This delicious vegan chickpea curry called chole masala is a specialty of North India. Made by cooking chickpeas in a rich onion-garlic base and flavored with warm Indian spices, it's a must-try recipe.
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Chickpea is a very popular ingredient in North India. Though it’s eaten all over India, the North Indian chickpea curries are very popular. There are different ways of making chickpea curries and today I am sharing a very simple yet delicious Vegan Chickpea curry recipe- Chole masala without tomatoes.
Chole is the Hindi word for Chickpea. Another Hindi word for it is Kabuli chana. The presence of Kabul in the name itself proves that this ingredient which is loved so much in India was originated somewhere else.
Origin of Chickpeas
It’s believed that Chickpea was first grown in Turkey from there it traveled to the Mediterranean region, Middle East and then India via silk route.
This ingredient is so delicious and has so many health benefits that it became the key ingredient of many popular dishes of all the regions it traveled too. For e.g. Chickpea Soup of Greece and Hummus, Falafel, Bean Salad of the Middle East.
And, I have already shared how much it’s loved in India. Chole Chawal (Chickpea curry with rice) and Chole puri (Chickpea curry with fried bread) are some of the favorite weekend brunch recipes of almost every Indian.
Some of the readers shared with me that they can’t eat tomatoes because of health reasons and requested me to share more tomato-free recipes. This recipe will be useful for them too.
Instead of tomatoes, anardana powder (dry pomegranate seeds powder) is used in this recipe for the tangy taste. The combination of chickpeas and pomegranate is really amazing and that’s the reason why the sourness of anardana is used in this dish. However, if you could not find anardana powder, use amchoor powder (dry mango powder) or lime juice.
Can it be made with canned chickpeas?
Canned beans are not used in Indian cooking. So, soaking and cooking your own beans is highly recommended for Indian recipes. However, if you could not find raw beans in your market or don’t want to cook your own beans, try it with canned beans. Though the taste won’t be similar, you still could enjoy Indian Chickpea curry.
Can it be made without a pressure cooker?
If you are soaking and then cooking raw chickpeas then using a pressure cooker or instant pot will be very convenient.
It can be cooked in a normal pot also but then it will take around 2 hours to cook the chickpeas.
If using canned chickpeas, a pressure cooker won't be required.
How to serve?
The Indian chickpea curry is most commonly served with a rice dish or poori or bhature (Fried Indian bread).
You can also enjoy it as a chaat or snack. To do that, make it with very thick gravy, put some kachumber salad on top, squeeze fresh lime juice, sprinkle chaat masala and enjoy. Chole chaat is a very popular Indian street food.
More Indian bean recipes
If you like beans and looking for cooking different beans in Indian style then don’t miss to check out the following recipes:
- Rajma Masala
- Kale Chane
- Green moong dal
- Mixed Beans Curry
- Black eyed peas and spinach curry
- Indian vegetable curry
- Indian chickpea salad
Step by step photo instructions
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Vegan Chickpea Curry-Chole masala
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1 large red onion
- 5-6 garlic cloves
- A small piece of ginger
- 2-3 green chilies
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 small piece of cinnamon stick
- 2-3 whole black cardamom
- 4-5 black peppercorns
- 2-3 cloves
- 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1/2 tbsp anardana powder (dried pomegranate seeds powder/ dried mango powder)
- Salt as per taste
- 1 tbsp mustard oil/ any other cooking oil of your choice
- Coriander leaves for garnishing
- Wash and soak the chickpeas in water for atleast 7 hours or overnight.
- Put the soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker with around 2.5 cups of water and salt. Cook on medium flame till 5-6 whistles or till the chickpeas get cooked without losing its shape.
- In a grinder make a fine paste of onion, garlic, ginger and green chilies. Keep the paste aside.
- While the chickpeas are getting cooked, heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add all the whole spices and saute for a few seconds or till they become fragrant.
- Add the onion paste and cook for around 10-12 minutes. Every time the onion paste starts sticking to the bottom add around 1-2 tablespoons of water, mix, and continue cooking until it starts turning golden brown.
- Once the onions get a golden color, mix all the spice powders with 2 tablespoons of water and add to the pot. Saute for a few seconds and then add the boiled chickpeas along with the water in which it was cooked. You may add more water. if required to get the desired consistency. Let it simmer for another 10-12 minutes.
- Finally, add the anardana powder/ amchur powder, and mix. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with rice or any Indian bread of your choice.
- Anardana powder which is dry pomegranate seeds powder tastes the best in Indian chickpea curries. It's added for sourness but also gives a nice flavor. If you could not find anardana powder, use dry mango powder or just lime juice depending on your taste.
- If you don't want the pieces of whole spices in your curry, tie them in a small muslin cloth before adding to the oil, remove it when the curry gets ready.