Main Dishes

Chickpea Curry (Chole)

Chickpea Curry / Chole
Written by Malena

Chickpea Curry is a traditional dish from India, where it is also called Chole. It is mostly served with Bhatura, a very fluffy and super delicious bread that bloats up while frying and almost looks like a balloon. It is a little bit difficult and time consuming to make it at home though, so I always eat Chole with rice, which is just as good.

You don’t like chickpeas?

If you don’t like chickpeas, you can also prepare this dish with any other kind of legume, which makes this recipe super versatile. You basically cook the dish the same way and instead of the chickpeas, you add the same amount of any other bean/pea at the end.

It takes a lot of time to cook chickpeas (soaking overnight + 3h cooking time), so I always use organic chickpeas in a glass container from the store.

Try different variations!

But my favorite variation of this recipe is with black eyed peas. They are super easy to cook from scratch, so it is a bit healthier than using store bought beans/peas. Black eyed peas just need to be soaked for about 30 minutes, then rinsed and cooked in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover them for around 15 minutes (counting after first whistle). They are super tasty and much softer than chickpeas!

This recipe generally calls for a good amount of oil, which makes it really tasty. To keep the great taste but make it a little bit healthier I use coconut oil. I would not recommend olive oil for this. 

Simply start out with heating the oil and frying the seeds, bay leaves, onions, ginger and garlic. Then you add the chole/chana masala powder. You can get this at any Indian/Asian supermarket or online. Then you need to cook the onion mix for quite some time, stiring in between and adding few amounts of water to keep it from burning. It should look like in the picture below, where you see everything turning a bit brown and the oil starts to kind of ooze out and collect in patches. 

chole / chickpea curry

Add the chopped tomatoes:

chole / chickpea curry

Add water and dry spices. Stir well and cook for 5-10 minutes to soften the tomatoes. It’s done when you can see the oil collecting on top again and the tomatoes have become a bit squishy. 

chole / chickpea curry

Now it is time to add the chickpeas/beans/peas or whatever you decide to use. Add some water along with it. Cook for another 5 minutes if you use chickpeas. Black eyed peas are generally much softer and don’t need any further cooking anymore. 

chole / chickpea curry

Season with salt, pepper and add the tomato paste. The paste will make it more creamy and not so runny. Now it is up to you how you like the consistency. I like it more on the saucy side and not so runny, but it should be liquid enough so that I can mix it with the rice. Experiment with how much water you want to add. If it is too thick, add more water. If it is too runny, cook it further until it thickens to the point you like. 

Remove the bay leaves in the end, they are not supposed to be eaten.

chole / chickpea curry

Chickpea/Bean Curry (Chole)
Serves 2
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  1. 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  2. ½ tsp mustard seeds
  3. 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  4. A pinch of asafateida/hing
  5. 3 bay leaves
  6. 2 small onions, finely chopped
  7. 2 big garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  8. 1 inch piece fresh ginger, fineyl chopped or grated
  9. 3 medium tomatoes, very finely chopped
  10. 1 big tbsp. chole/chana masala powder
  11. 1 glass of chickpeas/beans
  12. Salt to taste
  13. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  14. 1 tsp coriander powder
  15. 1 tsp garam masala powder
  16. 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  1. Heat the coconut oil on medium flame in a medium sized pot.
  2. When warm, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafateida and bay leaves. The seeds should make a popping sound. Fry for about 30-60 seconds depending on the heat, they can easily burn.
  3. Then add garlic and ginger (I prefer to grate them), cook for another 30-60 seconds.
  4. Add onions and cook until translucent.
  5. Add chole/chana masala powder, stir well and fry for 5 minutes or until oil starts to collect on the top. Add a little water every once in a while to prevent any burning.
  6. Add tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water. Then stir in turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala and some salt. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until oil starts to collect at the top. If you feel the mixture is getting too dry, add a little more water in between.
  7. Add chickpeas and a little more water and cook for another 5 minutes.
  8. Add tomato paste and stir well. Check the consistency. You want a saucy texture, liquid enough to be eaten with rice. If it is too dry, add some water and cook for another minute. If too liquid or runny, keep cooking until you like the consistency.

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