This chickpeas-based curry is a popular Indian dish, which is typically served with pooris or bhatura (both flat breads). This curry is a gorgeous blend of whole and ground spices with a hint of tanginess. Chole masala originated in North India, and is widely popular across the country.
This dish was a regular feature in my home. As a I child, I used to look forward to the days when my mum made chole masla; it was served hot with freshly made puffed pooris and a wedge of lemon on the side.
Chole masala can be made with gravy or semi dry, depending on your preference. I like my chole less watery.
- Chickpeas – 1 1/2 cups
- Onion – 2 large
- Ginger- 1 inch piece, julienned
- Tomato purée – 2 1/2 cups
- Bay leaf – 1
- Cloves – 2
- Cardamom – 2
- Tea bags – 2
- Red chilli powder – 1 tspn
- Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
- Aamchur/ dry mango powder – 1/2 tspn
- Tamarind paste – 1/4 tspn
- Chole masala powder – 3 tspns
- Kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) – 1 tspn
- Coriander leaves – 1 tblspn, chopped
- Water – 4 cups
- Salt – To taste
- Oil – 2 Tblspns
Prep: Soak chickpeas in water overnight for 8 to 12 hours.
- Drain the water in which the chickpeas have been soaking.
- Place the soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker.
- Pour 4 cups of water. Along with it add cloves, cardamom, bay leaf and chickpeas.
- Cover pressure cooker and cook for 2 whistles.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, chop one whole onion finely.
- Cut the other onion into thin round slices. Keep aside.
- Once the cooker’s pressure settles, discard the whole spices and tea bags.
- Strain the water from the chickpeas, and reserve the stock to make the gravy.
- Heat oil in a skillet or pot, add chopped onions and fry till translucent.
- While the onions are cooking, add a few pieces of julienned ginger.
- Once the ginger is fragrant, add tomato purée.
- Allow it to cook so the raw smell of tomatoes is gone, and till oil separates from the purée.
- To this, add the dry spices excluding kasoori methi and tamarind paste.
- Stir to combine the spices and tomato-onion mixture.
- Add some of the strained chickpeas stock to thin the gravy down.
- Bring it to a boil. Add the boiled chickpeas. Mix well.
- At this stage, add salt, and more stock optionally to make the gravy dilute.
- Crush and sprinkle kasoori methi in the curry.
- Cover and cook on medium-low for 10 minutes.
- After the said time, the gravy would have reduced a bit.
- You could leave it at that if you want your curry semi-dry or add 1/2 to 1 cup water and proceed cooking it for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Whichever option you choose, once the curry had achieved the desired consistency, add slices onions and the remaining julienned ginger pieces on top of the curry.
- Additionally, garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Cover and keep the vessel on low flame for 2 minutes.
- Once done, turn the stove off and serve hot chole masala with flat breads or steamed white rice.
- This recipe does not require garlic. However if you choose to include it, add garlic paste while the chopped onions are cooking.
- If you don’t have tea bags, boil tea. Strain the tea and use the water in the gravy.
- Typically, anardana powder (powdered pomegranate seeds) is added. The chole masala powder I used, contained the ingredient so I skipped it.
- If you think the dish is too tangy for you, avoid using the tamarind paste.
- To make the curry more indulgent, cook it in ghee or butter.