Cholay (Curried Chickpeas)

Cholay (Curried Chickpeas)


97 people made this

About this recipe: This is a fragrant and flavourful chickpea curry from North India, usually eaten with fried bread like bhatura or puri. I like to serve it over rice for a filling vegetarian meal. This recipe is much quicker to make if you use tinned chickpeas as called for here, but try it with dried - I like to think that the authentic flavour comes from doing it the hard way!


Serves: 6 

  • 450ml (16 fl oz) 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 root ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch garam masala (optional)

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

  1. Place the water, tea bag and bay leaf into a pot, and bring water to the boil. Reserving about 100g (4 oz) of the chickpeas, stir the remaining 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 and setting it 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 reserved, 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 the tomato liquid 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 (4)


This was a delicious option for a vegetarian curry. I served with pulao rice and sag aloo. Wonderful! - 22 Oct 2008


I've never heard of using tea in a dish like this so had to try it - Very tasty! - 06 Aug 2012


- 29 Nov 2012

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