the group. When I saw the video on YouTube I was fascinated by the recipe and made it this past weekend!

Do try it and you will get authentic Pindi Chole.

How to Make Pindi Chole

No Onion, No Garlic Chole Biryani
Prep Time
6 hrs
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
6 hrs 45 mins

This recipe results in a wonderful No Onion, No Garlic Chole Biryani that is a great one-dish meal, especially for parties and potlucks

Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian, Punjabi
Keyword: Chole Biryani
Author: Aruna
  • 1 Cup Chole, Chickpeas (200gms)
  • 2 Cups Basmati Rice
  • 2 Cups Peeled, Diced Potatoes (1/2" cubes)
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Coriander For Garnish
For Potli to Boil Chickpeas
  • 10 Cloves
  • 2" Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Strong Tea Leaves
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 6 Green Cardamom
  • 2 Black Cardamom
For Tempering
  • 2 tbsp Ghee or Oil I used Ghee
  • 1 tsp Ajwain or Carom Seeds
  • 2 tsp Slivers of Ginger
  • 3-4 Green Chillies, Slit
Dry Masalas
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1.5 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
  • 1.5 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1.5 tsp Amchur, Raw Mango Powder
  • 2 tsp Kasoori Methi Powder See Notes
  • 2 tsp Anardana Powder, Pomegranate Seeds Powder See Notes
Other Ingredients
  • 1 tsp Black Salt
  • 2 tsp Thick Tamarind Pulp
  • 3-4 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Ghee Vegans use oil
  • Salt to Taste
Cooking the Chole
  1. Soak the Chole in 3 Cups Water for 6 to 8 hours.

  2. In a small white cloth, tie-up all ingredients listed under For Potli to Boil Chickpeas.

  3. Place this potli/packet in the middle of the chickpeas.

  4. Cover and boil for about 45 minutes till done.
    Pressure cook the chickpeas 4 whistles.

  5. Discard the potli.

  6. Drain and reserve the water in which the chickpeas were cooked.

Preparing the Rice
  1. Soak the Basmati in 4 cups water for about 15 minutes.

  2. Drain all the water.

  3. Leave the soaked rice in the colander till it is time to use.

Cooking the Pindi Chole
  1. In a pan large enough to hold the chole, on a medium flame, heat 1 tbsp oil or ghee.

  2. Add the ajwain, ginger, and green chillies.

  3. Stir-fry till the raw smell of the ginger disappears.

  4. Add the dry masalas and mix well.

  5. Immediately add the cooked chole.

  6. Mix well.

  7. Add the black salt, salt, and tamarind paste.

  8. Mix well.

  9. Add a little of the reserved water.

  10. Over medium flame, cook for about 5 minutes till most of the water evaporates.

  11. Turn off the heat.

  12. Beat the dahi well so that there are no lumps.

  13. Add the dahi to the chole and mix well.

  14. Set aside.

Deep Frying the Potatoes
  1. In a large wok or kadhai, heat 3 tbsp oil. Use a large wok/kadhai as we will cook rice in it later.

  2. Add the potato pieces and over medium flame, stir-fry till golden brown.

  3. Remove the potato pieces and set aside.

Cooking the Rice
  1. In the wok used to fry the potatoes, add the rice and stir-fry for 5 minutes.

  2. Add 3.25 cups water, 1/2 tsp salt, and mix well.

  3. Over low-to-medium flame, cook covered till the rice is done. Mix at regular intervals.

Putting the No Onion, No Garlic Chole Biryani Together
  1. When the rice is cooked, add the chole.

  2. Mix well.

  3. Cook covered for 5 minutes.

  4. Add salt, if required, and mix well.

  5. Just before serving, add the fried potatoes and mix well.

  6. Garnish with fresh coriander.

  7. Serve with Cucumber Raita or Boondi Raita and Papad.

Recipe Notes
  • To make Kasoori Methi powder, over medium flame, dry roast 3 tsp of kasoori methi till it becomes crisp. Remove into a plate to cool. Crush into a powder with your fingers.
  • To make Anardana/Pomegranate seeds powder, dry roast 2 tsp anardana. Let it cool and then grind to a powder.
  • I used readymade tamarind paste.
  • You can a complete shortcut and use readymade Chole Masala powder. The result is just as delicious!
  • You can also add some fried tomato chunks if you wish. 

Pindi Chole from Punjab
Pindi Chole


Step-by-Step Instructions to Make Pindi Chole

  1. In a large vessel, soak the chickpeas in 3 Cups Water for overnight. I soaked for 8 hours.
  2. Using a white cloth, make a small parcel/potli of tea leaves green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves.
  3. Place this potli/parcel in the middle of the chickpeas. It will give the chole a dark brown colour as it cooks. In addition, the chole will also soak in the aromas of the spices.
  4. On a open flame, cover and boil for about 45 to 60 minutes till done. The chickpea should break easily when you press it.
    You can take the easy way out like I did and pressure cook the chickpeas.
  5. When the chick peas are cooked, discard the potli.
  6. Drain the excess water from the cooked chickpeas. Reserve the water as we may need some of it later.
  7. Making the Pindi Chole
    1. On a medium flame, heat the oil or ghee in a pan.
    2. Add the ajwain, ginger, garlic and green chillies.
    3. Stir-fry for about 1 minute till the ginger and garlic are fried.
    4. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chilli, amchur, kasoori methi and anardana powders.
    5. Mix well.
    6. Immediately add the cooked chole and mix well. Do not fry the dry masalas in the oil/ghee for long. We just want to add them to the hot oil/ghee and mix.
    7. Add the black salt, salt, and tamarind paste.
    8. Mix well.
    9. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved water and cook for 5 to 7 minutes till most of the water evaporates.
  8. Cover and let the Pindi Chole rest for 5 to 7 minutes.
  9. Serve hot Pindi Chole with puris or rotis.
Pindi Chole | Recipe by Chef Kunal Kapoor
Pindi Chole | Recipe by Chef Kunal Kapoor


  1. Aruna, I am drooling here over your pindi chole…It is a rainy day here and those pindi chole and puri or bhatura are perfect for this day! I like the step by step photos. Will make them soon.Thanks for sharing.

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Do leave me a comment.