Chhole and chana masala are used interchangeably for the Indian dish of spiced garbanzo beans that's popular in Indian restaurants. But there is a slight difference between the two: Chana Masala is the drier version, eaten with naan, puris, and bhatura (deep-fried bread), whereaas chhole is the saucier dish generally eaten with rice.


1 1/4 cups dry garbanzo beans, soaked in water overnight or for 6 hours at least OR two 15 1/2-ounce cans of organic garbanzo beans
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 black cardamom pods
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 green cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
2 pieces of cinnamon, 1/2-inch long
1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 green chile pepper, diced
2 cups diced tomatoes (1/2-inch pieces) or 1 to 1 1/2 cups diced canned tomatoes
1 pinch sugar
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mango powder (amchoor) or 1 teaspoon lemon juice


Step 1
This recipe gives instructions for using dry garbanzo beans as well as canned garbanzo beans. Only the following step differs. \r\n

Step 2
For dried beans: Add the soaked beans to a heavy-bottomed pan and cover with 6 cups of water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 black cardamom pods, then bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour over medium heat. After boiling, drain the garbanzo beans and save the water. Set aside.\r\n\r\nFor canned beans: Drain and rinse the beans. Add them to heavy-bottomed pot along with 4 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 black cardamom pots. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat. Drain the beans and save the water. Set aside. Though boiling canned beans seems like an extra step, I do it to remove the canned, metallic taste of the beans and to impart a creamy texture.

Step 3
Place a heavy-bottomed sauté pan on one of the stove burners and pour in the oil. Turn the heat onto medium and when the oil is hot, slide green cardamom, bay leaf, and cinnamon pieces into the pan. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.

Step 4
Add onions and allow them to become translucent and brown at the edges, about 7 to 8 minutes.

Step 5
Follow with garlic, ginger, and green chile pepper and sauté for 2 minutes.

Step 6
Pour tomatoes and add pinch of sugar. Stir from time to time, letting the tomatoes lose their moisture. Once they've gotten to that point, stir continuously to prevent them from sticking to the pan. Soon the tomatoes will start secreting oil. This whole process from adding tomatoes to secreting oil should take about 10 minutes.

Step 7
Add turmeric, coriander powder, and remaining salt. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.

Step 8
Add garbanzo beans and 2 cups water reserved from boiling the beans (if water saved from boiling is not enough, supplement with regular water).

Step 9
Add dry mango powder, also called amchoor. It's generally found in Asian grocery stores. If you are not able to find it, substitute with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.

Step 10
Let simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot with rice or warm naan.