I will be honest. I was never a fan of chole or spicy chickpeas curry. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved chickpeas, but mostly in its raw or boiled form. I love hummus and adding chickpeas to my salads. Until I started making it this way.
Masala chole is a very popular recipe in north India, which is coupled with rice. Also known as Punjabi chole, it is a staple meal for many households and it is healthy as well as delicious. Chickpeas are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The nutrients in them come with a host of health benefits such as improved digestion, weight management, reducing the occurrence of several diseases and offering protein to the body. Indian cuisines are blessed with pulses and legumes like these that are truly a blessing for good health.
How is masala chole made?
Chole is the Hindi word for chickpeas and masala refers to the spices in which it is cooked. Masala chole is a rich, thick gravy where chickpeas are boiled and then cooked with tomatoes, onions, basic aromatics, and basic Indian pantry spices. The result is spectacular and is arguably one of the tastiest vegan curries you can make.
There are tons of recipes for masala chole on the internet. I have found my perfect version after many trials and errors. This one is full proof and I am so sure you are going to love it.
The look of the curry
The color of a masala chole recipe is dark brown. And it is so for a reason. The chole is pressure cooked with a tea bag which releases its color and flavor onto the gravy, giving it a dark, rich hue. I have just added one for the quantity I used. You can add more or less depending on how dark you want the color to be.
I also soak the chickpeas in water along with a tea bag, so that’s two teabags in total. Try using a strong tea bag such as Assam tea for the best color.
A typical recipe of chole masala will have an additional tadka or seasoning in the end, which basically comprises of some ginger julienne being fried in ghee for a few seconds and then added to the curry. I have however skipped this step and added the ginger in the very beginning. It saves time and also does not really make much of a difference.
Make it vegan
If you are a vegan, this curry can become one of your favorite. Just skip the ghee and add vegetable oil or mustard oil while cooking. The rest of the processes remain as it is and you can make for yourself a truly delicious vegan chickpea curry.
Before boiling the chole, I soaked it in water overnight along with a tea bag. Chickpeas take some time to soften so make sure you leave them in water for eight to twelve hours.
Preparation time – 20 minutes
Cook time – 60 minutes
Serves – 2-3 people
- 150 g chole or chickpeas
- 500 ml water (for boiling)
- Salt to taste
- 2 teabags
- 2 tbsp ghee/mustard oil
- 30 g ginger julienne
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 tsp green chili paste
- 4 medium tomatoes, ground to a paste
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- A handful of Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- Coriander leaves for garnish
- Soak the chickpeas in water overnight along with a tea bag. Boil it with 2 tsp salt in a pressure cooker with about 500 ml water. About 7-8 whistles should allow the chickpeas to cool completely.
- In a kadhai, heat some ghee. Once it starts smoking and acquires a pale yellow color, add a bay leaf.
- Add the finely chopped onions to the ghee.
- Cook the onions gently for two-three minutes till they become transparent.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and the chili paste to the onions and stir till the raw aroma of the aromatics disappears.
- Once the raw aroma of the onions and ginger and garlic disappears, add the tomato paste. Saute this till all the water from the tomato reduces and a thick paste gets formed. This step is absolutely crucial otherwise you will have a curry with raw tomato smell.
- Season with salt, cumin powder (jeera), black pepper powder, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, and coriander powder. Mix well till the spices completely assimilate with the rest of the ingredients in the masala.
- Now add the boiled chickpeas and water to this cooked masala paste. Stir well and boil it in high heat till you get your desired consistency.
- A semi gravy is usually best for this curry. Once you reach this consistency, add a handful of Kasuri methi to the curry and stir.
- Just before you take it off the stove, add the fresh garam masala and give it one last stir.
- As a final step, garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve with roti, rice or pulao with onions, salad, and pickle.
I hope you try this really easy masala chole recipe at home. Do not forget to share your picture and tag it with #slurrpitup on Instagram.