November 29, 2021

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Chole Paneer | Cottage Cheese with Chickpeas

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Chole paneer with step by step photos. This is a spicy and delicious Punjabi curry made with Indian cottage cheese a.k.a. paneer, white chickpeas, aromatics, tomatoes, herbs and spices. Make this filling and healthy curry and serve with phulka, paratha, rice, jeera rice or tandoori roti for a satisfying meal.

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Punjabis love their Rajma masala, Dal makhani, Chole masala and parathas. There are many variations of making chickpea-based recipes and this is one more popular variation of chickpeas with cottage cheese.

This chole paneer does not use any chole masala and nor do you need to grind any masala. Just the regular Indian spices are added to the gravy.

The dish is made in less time in a pressure cooker. But you do have to remember to soak the dried chickpeas for 7 to 8 hours or overnight. You can also cook the chickpeas in the Instant pot adding water as required.

Paneer chole goes well with rotis, paratha, poori or naan or roomali roti. Also serve some onion slices and lemon wedges as a side accompaniment.

If you love bhatura or naan then you can also enjoy this chana paneer with these Indian breads.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Chana Paneer

  1. Rinse 1 cup dried white chickpeas (a.k.a. chana or chole) in fresh water a couple of times.  Then soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight or for 7 to 8 hours. 1 cup chickpeas is equal to 200 grams of chickpeas in weight.

    Later drain all the water and rinse the soaked chickpeas in water and keep aside. Ensure to use chickpeas in their shelf period. They should not be aged as then they will take a long time to cook and will also not taste as good.

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2. The following spices-herbs will be added while cooking the chickpeas – in clockwise order:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 2 inch cinnamon
  • 3 dried amla (Indian gooseberry) pieces (substitute 1 black tea bag in place of amla). You can skip the amla and the tea bag completely if you don’t have them.
  • 2 small tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
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3. Take the spices-herbs and the soaked chickpeas in the stovetop pressure cooker. Add 3 cups of water. Stir.

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4. Cover tightly with the lid and pressure cook the chickpeas for 10 to 12 whistles. Once the pressure settles down in the cooker naturally then only open the lid.

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5. The chickpeas should be cooked well. There should not be any bite in the chickpeas. They should have a soft melt in the mouth texture. Discard the softened amla pieces or tea bag and keep the cooked chickpeas along with the stock aside.

If the chickpeas are not cooked, then pressure cook them again for 3 to 4 whistles or more and adding some water if required.

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6. In another pan or kadai, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add ½ cup chopped onions.

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7. Stir and saute on a low to medium heat stirring often till the onions are translucent or light golden.

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8. Then add 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste. Stir and saute for a few seconds or till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

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9. Then add ¾ cup chopped tomatoes.

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10. Stir and mix the tomatoes with the rest of the ingredients.

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11. Saute the tomatoes stirring often on medium-low heat, till they soften and become mushy.

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12. Add the following spice powders:

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
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13. Stir and saute for a minute.

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14. Add the cooked chickpeas together with the spices that we added when pressure cooking them.

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15. Stir and mix well to combine.

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16. Then add 2 or 3 slit green chilies. Stir again.

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17. Add 1 cup of the stock or stock+water.

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18. Season with salt as required. Do keep in mind, that 1 teaspoon of salt was added to the stock earlier when cooking the chickpeas.

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19. On a medium heat, bring the gravy to a simmer.

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20. The gravy should thicken slightly. Mash a few chickpeas with the back of the spoon. This helps in thickening the gravy.

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21. In the below photo, the gravy has thickened enough. You can keep the consistency as you prefer – either medium or thick.

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22. Now add paneer cubes (125 to 150 grams of paneer), ½ teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and 1 teaspoon amchur powder. Amchur or dry mango powder can be added according to one’s taste.

Make sure to use fresh paneer. If using packaged paneer then check the expiry date as paneer should be fresh and not rancid. If using frozen paneer thaw it according to the package instructions.

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23. Stir and switch off the heat. Otherwise the paneer can become hard or chewy.

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24. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves and some ginger julienne. You can also garnish chole paneer with coriander leaves and ginger julienne instead of adding them.

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25. stir finally and serve the paneer chole with roti or paratha or poori or tandoori roti or naan bread. Also serve some onion slices and lemon wedges as a side accompaniment.

If you have kept a medium consistency in the gravy then you can also serve this chana paneer with steamed rice or jeera rice.

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Few more delicious recipes

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Chana Paneer | Chole Paneer

Chole Paneer is a spicy, delicious curry of white chickpeas and paneer from the Punjabi cuisine. This chole paneer recipe is made with onions, tomatoes, spices and herbs tastes best with roti, naan or paratha.

4.86 from 7 votes

Prep Time 8 hrs

Cook Time 30 mins

Total Time 8 hrs 30 mins

For cooking chickpeas

For garnish

Cooking chickpeas

  • Rinse 1 cup dried white chickpeas in fresh water a couple of times.

  • Soak the dried white chickpeas in enough water overnight or for 7 to 8 hours. Later drain all the water and rinse the soaked chickpeas in water and set aside.

  • Take the chickpeas along with the salt, black cardamoms, cinnamon, dried amla pieces (substitute one black tea bag in place of amla), tej patta and ginger paste in the stovetop pressure cooker. Add 3 cups water and stir.

  • Cover tightly with the lid and pressure cook the chickpeas for 10 to 12 whistles or 12 to 15 minutes on medium to medium-high heat.

  • Let the pressure fall completely in the cooker on its own and then only open the lid.

  • The chickpeas should be cooked well. There should not be any bite in the chickpeas. They should have a soft melt in the mouth texture. 

  • Discard the softened amla pieces or tea bag and keep the cooked chickpeas along with the stock aside.

Sautéing onions, tomatoes and spices

  • In another pan or kadai, heat oil and add the chopped onions.

  • Stir and saute on a low to medium heat stirring often, till the onions are translucent or light golden.

  • Then add ginger-garlic paste. Stir and sauté for a few seconds or till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

  • Add chopped tomatoes. Stir the tomatoes. Sauté the tomatoes, till they soften and become mushy.

  • Add the spice powders – coriander powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder, garam masala and turmeric powder.

  • Stir and saute for a minute.

Making chole paneer

  • Add the cooked chickpeas along with its spices. Stir well.

  • Then add 2 or 3 slit green chilies. Stir.

  • Add 1 cup of the stock or stock+water.

  • Season with salt as required. Do keep in mind, that 1 teaspoon of salt was added to the stock.

  • On a medium heat, bring the gravy to a simmer.

  • The gravy should thicken slightly. Mash a few chickpeas with the back of the spoon. This helps in thickening the gravy.

  • Now add paneer cubes , crushed kasuri methi and amchur powder. Dry mango powder or amchur can be added according to one’s taste.

  • Stir and switch off the heat. Otherwise the paneer can become hard or chewy.

  • Add the chopped coriander leaves and some ginger julienne. You can also garnish with the coriander leaves and ginger julienne instead of adding them.

  • Stir finally and serve the paneer chole with roti, poori, parathas or naan. Also serve some onion slices and lemon wedges as a side accompaniment.

  • Store any leftovers in a covered container for 1 day in the refrigerator.

  • Chickpeas: Use chickpeas that are in their shelf-life. Avoid using aged chickpeas as they take a long time to cook and do not give good results. You can sub canned chickpeas in this recipe.
  • Paneer: I suggest to use homemade paneer. If using frozen paneer, then follow the instructions mentioned on the pack before adding them to the gravy.
  • Soaking chickpeas: For the best taste and texture in the chickpeas, remember to soak them overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. If you have no time or forgotten to soak chickpeas, soak them in hot water for two to three hours.
  • Boiling chickpeas in Instant Pot: Add the spices, salt, dried amla pieces, ginger paste, water and chickpeas in the steel insert of your Instant pot. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes on high pressure. Wait until all the pressure releases naturally before opening the lid.
  • Boiling chickpeas in a pan: For cooking chickpeas in a pan, it is better to use a deep pan or pot. Add all the ingredients in the pan. Pour 3 to 4 cups water. Cover and boil chickpeas on medium to medium-high heat until they become tender and softened well. If the water starts to froth, cover the lid partially or remove it.
  • Consistency: You can opt for a thick or medium gravy in the recipe by adding less or more water. But do not make the gravy thin or runny as it will dilute the flavors.
  • Spicing: To make this recipe, suit your spice levels, you can alter the amount of green chillies and red chilli powder.
  • Dried amla: Dried Indian gooseberries help in darkening the color of chickpeas. They also add some light sour notes to the chickpeas and the water in which the chickpeas were cooked. If you do not have dried amla, to get that dark color, add 1 black tea bag. But here do not use this stock (cooked water of the chickpeas) later to be added to the gravy as the tea flavor will be there. You can skip the dried amla and the tea bag altogether.
  • Dry mango powder: Chana curries always have some sour or tangy taste to them. Dry mango powder gives a slight tart taste. Swap it with 1 teaspoon dry pomegranate seeds powder or 1 teaspoon lemon juice. For lemon juice add it once the cooking is complete.
  • Vegan option: Do not add the paneer and simply make the recipe as it is with the rest of the ingredients. In place of paneer, you can use tofu if you prefer. 
  • Scaling: This recipe can’t be scaled as it is. You need to use approximation to scale the recipe.

Nutrition Facts

Chana Paneer | Chole Paneer

Amount Per Serving

Calories 289 Calories from Fat 90

% Daily Value*

Fat 10g15%

Saturated Fat 4g25%

Cholesterol 17mg6%

Sodium 989mg43%

Potassium 578mg17%

Carbohydrates 38g13%

Fiber 11g46%

Sugar 8g9%

Protein 14g28%

Vitamin A 436IU9%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%

Vitamin B6 1mg50%

Vitamin C 11mg13%

Vitamin E 1mg7%

Vitamin K 8µg8%

Calcium 204mg20%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 287µg72%

Iron 4mg22%

Magnesium 71mg18%

Phosphorus 203mg20%

Zinc 2mg13%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Chana Paneer post from the archives (February 2015) has been updated and republished on 24 October 2021.

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