Cholay - Chickpea Curry

    45 minutes

    This is a fragrant and flavourful recipe from North India, usually eaten with fried bread like bhatura or puri. I like to serve it with rice for a filling vegetarian meal.

    108 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 2 cups water
    • 1 tea bag (darjeeling or English breakfast will do)
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 (400g) tins chickpeas, drained
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
    • 1 onion, sliced
    • 3 tomatoes, chopped
    • small handful chopped fresh coriander
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
    • 1 clove garlic, grated
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • cayenne pepper to taste

    Preparation:20min  ›  Cook:25min  ›  Ready in:45min 

    1. Place the water, tea bag and bay leaf into a pot, and bring water to a boil. Stir all but 100g of the chickpeas into the boiling water. When beans are heated through, discard the tea bag and bay leaf. Remove from heat. Drain the chickpeas, reserving the water; set aside.
    2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, and sauté the sliced onion until tender. Remove from heat, cool and mix in the 100g of unboiled chickpeas, 1 tomato, and 1/2 the chopped coriander. Set aside.
    3. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Blend in the ground coriander, cumin seeds, ginger and garlic. Cook and stir for 15 to 20 seconds, until lightly browned. Mix in the turmeric. Stir the chopped onion into the frying pan, and cook until tender. Mix in the remaining tomatoes. Season with salt, cayenne pepper and garam masala. Bring this to a boil, and cook about 5 minutes. Stir in the boiled chickpeas, sliced onion mixture, and enough of the reserved water to attain a thick, gravy-like consistency. Continue to cook and stir 5 minutes. Garnish with the remaining chopped coriander to serve.

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    Reviews in English (66)


    Used different ingredients. It's actually a fairly easy recipe that doesn't take nearly as much preparation time as suggested, especially if you use canned tomatoes. In addition, while it is mild in flavour this is a recipe that is easy to alter to your own taste. For a thicker, more curry-like and spicier sauce, just add some sour cream/nonfat plain yoghurt, curry, and red capsicum to taste. (Probably heavy cream could be used too.) Extra tumeric will give it that yellow colour. Highly recommended, especially if you like chickpeas. Use it as a base or enjoy experimenting. Either way, it is delicious.  -  29 Sep 2008


    Altered ingredient amounts. Excellent recipe. It took me two tries to get it just right though. I adjusted some items the second time I made it as follows. First, I reduced the amount of Chickpeas to one can while keeping the other amounts the same. I personally like this ratio better, and it left lots of extra gravy for rice or naan. Next, I used a high quality, rich black tea to heat the chickpeas. Third, it definitely needs the salt added. Don't underestimate this. Last I added a fair amount of cayenne to make it nice and spicy (again my preference).  -  29 Sep 2008


    Used different ingredients. I tasted it while it was still in the pan (during that last five minutes of cooking) and I was pretty disappointed in the flavour. So then I added another round of spices, including cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp. garam masala, 1/8 tsp. curry powder, and 1/8 tsp. garlic salt. I let it cook for another ten minutes so that all the chickpeas were soft. I served it on top of brown rice and it is delicious. Instead of a tea bag I used some loose Indian-spiced rooibos. I would definitely make this again, I will just be sure to double the spices.  -  29 Sep 2008