Chole Paneer is an age-old Punjabi main course item. Not only this, but chole paneer is widely popular in the northern regions of India. However, the recipe itself hails from this particular part of India.
Let me tell you this – Chole Paneer is the significant half of bhature. 😀 The survival of chole paneer amid fast-food culture is fantastic. I mean, who would cook something that requires lots of ingredients, time & energy.
On the contrary, there are food items that you can make in record time.
Although this may be true, yet the legacy of chole paneer continues. Another milestone of this Punjabi style chickpea recipe is that it’s a nationwide hit with this in mind. So let’s define what exactly it is.
What is Chole Paneer?
Chole means chickpeas & paneer is the Indian cottage cheese in English. So when you add boiled chickpeas to spice mix paneer curry, you get chole paneer. Further, the spice mix curry contains a thick base of onions & tomato puree. Now that’s how traditional Punjabi recipes are made.
If you want the authentic taste of chole paneer, then bhature is the ideal option. Bhature is a puri. Yeah, but not an ordinary one. It’s a king-size puri. However, you can enjoy chole paneer with rice, paratha, kulcha or chapattis too.
With this in mind, let’s cook this legendary Punjabi dish. First, we will begin with the list of ingredients.
Chole Paneer Ingredients
Here’s the good news for you. The item list is short. Moreover, there’s no fancy ingredient here. I mean, you don’t need to brainstorm how you will procure certain items. Instead, let’s see what the list contains.
- Oil – To prepare the tadka. You can use ghee or butter.
- Bay Leaf – It gives a herbal & floral aroma similar to oregano & thyme.
- Star Anise – Star anise is a crucial ingredient having sweet & liquorice-like flavour.
- Cardamom – It integrates sweet & almost menthol-like flavour. Using too much can be slightly astringent.
- Ginger-Garlic Paste – To tenderize chickpeas & paneer along with aroma & flavour.
- Green Chili – For sweet, spicy, crisp & smoky taste.
- Kasuri Methi – It has a mild sweet & nutty taste along with bitterness.
- Onion – Either chop onions or grind them to paste or puree.
- Tomato – For a thick curry base, we need them. Chop into small pieces or grind them.
- Red Chili Powder – For red texture & spicy taste.
- Coriander-Cumin Powder – It is a regular masala powder. Self-explanatory.
- Turmeric Powder – Turmeric is a natural dye. Moreover, it gives a woody flavour.
- Garam Masala – A mixed bag of different spices, herbs & masala. Don’t skip.
- Paneer – It’s the prime ingredient. Use regular dairy paneer.
- Chickpeas – Another prime ingredient. Soak & boil before cooking.
- Lemon Juice – As per taste.
After the item list, let me talk about the pre-preparations. Yes, there are certain things we need to do beforehand.
Pre-Preparations for Chole Paneer
- Chop or grind onions as per requirement.
- Grind tomatoes to a thick puree.
- Soak chickpeas overnight & boil after that until soft.
- Grind ginger & garlic to make a paste.
- Cut paneer into sizeable pieces.
Okay, now let’s proceed towards cooking.
Making Authentic Punjabi Style Chole Paneer
The fewer the items, the tastier it comes out. The same applies to this all-time classic recipe. Continue reading the cooking process.
Saute the Masala
Traditional North Indian recipes are heavily loaded with spices. We will follow the tradition by sauteeing our masala first. Hence, saute all dry & fresh herbs plus spices in cooking oil. Like I said above, you can replace oil with butter or ghee.
Saute till you smell the specific aroma of the ingredients. For example, cumin, aka jeera, will give a smokey or woody fragrance.
Once all the masala is sauteed, add onion & tomato paste. Mix & cook till oil separates. Again the mixture will release a specific aroma. Now your curry is ready.
Add Chickpeas & Paneer
The final stage of the recipe is to add boiled chickpeas & paneer to the curry. Mix well & cover the lid to cook for 8-10 minutes. Cooking time depends on whether or not the chickpeas are boiled.
Squeeze a lemon & serve your chole paneer hot.