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Curried chickpeas or Chole - Indian curry series 3

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

In this third installment, we are talking the very famous chole or chickpea curry. This dish is supposed to have originated is Punjab, but is known throughout Northern India in numerous versions. Each region uses a specific blend of spices, uses different types of chickpeas, from the regular to small dried black, green or even fresh chickpeas. This dish has moved from the table to small street stands where is is served with a large puffed and fried bhatoora or puri as a snack.

I have numerous recipes for this dish, but this is my favorite. Well balanced with spices and made with the small Indian black chickpeas, this dish is worth the long list of ingredients and many steps. I have used dried black chickpeas in this recipe, they have an earthy flavor, and are available at any Indian grocery store or online. However, you can substitute dried green chickpeas, regular dried chickpeas or fresh chickpeas. I also like to use dried chickpeas, or any dried lentil for that matter, I can control how much I cook them, leaving them with the perfect bite, not mushy like the ones out of a can.

It is from my favorite Indian cookbook, one that is a go to for any vegetarian recipe and a must for any cook who likes Indian vegetarian food.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


1 1/4 cups dried black chickpeas, soaked in water overnight

1 bay leaf

5 cups water


1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick

6 black peppercorns

5 green cardamom pods

8 whole cloves

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

You may substitute 2 tablespoons of any garam masala instead of the spices above, however, this specific spice proportion adds the magic to this dish.

5 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil, or a mix of ghee and oil

1 tablespoon ginger paste

2-4 green chiles, minced, or to taste

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste

Pinch asafoetida powder

1 large tomato, diced finely

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon aamchoor or dried green mango powder, or three tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons cilantro, minced Lime wedges

Bhatoora, puirs, naan bread or other Indian breads for serving

Soak the beans overnight. Change the water out and add the bay leaf and salt and bring to a simmer. Scoop the scum off the top of the water and simmer till the beans are cooked but retain a bite, about 13-15 minutes. Sieve the chickpeas out using a colander saving the cooking liquid. Cool the beans and set aside. You may choose to mash a 1/4 of the chickpeas now if you desire a thicker, creamier curry.

Toast each of the whole spices individually on a pan till lightly browned and aromatic. Cool completely and grind to a powder in a coffee mill. Set aside.

Heat the ghee/oil in a deep pot on medium heat. Add the ginger and green chilies and saute till browned. Turn down the heat and the asafoetida, turmeric, paprika, chili powder, and ground coriander powder and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and salt and mix well. Cook on medium heat till the tomatoes have broken down and a sauce has formed. Continue stirring till the oil separates from the curry and the paste begins to glisten.

Stir in the cooked chickpeas, and mashed chickpeas, the aamchoor and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Simmer for 10 minutes till the sauce is thick and begins to cling to the chickpeas. Sprinkle in the garam masala powder and 3/4 of the minced cilantro. Mix in well and take off the heat. Taste for salt and sourness adjusting as needed. Serve topped with the rest of the cilantro, lime wedges and bread of choice.

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