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Quick Chole and Paneer (Tofu) Curry with Greens

I have met many people here in the States who have told me that they love Indian food but are intimidated to try their hand at cooking it. Just because of a usual long list of ingredients and the prep work involved. And I agree. However, I feel that just having 2-3 basic Indian spices in your pantry is a game changer if you want to try your hand at Indian cooking for the first time. And as you start liking what you are cooking, you can keep adding to your masala dabba..:). As I have mentioned in my Indian Spices post, try to buy spices from the bulk section of your store, if it offers one. That saves you from storing the spices for too long and eventually loose most of the flavor. At bulk section, you can buy as little or as much as you would like and not end up buying 100 gm or 4 oz packs. If you do end up buying bigger packs of some spices, you can store them in the freezer to prolong freshness.

This recipe is very versatile and forgiving. There are three major components – 1. A can of Chole/Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans; 2. Paneer or Tofu; 3. Greens – Bok choy, kale or spinach – whatever makes your skirt fly up..:P. Then there are the usual culprits – garlic, onions and tomatoes. Plus the spices – turmeric, cumin powder and garam masala. Oh and salt. There you have it.

Nutritional value of this recipe is hard to beat – protein from beans, greens and dairy (or tofu); medicinal value that turmeric, cumin and garam masala add; veggies; and healthy fats (olive oil). So its a package deal!!

Adapted from a recipe by BevCooks


Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans – 1 can or 1 ¼ cup cooked

Olive oil – 3 tablespoons (divided)

Paneer or Tofu – 1 batch paneer recipe/ 400gm paneer/ 1 block of extra-firm tofu

Greens – 1 lb baby bok choy or 1 bunch of kale or spinach

White onion – 1 small

Tomatoes – 2 big

Green chili – 1 (optional)

Garlic – 3 cloves or 1 ½ teaspoon

Cilantro – 5 sprigs (optional)

Turmeric – ½ teaspoon

Cumin seeds – 1 tablespoon

Garam masala – ½ tablespoon

Salt and pepper – to taste


In a small pan set over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, cool and then grind them up in a mortar and pestle or simply by wrapping in a paper towel and beating the life out of them with a rolling Finely dice the onion and tomatoes and mince garlic. Chop the green chili and cilantro (if using). Chop the greens into small chunks. If you are using baby bok choy, take the leaves apart, wash and then cut because sometimes there is a lot of dirt trapped in the base of those leaves. You may or may not want to keep the stem part of bok choy. Entirely up to your liking. My favorite green to use in this recipe is baby bok choy – which is technically a cabbage. Followed by kale and then spinach.

Cut the paneer or tofu into cubes. If you are using extra-firm tofu, PLAN AHEAD. Drain it from the package, wrap the block in few layers of paper towels and put something heavy on it to drain it out further. Keep for at least 30 minutes.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

Set a medium skillet on medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and once it is nice and shiny, add the chopped greens. Add some salt, mix and cook until wilted – about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet. Add the remaining oil into the skillet and lower the heat to medium. Add minced garlic, chopped onion and green chili. Cook for about 2 minutes and then add turmeric and toasted cumin powder. And get ready to die from the beautiful aroma that will fill your kitchen. Sauté for a minute and then add chopped tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add about a ¼-cup water along with chickpeas. Cover and let cook for 5 minutes.

Add the greens along with paneer/tofu cubes. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garam masala. Give everything a big mix, cover and cook another 5-7 minutes for the flavors to mingle. Check seasonings, sprinkle chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice or roti. Enjoy!

Love – Vaishali.

Tools used:



Knife and chopping board

Measuring cups and spoons


Mortar and pestle


  1. McKenzie

    January 11, 2019 at 11:16 am

    This looks so good! I haven’t had curry in awhile. I need to make this!

    1. Vaishali

      January 11, 2019 at 11:36 am

      Thanks McKenzie. I hope you’ll enjoy this..:)

  2. Renee

    January 11, 2019 at 11:26 am

    That looks delicious! My sister will love this recipe. I will share with her!

    1. Vaishali

      January 11, 2019 at 11:36 am

      Thanks Renee. Let me know if your sister likes it..:)

  3. Mrs. Type A

    January 11, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    This look amazing. Thank you for making the direction so easy to follow!

    1. Vaishali

      January 11, 2019 at 1:53 pm

      You are welcome. Thanks for stopping by..:)

  4. Judy

    January 11, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    I’m not a fan of tofu but I think my sister in law would love this. I’ll be showing her this to see if she would like to make it!

  5. Neil Alvin Nicerio

    January 11, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    I’m a fan of your blog. I really enjoy the mouth watering dish you make. I tried some of course. This one, I’ll check the market later for the ingredients.

  6. Keshia Richmond

    January 11, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    I like that greens are included in this recipe. They are so yummy.

  7. siennylovesdrawing

    January 12, 2019 at 12:49 am

    Woow!! Very nice simple recipe you have shared here!! Love it!! thank you : D
    cheers, siennylovesdrawing

  8. Kalyani Khoda

    January 12, 2019 at 8:10 am

    I love cooking Indian dishes! My husband loves paneer, and I love chole so this is a match made in heaven. And it’s delicious and good for you. You really can’t go wrong with this recipe.

    1. Vaishali

      January 12, 2019 at 11:52 am

      Thanks Kalyani. I agree it is a great combination of flavors.

  9. Jolie Starrett

    January 12, 2019 at 11:58 am

    This looks good! Saving for later.

  10. Hackytips

    January 12, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    Full of protein, healthy and looks delicious. I was looking for some new curry recipes to try and came through your post. Love the combination of Paneer & Chole. Never thought that they could go together 😀

  11. Chantelle Hadden

    January 12, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    It’s definitely a great combination of flavours, thanks for sharing.

  12. Emilio Marcos Sierra

    January 12, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I’m not a fan of Tofu but it looks amazing!

  13. Belle

    January 12, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    It’s nice to see a vegetarian dish. I’ll definitely be trying this one, thank you 😊

  14. CARMEN

    January 13, 2019 at 12:59 am

    I have lots of Indian friends, and they usually cook Indian foods for us. But you are correct, I never tried cooking any because of the long list ingredients and spices and longer prep work. I don’t want to waste the spices if I will only cook Indian foods once in a while. Thanks for your tip though when buying spices! I will share this with my friends and have them cook this for me. hahaha

  15. Ivan Jose

    January 13, 2019 at 1:19 am

    I am actually one of those people intimidated by Indian food. Anyway, I love peas and tofu! This is a must-try combination. Also, I do enjoy reading your food posts.

  16. Honest Reader

    January 13, 2019 at 9:06 am

    This looks really delicious and easy. I love curry and have really not had it in a long time. I may have to add this to my recipe book!

  17. blair villanueva

    January 15, 2019 at 3:24 am

    wow this looks delicious! I love eating greens and this is perfect for my food lifestyle.

  18. Elizabeth O

    January 15, 2019 at 7:03 am

    I love Indian cuisine and have had some spectacular dishes in my day. Aside from Mutter Paneer, this is also one of my favorites.

  19. Samantha Flores

    January 16, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    Another nice recipe to save for future meals! Thanks for sharing.

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