Palak Chole or Chana Palak is a very delicious and nutritious Indian curry prepared with spinach (palak), chickpeas (chana), and some essential spices. Loaded with the goodness of spinach and chickpeas, this North Indian-style curry is a delectable and flavorsome way of incorporating leafy greens into your diet.
If you love chickpeas or looking for a new chickpea recipe, then this Palak Chole is calling your name!
About Palak Chole
Palak Chole, Chana Palak, or Chana Saag is an Indian curry where spinach is added to a basic chickpea curry (. To make this curry, you first boil chickpeas and then make a basic onion-tomato masala. After that, spinach is added to this masala and it is then pureed. Lastly, boiled chickpeas are cooked with this spicy spinach puree.
This spinach and chickpea curry not only tastes incredible, but it is also rich in protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Plus, making it very simple.
I just love eating chole in all forms. Other than this palak chole, I also love making some other protein-rich chickpea (chole) curries such as, Butternut Squash Chickpea Curry, Mint Chana With Grilled Tofu, , and .
Another great thing about this recipe is that it can be made with all types of spinach. You can use regular, baby, frozen, or blanched spinach. Also, for this recipe, you can use both dried and canned chickpeas.
Consuming beans is always a healthy choice and eating them in a curry form is a great choice. Thus, bean curries are frequent flyers in my home. And I try to make beans at least twice a week — be it chole masala, rajma masala, dal makhani, whole moong curry, or black-eyed peas curry.
Rich in iron and protein, Palak Chole are a healthy combination, and they make a wholesome and comforting meal when served with a side of rice, tandoori roti, , or , or . No matter how you serve it, it always tastes very delicious.
With every bite of this palak chole curry, you get spicy spinach-coated chickpeas that taste so exotic!
This Palak Chole
✔ is vegetarian and gluten-free
✔ can also be made vegan by substituting
✔ is quick and easy to make
✔ is the perfect side for a weeknight meals
✔ is packed with iron & protein
✔ can be served with any rice or flatbread
✔ can easily be customized
Palak Chole Ingredients
Chickpeas – Chole/Chana or Chickpeas is the star ingredient of this recipe. I have used dried and overnight-soaked chickpeas for making this curry. If you want to speed up the cooking process, then you can also use boiled or canned chickpeas for making this curry. For more clear instructions on how to use canned/boiled chickpeas, check the recipe card on this page.
Spinach – This is the second main ingredient of this curry dish. Regular, baby, frozen, balanced, or pureed - you can use all types of spinach for making palak chole.
Onion - Chopped onion is used for making gravy. I used yellow onions; you can also use purple ones. Onion paste can also be used in this recipe. If using onion paste, then swap 1 large chopped onion with ½ cup of onion paste.
Tomatoes – Finely chopped tomatoes are used to make onion tomato masala. Adding tomato enhances the overall taste and flavor of palak chole. It adds a subtle tang and also adds some body to the spinach gravy.
Whole Spices - Whole spices are a must for chickpea curries. I have used some whole spices to enrich the flavor and aroma of this curry. You will need cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, black peppercorns, and dry red chili. These add nice heat and flavor to the curry.
Spices – You will need some essential spices such as, red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, chili powder, and garam masala powder.
Cream – I have added cream to this curry recipe. Adding cream gives a nice richness to this curry, but adding cream is entirely optional here. If you are making a vegan version, then substitute cream with coconut milk or cashew cream.
Others – Salt, green chilies and lemon juice are required for palak chole curry.
How to make Palak Chole
Making Palak Chole is very easy and simple. You can make it using dried and soaked chickpeas or canned chickpeas. This is how it is made in 6 simple steps:
1. Cook Chickpeas – Rinse chickpeas and soak them overnight in the water. In the morning, discard the water and rinse the chickpeas again. Chickpeas are ready for cooking. Add chickpeas, salt, whole spices, and enough water to a pressure cooker and pressure cook on medium heat for 4-5 whistles. Let the pressure naturally cool down before opening the lid. Open the lid and check the doneness of the chickpeas, and set them aside.
2. Make Onion Tomato masala – Heat ghee/oil in a pan. Once hot, add cumin seeds and sauté them for a few seconds. Then add dried red chili and chopped onions to the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes. Next add green chilies, ginger, and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes or till the onions are cooked. Add spices to the onion masala and fry for another minute. Then add chopped tomatoes and cook until they are soft.
3. Make Spinach puree – The boiled chickpeas should be soft and tender. If not, then you can cook them for some more time. Add chopped spinach and cook until they are wilted and soft. Add a little bit of water and make a puree using an immersion blender or a food processor.
4. Make Palak Chole– Add cooked chickpeas to spinach puree along with water, 1 tablespoon of chana masala powder, and salt to taste and mix. Cover the pan and cook chickpeas with spinach puree for 7-8 minutes. Add garam masala powder, and lemon juice and mix until combined. Lastly add cream and cook for 1 more minute. Palak Chole is ready to serve.
You will get the detailed instructions in the recipe box on this page.
You can do some variations in this recipe by swapping an ingredient or two. Here are some other versions of this curry which might want to try sometime:
Kale Chole - Instead of palak (spinach), you can use the same amount of kale in this recipe. The rest of the recipe will be the same.
Kala Chana Palak - To make kala chana palak, you just need to replace chickpeas with black chickpeas in this recipe.
No onion and garlic Palak Chole - You can also try a no onion garlic version of this recipe by skipping onion and garlic from this recipe. Follow the same recipe to make no onion and garlic palak chole.
**Corn Palak - **Substitute chickpeas with 2 cups of sweet corn kernels or baby corn.
Mushroom Palak - Here, you just need to swap chickpeas with sauteed mushrooms.
This Palak Chole is such a versatile curry that can be served with almost everything. You can serve it with any grain or flatbread of your choice.
This palak chole curry stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. This curry always tastes great the day after absorbing all the flavors. I always make sure to cook some extra curry for the next day.
Sometimes, the curry absorbs most of the flavors and liquid after storing. To adjust the consistency, add hot water and heat it in a microwave or in a pan. And to revive the flavors and make it fresh again, add a tadka of garam masala to this palak chole.
To make tadka, add 1 teaspoon of ghee or oil to a small frying pan. Once hot, add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add garam masala powder, and coriander leaves and fry for a few seconds. Add this hot tadka to the chole and enjoy fresh-tasting palak chole.
Consistency – I like semi-thick palak chole, but the consistency of curry can be adjusted according to your taste preference.
Spinach – I like pureed spinach in this curry, but you can also make this curry without pureeing spinach. You can also use blanched spinach. You can use all types of spinach for making this curry.
Chickpeas – This recipe usually has Kabuli chana (white chickpeas). It can also be made using black chickpeas or kala chana. I have used dried chickpeas for making this curry, you can also use canned chickpeas. Also, if you are planning to use canned chickpeas then there is no requirement to boil chickpeas in advance.
Whole spices - Adding whole spices enhances the taste of this curry. So adding whole spices is highly recommended. I have used bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, and black peppercorns in this recipe. You can also add black and green cardamom to this curry.
Soaking chickpeas – If you don’t have time to soak the chickpeas overnight, or you forgot to soak chickpeas then you can try this easy way. To soak it faster, dry roast chickpeas for 5 minutes or until they are hot. Then add about 5 cups of boiling water to the chickpeas along with 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda. Cover the bowl with the lid soak them in boiling water for about 2 hours. After 2 hours, drain the water and rinse the chickpeas. Increase the pressure cooking to 7-8 whistles. Or pressure cook in an instant pot for about 40 minutes and let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes. Your chickpeas are ready to use.
Cooking chickpeas in Instant Pot – For cooking chickpeas in an Instant pot, add 6 cups of water, whole spices and salt and chickpeas to the instant pot liner. Pressure cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally before opening the lid. Chickpeas are ready.
Cooking chickpeas in a pan – You can also boil chickpeas in a dutch oven or a deep pot. Add the chickpeas, salt, whole spices and about 6 cups of water to the pot. Cover the pan and cook chickpeas on medium to medium-high heat until they are tender and soft. If the water starts bubbling and coming out while boiling, then you can remove the lid and cook it uncovered.
Spices – This is a mildly spicy recipe. To make it hotter, you can increase the red chili powder.
How can I substitute chickpeas in this recipe?
You can easily substitute chickpeas with other ingredients in this palak chole recipe. You can use other beans such as kidney brands, or black-eyed beans. Or you can use other vegetables such as squash, mushrooms, and corn kernels. You can also swap chickpeas with paneer, tofu, or any grilling cheese.
How to Meal Prep Palak Chole?
This is a wonderful meal prep recipe. To prepare this palak curry, you can do some steps in advance. You can make spiced spinach puree in advance. When you want to eat, add canned/boiled chickpeas, garam masala, and salt to the puree and cook it covered for 10-12 minutes. Add cream and serve hot with rice or flour.
Can you freeze this Palak Chole?
Yes, this chole palak curry is freezable. To freeze this curry, let it cool completely at room temperature. Then freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to 1 month. When you want to serve this curry, thaw it at room temperature and reheat it in a pan or a microwave.
Palak Chole (Step-by-step photo instructions)
How to make Palak Chole
- Add chickpeas to a large mixing bowl. Rinse the chickpeas and then soak them in enough water overnight or for 7 to 8 hours. In the morning, discard the water and rinse the chickpeas again in the fresh water. Set it aside.
- Add soaked chickpeas to a pressure cooker. Also, add salt, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, and black peppercorns. Also, add enough water, it should cover 2 inches above the chole. Stir well and cover the pressure cooker with the lid. Pressure cook chickpeas for 3-4 whistles on medium heat or till they are cooked through. Let the pressure come off completely before opening the lid. Open the lid and check the chickpeas, they should be soft. Boil for a few more minutes if they are undercooked. Keep the boiled chickpeas aside.
- Heat ghee/oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Once hot, add cumin seeds and saute for a few seconds or until fragrant.Now, add dried red chili, chopped onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Next, add chopped green chilies, crushed ginger-garlic, or ginger-garlic paste. After that, saute for 2-3 minutes or until onions are translucent.
- Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and 1 tablespoon of chana masala. Mix well and let the onion cook with spices for 1 minute. Add chopped tomatoes and fry for 3-4 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and mushy. Add roughly chopped spinach leaves. Stir well and saute for 4 to 5 minutes on medium-low heat until spinach is cooked.
- Add 1/2 cup of water and cook for 1 minute. Now switch off the heat and discard the dried red chili. Using an immersion blender, blend the spinach into a puree. Alternatively, add spinach to a food processor and puree. Add 1 cup of water to adjust the consistency and mix.
- Next, add boiled chickpeas along with the water to the pan and stir well. Add 1 tablespoon of chana masala powder, and mix well to combine. Also, add salt to taste and mix again. Cover the pan with the lid and cook it for 7-8 minutes, keep stirring occasionally.
- Uncover the pan, and add garam masala powder and lemon juice. Mix well and cook for another minute. Lastly, add 2-3 tablespoons of cream and mix again. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Garnish with onion slices and cilantro. Serve palak chole hot with jeera rice or any flatbread of your choice.
Instant Pot Palk Chole
- Rinse and soak chickpeas for 8 hours or overnight. When soaked, drain the water from the chickpeas and rinse well. Set them aside. Press the instant pot in the “SAUTÉ” mode. Add oil, whole spices (dried red chili, cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves, and black peppercorns) and sauté for a few seconds or until redolent. After that, add chopped onions, green chilies, ginger-garlic and sauté 2-3 minutes.
- Add powdered spices (red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chana masala and salt). Mix well and cook for 1 minute. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in the soaked chickpeas, water and stir well. Pressure or manual cook for 30 minutes on high pressure in Instant Pot with the vent in sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes.
- Change the instant pot setting to sauté mode. Open the lid, garam masala powder, lemon juice and mix well. Mix well. Then chopped spinach to the chickpea curry and give it a nice stir. Let it boil for 4-5 minutes. Lastly add cream and mix. Serve Instant Pot palak chole with naan, or roti.