Thursday, June 6, 2013

Chole Palak (Chickpeas and Spinach in Tomato based gravy)

Today is Vegan Thursday :) I am part of the Vegan Thursday group started by Priya Suresh of Priya's versatile recipes. On the first and last thursday of every month, we post vegan recipes and share with the group. I am sharing the recipe of Chole Palak or Palak Chana : ) I first came to taste this dish when one of my colleagues brought it for lunch. At my home, we usually prepare the plain Chana Masala (North Indian Style) or Kadala Curry (Chickpeas in coconut milk gravy or roasted coconut gravy which is Kerala Style). But adding spinach or Palak to Chickpeas or Chole makes the dish even more healthier. By the way, I am yet to post the Kerala style Chickpeas or Chole curry yet on the blog. Another recipe to be noted on my to do list :) 

Its summer here. This week, the climate has been good in my opinion. Our days start with foggy mornings (Only problem with foggy morning is we dont feel like getting up :(.. ) which give away to bright sun and mild hot weather in the afternoons. Again the evenings are cool with nice breeze. Well, I love it :) I wish the climate stays like this and doesnt get hotter !!! But I do miss the greenery and heavy rains in fact the monsoon season which have started in Kerala... I dont know.. I guess we always feel like the other side is greener :) Same like my sis envies the bright and hot summer of CA and I yearn for the greenery and light rain in her place :) May be I am having vacation blues :) Still not come out of the short vacation I enjoyed at my sis's place I guess ... 

Same like the climate that keep changing through out the day  here, I feel my mood also keeps changing... All of a sudden today, I am missing my best friends and yearn for their company and the happy memories we had together... Not sure why... Long time since we laughed together or chatted together... All are busy in their lives and then again distance plays another crippling factor that prevents frequent get together s. But when we meet, it is as if we have never separated... Laughter, sharing joys, Sorrows and other stories.. I guess even after being married, every one needs to spend one day with friends if possible every month or may be every 3 months or so. We used to tell each other that after marriage we should be neighbours and walk in and out of every one's house as often as we could and what fun it would be actually to stay as neighbours and share everything. The good thing after coming here is we have actually formed such friendships with our neighbours !!! Isnt that wonderful? I keep walking in and out of my neighbour's place as and when I like and in the day, we spent separate hours only when we are cooking, taking bath or having lunch with our husbands. We roam with my neighbour cum friend's kids through out our apartments; through the roads; plucking flowers ; entertaining the kids and laughing ... Its wonderful therapy:) Evenings we go back to our homes again to cook dinner and spend the rest of the evening with our husbands... Week ends are ofcourse family times... It has become such a routine that I hate any deviations in any of these, through the week !!! I am so glad and happy and would like to Thank God for sending us friends where ever we are to keep us company and as our guiding lights !!! Now from the philosophical note to the recipe :)

Chole Palak or Palak Chana or Chickpeas and Spinach in Tomato based gravy:


1.5 cup Chickpeas or Chana
1 big onion ( Please note the onions we get in US are very very big !! ) 
2 small Tomatoes
1 inch ginger
2 - 3 garlic cloves
1/2 of a green chilly
1 Tbsp chilli powder
1/4 Tbsp Turmeric powder
1 Tbsp Coriander Powder
1 - 2 Tbsp Garam Masala (Preferrably home made Garam Masala with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper corns, fennel seeds)
3/4 cup  chopped Spinach leaves
1 Tbsp Oil
Coriander leaves for garnishing


Step 1: Wash chickpeas and soak overnight or soak for 8 hrs. 
Step 2: Cut onion, green chilly, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and spinach leaves.

Method of Preparing:

Step 1:

Pressure cook chickpeas after adding salt and water for 5 to 6 whistles till they become soft.

Step 2:

Heat 1 Tbsp Oil in a pan and when the oil becomes hot, add the onions and saute till they become soft.

Step 3:

Then add ginger and garlic paste. Saute for 2 min. 

Step 4:

Add green chilly and saute for 2 min.

Step 5:

Add tomatoes and stir they start becoming soft. 

Step 6:

Now switch off and cool. Once cooled, grind to a smooth paste with out adding water (if possible). 

Step 7:

Heat the same pan used for sauteing the onion-tomatoes and add 1 Tbsp oil. When the oil becomes hot, add the ground onion-tomato paste and saute till they start leaving oil. 

Step 8: 

Add turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala and saute till the masala gets cooked. (with in 5 min)

Step 9:

Now add the spinach leaves and saute till they become half cooked. Add salt and mix well.

Step 10:

Add chickpeas and water as required for the gravy and cover and cook for 10 -15 min. Switch off and garnish with coriander leaves. 

Serve hot with rice or Idiyappam or Chappathi. 

  • Speed up the process by adding spinach, chickpeas and water at the same time and then pressure cooking for 1 whistle.
  • Instead of water, you can add coconut milk for a variation.
  • You can also blanch and puree spinach and add to the gravy. Gives a greenish color to the gravy instead of the usual reddish orange gravy. 

Sending the recipe to Gayathri's WTML event hosted by Shruti's Rasoi for this month. 

Also sending the recipe to MLLA 60, an event started By Susan of "The Well seasoned Cook Blog" and now taken over by Lisa of "Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen". This month the event is hosted by "Nupur of One Hot Stove".

Sending the recipe to the event "Mission Explore: Lentils", a brain child of Sheelu and Pallavi. For June, the event is hosted by my favorite blogger Rafeeda of the blog "The big Sweet tooth". 


  1. Hi Avika,
    Spinach in chole is a novel idea. I think very healthy too. The recipe is worth trying. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Interesting combo.. have never made channa with spinach.. tasty and healthy.. :)

  3. Delicious chole palak, you have done prefectly and looks droolworthy.

  4. Nice one... Chole and SPinach is a interesting combo.. Will try out soon

  5. What a beautiful recipe!!!I love the combo. Mouthwatering!!!!

  6. wow that is healthy and so nutritious!!! perfect with rice or pulao or roti!!!
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