Mamta's Kitchen

Chickpea Curry (Cholae) In Every Day Curry Sauce

Chole Curry

Mamta Gupta

This is a favourite of my daughters Kavita and Neeta who love it served with freshly made Poori or Tandoori Roti. It is not very highly spiced though spices can be adjusted to make it hotter.

It can be a quick dish, if you use tinned boiled chick peas. Leftover curry freezes very well. Serves 7-8

Edited March 2019


  • 400 gm. dry or 800 gm. tinned chickpeas in brine

  • 1/4 tsp. or a large pinch of soda bicarbonate (optional)

  • 2 medium to large onions, peeled

  • 1/4 inch piece of ginger

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (optional)

  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped finely or 200 gm. tinned tomatoes. If tomatoes are unavailable, 1/2 cup of natural yoghurt can be used instead

  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • 2-3 large brown cardamoms-optional

  • 2-3 bay leaves-optional

  • 6-8 cloves-optional

  • 6-8 black peppers-optional

  • 1-2 inch cinnamon stick-optional

  • 1 small pinch of asafoetida

  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder

  • 1 tsp. of coriander powder

  • Salt to taste

  • 1-2 tsp. ready made chana masala (optional)*

  • 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala

  • A small bunch of coriander leaves, washed and chopped finely

  • 1-2-3 cups of water, depending upon how thick you want you curry gravy/sauce

  • *Almost everyone in India adds this to their chickpea curry or Chana Masala. It is worth keeping a packet in your cupboard. You can add it to dals too.


  1. Clean, wash & soak chickpeas overnight in water, to which soda bicarbonate has been added. Soda bicarb makes the chickpeas softer faster, but is not essential.

  2. Boil the chick peas in a pressure cooker in the same water containing Soda bicarbonate, for 15-20 minutes or boil briskly for 1 to 1-2 hour, until soft. If using tinned chickpeas, drain and rinse them.

  3. Crush a few chick peas slightly by pressing with a ladle. This will make the gravy/sauce thicker.

  4. Peel, wash and chop onions, ginger and garlic in a food processor or (finely) by hand.

  5. Heat oil in a pan.

  6. Add cumin seeds, a pinch of asafoetida and other optional whole spices, if used. Let the cumin seeds splutter/crackle.

  7. Add onions, ginger and garlic & fry until golden to dark brown (not burnt).

  8. Add ll powdered spices, salt and chana masala, leaving garam masala out. Stir for 10 seconds to release flavours.

  9. Add tomatoes and stir fry until oil separates.

  10. Add chick peas, stir and add water. How much gravy you want is a personal choice. I usually have it with a fair amount of gravy and serve it in bowls.

  11. Adjust salt and chilli to your own taste and likes.

  12. Cook briskly for 15 minutes or cook under pressure for 3-4 minutes. I pressure cook them for 3-4 minutes, even when they are pre-boiled or tinned, just to make them a bit softer.

  13. Take off the heat.

  14. Add garam masala and coriander leaves, saving a few leaves for garnish.

  15. Serve hot with Poori or Plain Paratha or Nan or Tandoori Roti or Chapatti, garnished with remaining coriander leaves.

  16. You can garnish with fried onion slices.


  • South Indian Style Curry): At step 5 and 6, change the 'tarka' like this; Heat oil. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and a handful of curry patta (curry leaves). When mustard seeds splutter, add onion, ginger and garlic and proceed as above.

  • You can add a couple of boiled potatoes cut into bite size pieces, towards the end.

  • You can also serve it with one egg per person, cooked on top of each chickpea portion, see picture.

  • Slow Cooker Chickpeas: To make chickpeas curry in a slow cooker or crock pot, you need to boil them first. Put the soaked and drained chickpeas, water and a little salt in the cooker. Leave to cook on high setting for 4-5 hours, until chickpeas are cooked. Meanwhile, make the masala mix as in steps 5 to 9. Add this to the slow cooker, mix, add water if they look dry. Leave to cook on 'low' for further 4-5 hours, until chickpeas are quite soft. Mash a few with a masher or spoon. This will make the gravy thick.

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