Indian Chickpea Curry: Chola

Indian Chickpea Curry: Chola

This is a classic Punjabi curry dish that is commonly eaten in Northern India. Our family's version is super spicy! This curry doesn't use any turmeric, which is quite unusual. In Northern India, it is typically served with a fried bread called "bhatura", but poori will also do! Rice and chola are one of our standard bento dishes.

Ingredients: 2-3 servings

Chickpeas (canned)
1/2 large
Green chili peppers
1 tablespoon
3 cloves
as needed
Vegetable oil
5-7 tablespoons
#Garam masala
1 spoon
#Cumin powder
1-1.5 spoons
#Coriander powder
2 spoons
#Red chili pepper powder
1 spoon
※ Cumin seeds
1 teaspoon
※ Red chili peppers
※ Cloves


1. Rinse the chickpeas in water. Dice the onion into large pieces, mince the green chili peppers, ginger, and garlic, then prepare the roux as you would for making tomato and potato based curries. Add the whole spices marked with ※, powdered spices marked with #, and salt. Then, add the vegetable oil to taste. I recommend using 7 tablespoons!!
2. This is how your roux should look. An easy way to tell if your roux is ready: the oil starts separating from the roux, and the spices become pleasingly aromatic.
3. Add the chickpeas to the finished roux.
4. Add water to cover the chickpeas, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Feel free to use a pressure cooker to save time.
5. It's ready when the chickpeas become well saturated with the flavors of the soup.
6. P.S.: Here's the secret to our family's curry. Mash about 1/3 of the chickpeas with a ladle to enhance the creaminess of the soup. This will help the chickpeas blend well with the soup, and allow you to thoroughly enjoy the spicy roux.
7. Bonus tip: These are called "bhatura". They look like poori, but are fried bread with a soft and chewy texture. They go great with this curry!

Story Behind this Recipe

In temples, they serve this without onions and garlic, as a special Buddhist dish. My husband didn't care for this type of legume, but when I came up with a super spicy version, it's become one of his favorites. Sometimes, he even eats it all up!!!
Since the fried bread uses a lot of oil, as does the roux, you may not want to think about the amount of calories. But reducing the oil also will compromise the taste, so I recommend using the full 7 tablespoons of oil. Be sure to serve it piping hot.