Cholay (Curried Chickpeas) Recipe -
Cholay (Curried Chickpeas) Recipe
  • READY IN 45 mins

Cholay (Curried Chickpeas)

Recipe by  

"This is a very flavourful recipe from North India, usually eaten with fried bread like bhatura or puri. I like to serve it over rice for a very filling meal. You can also try it as a quick snack over toasted bread. This recipe is much quicker to make if you use precooked canned beans, but I like to think that the authentic flavour comes from doing it the hard way!"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    25 mins

    45 mins


  1. Place the 2 cups water, tea bag, and bay leaf into a pot, and bring water to a boil. Reserving about 1/2 cup garbanzo beans, stir the beans into the boiling water. When beans are heated through, discard the tea bag and bay leaf. Remove from heat. Drain the beans, reserving water, and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the sliced onion until tender. Remove from heat, cool, and mix in the reserved garbanzo beans, 1 tomato, and 1/2 the cilantro leaves. Set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over medium heat. Blend in the 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 skillet, 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 garbanzo beans, 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 cilantro leaves to serve.
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  • Note
  • If you are using dried garbanzo beans, soak them overnight (about 8 hours) and cook them in boiling water (enough to cover the beans) along with the bay leaf and tea bag until the beans are soft enough to mash with two fingers but still hold their shape. Remove the tea bag and bay leaf once the beans are cooked.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Mar 03, 2008

The best Cholay/Chana Masala recipie... as long as a couple of adjustments are made. 1. One can of chickpeas per batch 2. Use a strong robust black tea (Find a local Indian store and ask the clerk what their best tea is. For me it was Red Label orange pekoe) 3. Use a good amount of tea (about 1/8 cup per batch) 4. Don't split the beans in half, just dump the whole can in your tea-water 5. Boil down the tea water to about half, and throw everything else into this pot. (it helps to start the tea-water/chickpea process in a medium-large saucepan) One interesting variation is to add about 1/2c plain yogurt towards the end, this will add a little tangy, and give you more gravy to mix with your rice.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Sep 17, 2005

Bland. I even tried adding more spices at the end, and again when reheating, and that helped a little but not enough. Perhaps it's that most of the spices only get added to the onions; the tomatoes get them indirectly and the chickpeas only get added to the spiced mixture near the very end. It's probably that, combined with the tomatoes mellowing out the dish too much. <br> The "Chickpea Curry" recipe on this site is better (and easier).


73 Ratings

Mar 30, 2006

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).

Jan 30, 2006

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 flavor 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 yogurt, curry, and red pepper to taste. (Probably heavy cream could be used too.) Extra tumeric will give it that yellow color. Highly recommended, especially if you like garbonzo/chickpeas. Use it as a base or enjoy experimenting. Either way, it is delicious.

Jun 12, 2006

I tasted it while it was still in the pan (during that last five minutes of cooking) and I was pretty disappointed in the flavor. 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.

Dec 02, 2006

The way to make this taste it came from an Indian restuarant is to add a small can of tomato paste near the end of cooking. Much Improved!

Aug 19, 2005

Good start but a tad bland for may taste. Perhaps some curry paste or doubling the spice quantities. As others have mentioned, this is a rather involved recipe that requires numerous bowls, pans and pots. If you don't have a dishwasher or teenage kids, pass on this recipe.

Jan 24, 2011

This was a great starting point for a delicious pot of cholay. All I did was add another round of spices, along with some amchar (mango powder) and some channa masala powder. I also take out about a third of the final product, mash it up a little, and add it back in. Thanks for the recipe!


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  • Calories
  • 248 kcal
  • 12%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 40.2 g
  • 13%
  • Cholesterol
  • 0 mg
  • 0%
  • Fat
  • 6.7 g
  • 10%
  • Fiber
  • 8.3 g
  • 33%
  • Protein
  • 8.5 g
  • 17%
  • Sodium
  • 446 mg
  • 18%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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