Mother knows best – My Mom’s recipe for Peshawari Cholle

Pindi Chana

Growing up in North India, Chholle (Garbanzo Beans) was a fairly common item on the dinner menu. I had posted a version of the recipe here. Whenever we would go to a restaurant though, there was this wonderful dish that we would have which was known variously as Pindi Chana or Peshawari Cholle. It was made of Garbanzo beans and was spicy and tangy and my mom had no clue how to make it.

Well, she finally did figure it out and passed on the recipe to me. The origin of the recipe is probably in what is present day Pakistan (Pindi probably refers to Rawalpindi) and Peshawar is city just due west of Rawalpindi. Given that a key ingredient of the recipe is dried pomegranate seeds, it is quite likely that the recipe originated in these parts because pomegranate, which originated in Iran/Iraq traveled down the spice route into the Indian subcontinent and would have passed through these ancient cities.

Anyway, the version below is mild. Please add green chilies to your heart’s desire to increase the heat. Enjoy.

INGREDIENTS (for 6 adults)

2 cups garbanzo beans soaked overnight in water

2 black cardamoms

1 small stick of cinnamon

8 cloves

1 Tbsp cumin seeds

8 black peppercorns

2 tsp dried pomegranate seeds (aka Anardana. Any self-respecting Indian store would carry these)

1 Tbsp cooking oil

1 bay leaf

A pinch of asafetida

1 large onion – minced

1 Tbsp coriander powder

1 tsp dried mango powder or 2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp sugar

Salt to taste


1.Either boil the beans in a pot with a lid or pressure cook them till they are done. You want to use enough water to cook them but not have too much water left over. If you are cooking in a pot keep checking the water level – start out by having enough that covers them plus an inch more. If you are pressure cooking cover the beans with water and cook.

2. Dry roast all the spices above and mill them into a powder (everything up to the oil in the list above).

3. Heat the oil in a saucepan.

4. Add the bay leaf and asafetida.

5. Add minced onion and fry till it starts to brown.

6. Add the beans, spice powder, mango powder and coriander powder

7. Add salt to taste and sugar

8. Bring the whole thing to a boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

9. Add lemon juice and serve with a bread of your choice.


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