A distinctively dark chickpea curry stew cooked with tomatoes

The glittering city of Amritsar, in India’s Punjab State, is widely believed to be the birthplace of this hearty chickpea curry. Whether eaten in humble dhabas (roadside restaurants) or ordered á la carte in exclusive ?ne dining havens, this curry loses none of its authentic charms. Flavoured by a selection of whole spices tempered with herbs, this is a curry that’s hard to resist. If you ever eat Chole in Amritsar, you are sure to go back for another helping.

Preparation times: 45 Minutes
Cooking time: 45 Minutes
Serves: 6
Taste: Medium

For the chickpeas
2 cups dried chickpeas
2 cups water
4 black tea bags
1-2 bay leaves
4-5 black cardamom
1 tsp oil
1 tsp salt, to taste

For the gravy

  • 3-4 Tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 Tbsp ginger paste
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp dry mango powder
  • 1 tsp chana masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2cup fresh coriander leaves chopped

For the chickpeas

  • Soak chickpeas overnight in 4 cups of water.
  • Drain the chickpeas and discard the soaking water. Place the chickpeas with 2 cups of fresh water, the whole spices, bay leaves, tea bags and oil into a large pot and bring to the boil on a high heat.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chickpeas are soft.
  • Strain the chickpeas, reserving the cooking liquid and whole spices (discard the tea bags). Keep the chickpeas and the cooking liquor aside.

For the gravy

  • Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan and add chopped onions, sauté until golden-brown in colour. Add garlic paste, stir, add ginger paste, stir and sauté for 1–2 minutes.
  • Turn heat down to low. Add chopped tomatoes along with red chilli powder, cumin, coriander powder, dry mango powder and chana masala powder, stir and sauté gently until the tomatoes become soft and oil starts to separate from the mix.
  • Add chickpeas and salt to the tomato masala, mix well so that the chickpeas are well coated. Then add 1 cup of the chickpea cooking liquid along with its spices, stir well, cover and let the gravy come to a boil on high heat (you can add more or less liquid to the chickpeas depending on how thick you like the gravy).
  • Add garam masala, green chillies and salt to taste (take care as there is already salt in the chickpea’s cooking liquid), mix well. Cover and simmer the chickpeas on medium heat for 6–8 minutes until the gravy thickens and oil surfaces again.

Garnish with chopped coriander on top.
Serve hot with Bhatura

Ruby's Tip: Using tea bags while boiling the chickpeas is unique to this dish and gives it a distinctive dark colour.