Authentic Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay Recipe: Easy & Flavorful Guide

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Craving something rich, hearty, and bursting with flavor? Look no further than Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay. This beloved North Indian dish combines chickpeas with a symphony of spices to create a comforting and delicious meal. Traditionally slow-cooked for hours, using an Instant Pot makes it possible to enjoy this savory delight in a fraction of the time without compromising on taste.

Chikar Cholay is a staple in Punjabi households, often enjoyed with fluffy bhature or steamed rice. The dish’s name, “chikar,” refers to its thick, creamy consistency, achieved through a blend of mashed chickpeas and aromatic spices. Whether you’re new to Indian cuisine or a seasoned pro, this recipe promises to deliver an authentic experience right in your kitchen.


To make Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay, you’ll need a combination of main ingredients and flavorful spices and seasonings.

Main Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, pureed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch ginger, grated
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups water
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

Spices and Seasonings

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon amchur (dried mango) powder
  • 2 teaspoons chole masala powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 green chilies, slit

Required Tools

For preparing Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay, you will need some essential tools to make the cooking process efficient and enjoyable.

  1. Instant Pot: You will need an Instant Pot preferably with a capacity of 6 quarts or more to accommodate the chickpeas and other ingredients. This versatile pressure cooker simplifies the cooking process and ensures consistent results.
  2. Silicone Spatula: A silicone spatula is perfect for stirring and mixing the ingredients without scratching the inner pot of the Instant Pot.
  3. Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are crucial for achieving the right balance of spices and flavors.
  4. Mixing Bowl: Use a mixing bowl to soak the chickpeas overnight before cooking.
  5. Knife and Cutting Board: Essential for chopping onions, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger.

These tools will ensure that your cooking process is smooth and your Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay turns out perfectly every time.

Preparation Steps

In this section, you will learn how to prepare your Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay. Follow these steps to ensure your dish turns out delicious every time.

Pre-Cooking the Chickpeas

  1. Soak Chickpeas: Rinse 2 cups of dried chickpeas under cold water. Place them in a large bowl and cover with 4 inches of water. Let soak overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  2. Drain and Rinse: Drain the soaked chickpeas and rinse them well under running water.
  3. Cook Chickpeas: Add the soaked chickpeas to the Instant Pot. Cover them with 6 cups of water. Seal the lid and set the Instant Pot to Manual or Pressure Cook mode for 20 minutes. Once done, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.
  4. Strain and Reserve: Strain the cooked chickpeas, reserving the cooking liquid. Set the chickpeas and the liquid aside.

Preparing the Masala

  1. Chop Onions: Finely chop 2 medium onions and set aside.
  2. Dice Tomatoes: Dice 2 large tomatoes and set them aside separately from the onions.
  3. Make Ginger-Garlic Paste: Peel and roughly chop a 1-inch piece of ginger and 4 garlic cloves. Blend together in a small food processor to form a smooth paste.
  4. Measure Spices: Gather your spices: 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon of chole masala powder, 1 teaspoon of red chili powder, and salt to taste. Set them aside in small bowls or cups for easy use during cooking.

Cooking Instructions

This section provides detailed steps for making Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay. Follow these instructions for a delicious and authentic dish.

Cooking In The Instant Pot

  1. Sauté the Aromatics: Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and let it heat up. Once hot, add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  2. Cook the Onions: Add 1 finely chopped onion and sauté until golden brown. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add Ginger-Garlic Paste: Add 1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 2 minutes until the raw smell disappears.
  4. Incorporate Tomatoes: Add 2 finely diced tomatoes and cook until they turn soft and the oil starts to separate from the masala, around 5-6 minutes.
  5. Mix the Spices: Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of red chili powder, 1 teaspoon of chole masala powder, and 1 teaspoon of garam masala powder. Stir well to combine.
  6. Combine Chickpeas: Add 2 cups of soaked and drained chickpeas to the pot. Mix thoroughly with the masala to ensure the chickpeas are well-coated.
  7. Add Water: Pour in 2 cups of water and stir.
  8. Pressure Cook: Seal the Instant Pot lid, set the valve to the sealing position, and pressure cook on high for 35 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure manually.

Finishing Touches

  1. Mash Chickpeas: Once cooking is complete, use a silicone spatula to mash some of the chickpeas against the side of the pot to achieve a thick, creamy texture.
  2. Tweak Spices: Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add more salt, chole masala, or garam masala according to preference.
  3. Thicken Sauce: If the consistency is too watery, set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and simmer until the desired thickness is achieved. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  4. Garnish and Serve: Finally, garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve hot with naan or basmati rice.

This method ensures that your Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay is flavorful, creamy, and perfect every time.

Assembling and Garnishing

Once your Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay is perfectly cooked, it’s time to bring it all together with a few finishing touches. Follow these steps for a beautifully presented, delicious dish.

Final Touches

  1. Taste and Adjust Seasoning:
  • Open your Instant Pot and give the cholay a good stir.
  • Taste the dish to check for seasoning. Add salt or more spices as needed.
  1. Mash Some Chickpeas:
  • Use the back of a large spoon or a potato masher to lightly mash some of the chickpeas.
  • This will help thicken the gravy and give your cholay that classic creamy texture.
  1. Add Fresh Cilantro and Green Chilies:
  • Chop a handful of fresh cilantro and slice 1-2 green chilies lengthwise.
  • Stir in the cilantro and green chilies, saving a bit for garnishing.
  1. Drizzle with Lemon Juice:
  • Squeeze half a lemon over the dish to add a burst of freshness.
  • Stir well to combine.

Presentation and Serving

  1. Cilantro and Chilies:
  • Sprinkle the reserved chopped cilantro and sliced green chilies on top.
  1. Ginger Juliennes:
  • Thinly slice a 1-inch piece of ginger into matchstick-sized pieces.
  • Scatter the ginger juliennes over the cholay for an added zing.
  1. Onion Rings:
  • Thinly slice a small red onion into rings.
  • Arrange these onion rings over the top for a crunchy texture and a pop of color.
  1. Serve:
  • Serve your Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay piping hot alongside naan or basmati rice.

Following these steps, you’ll ensure your dish is as visually appealing as it is delicious, adding those essential last touches that bring out the best in your Punjabi Chikar Cholay.

Serving Suggestions

Pair with Indian Breads

Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay pairs beautifully with various types of Indian breads. Serve with naan, roti, or kulcha to soak up every bit of the flavorful gravy. Another excellent option is serving it alongside hot, fluffy bhature for a classic Punjabi experience.


Complement your dish with a side of onion rings, lemon wedges, and green chilies to add a fresh, tangy, and spicy kick. A side of cooling cucumber raita or simple yogurt can balance the spices, providing a creamy contrast to the rich, spiced chickpeas.

Rice Varieties

For a hearty meal, serve Chikar Cholay with steamed basmati rice or jeera rice. The plain or subtly flavored rice complements the bold flavors of the chickpeas, making for a satisfying and wholesome dish.

Garnishing Tips

As mentioned earlier, garnish your Chikar Cholay with freshly chopped cilantro, ginger juliennes, and a squeeze of lemon juice for an added burst of freshness and color. These garnishes not only enhance taste but also elevate the visual appeal of your dish, making it more inviting.

Beverage Pairings

Pairing your Chikar Cholay with a refreshing beverage can enhance the overall dining experience. A chilled glass of mango lassi, buttermilk (chaas), or even a simple glass of water infused with mint and lemon can be perfect companions, balancing the spicy and creamy flavors of the dish.

Following these serving suggestions, you’ll ensure that your Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay is enjoyed to its fullest potential, offering a well-rounded and authentic Punjabi meal experience.


Instant Pot Punjabi Chikar Cholay offers a delicious and authentic taste of North Indian cuisine right in your kitchen. With the creamy texture of mashed chickpeas and the aromatic blend of spices, this dish is sure to impress.

Pair it with Indian breads or basmati rice, and don’t forget the garnishes and accompaniments to elevate your dining experience. Whether you’re serving it with mango lassi or buttermilk, this meal is bound to be a hit.

Enjoy the rich flavors and convenience of cooking with an Instant Pot, making your culinary journey both enjoyable and hassle-free.

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