This easy Chole Masala recipe consists of chickpeas and tomatoes simmered with a mixture of ginger, garlic, jalapenos, onions, and Indian Spices. It’s my clean, healthy, and delicious perfected version of a popular North Indian dish!
Growing up in an Indian household, we regularly ate Chole (as most of us have at some point or another). My Mom used to make it at least 2-3 times a month, and we all loved it. She had a few different versions she’d make depending on the amount of time she had for cooking, and they had their unique taste. One was made using more fresh tomatoes and semi-dry and another had tomato sauce based gravy. Either way, it was always delicious! She’d serve it with homemade Bhatura or Puri (fried Indian bread), rice, or fresh roti.
All About Chole (Indian Chickpea Curry)
For those of you that have no idea what Chole is or have never heard of it before, it basically refers to a curried vegetable dish made from chickpeas. Chickpeas in general are very versatile, hearty, and a great ingredient to use in vegan dishes.
This dish is also widely known as Chana Masala because of the various Indian spices. It originated in North Indian and has become a popular favorite. It’s on most menus at large gatherings, weddings, festivals, and celebrations because it’s fairly easy to make large amounts and a general favorite.
The basic recipe of Chole consists of chickpeas and tomatoes simmered with a mixture of ginger, garlic, jalapenos, onions, and Indian spices. But over the years, I’ve come to realize that there are so many different regional variations of the dish. No one household or restaurant these days makes the exact same tasting chole masala recipe. They vary in consistency and have slightly different combination of spices and cooking method that results in a variety of tastes, textures, flavors, and even colors.
While I’m generally not that picky and enjoy most chole masala recipe variations, over the years, I’ve found myself always craving this home-made delicious fresh version over any other.
My Chole Masala Recipe
If you recall, I originally developed my popular Cauliflower Tikka Masala recipe because I wanted a healthier, vegan, clean version that was just as rich, creamy, and as bold in flavor as the one found in restaurants. Well who knew that easy recipe would turn into one of my most popular dishes on the blog! Similarly, I’ve always gravitated to this chole masala recipe over any restaurant-version I’ve experienced. Unlike the Cauliflower Tikka Masala recipe, Chole is typically a vegan dish as is unless they decide to add some ghee or butter to the mix (which doesn’t happen often).
So why do I prefer this particular chickpea curry recipe I’m sharing with you today over others?
- It’s healthier and not filled with oil
- There’s no store-bought ‘chole masala’ spice mixes used (never been a huge fan of these and they are spicy and my kids can’t handle the heat)
- It’s thicker and chunkier in texture (as opposed to thin gravy)
- It has a fresh and bold flavor profile
So if you’re looking to re-create a restaurant favorite dish at home, trying to find another great chickpea recipe, or looking for a healthy filling complete family-friendly dish to add to your weekly meal rotation, try this Chole Masala Recipe (otherwise known as Indian Chickpea Curry recipe)! It’s easy, gluten-free, and freezes well for those long days where you only have energy to pull something out of the freezer (i.e. this entire summer for me ha!). If you try it out, be sure to tag me on Instagram, both #vegetariangastronomy @vegetariangastronomy. I love sharing your re-makes on Fridays!
If you need a few more easy Indian recipes, check out my Easy Curried Okra, Curried Black Lentil (Urad) Soup, and this Roasted Smoky Eggplant Curry.
This easy Chole Masala recipe consists of chickpeas and tomatoes simmered with a mixture of ginger, garlic, jalapenos, onions, and Indian Spices! It's my clean, healthy, and delicious perfected version of a popular North Indian dish!
- 28 ounces canned chickpeas , rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp cooking oil , grapeseed
- 1/2 teasp black mustard seeds
- 1.5 cups onions , red or white
- 1 inch fresh ginger , finely grated
- 8 cloves garlic , finely minced
- 1/2 jalapeno , finely chopped (optional)
- 2.5 cups red vine tomatoes , finely chopped (6-8)
- 1/2 teasp ground turmeric
- 1/2 teasp roasted ground cumin , or more garam masala
- 1 teasp salt
- 1.5 teasp ground cumin
- 3/4 teasp raw sugar
- 1/2 teasp garam masala
- 1 teasp lemon juice , freshly squeezed
- 1/3 cup cilantro , freshly chopped
- onions , finely chopped
- jalapenos , finely chopped
- lemon , sliced
Heat the cooking oil in a large non-stick pot or pan on medium heat.
Add the black mustard seeds and let them fry for 20-30 seconds.
Mix in the garlic, ginger, onion, and jalapenos (if using) and saute until the onions start to become translucent, mixing frequently.
Mix in the chopped tomatoes, roasted cumin, turmeric, and salt.
Cover and cook until the tomatoes soften (5-10 minutes), mixing frequently.
Mix in the cooked chickpeas, ground cumin, sugar, garam masala, and lemon juice.
Cover and allow everything to cook together for another 5-10 minutes until the chickpeas soften and absorb the flavors. Mix frequently.
Open the cover, and mash about half the chickpeas using a masher (or your fork).
Mix and allow the chole to cook, uncovered on medium heat, until the dish slightly reduces (the water evaporates and the dish thickens).
Taste and adjust with additional lemon juice, salt, sugar, and/or garam masala. (see notes below)
Add in the freshly chopped cilantro and mix once more. Turn off the heat.
Serve hot with some cooked rice, quinoa, tortilla, roti, or naan. Garnish with some raw onions, jalapenos, and a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.
There are many different types of garam masala (i.e. some are stronger than others). Some are store bought and some are made at home, so depending on the flavor and how sweet your tomatoes are, you may need to adjust the amount of salt, lemon juice, sugar, and garam masala at the end.
I like to use a combination of roasted ground cumin and garam masala because I love the flavor of the roasted cumin in this dish. But you can also sub out the roasted ground cumin for garam masala.
For kids/toddlers, omit the jalapenos if they can't handle heat. Also, depending on the type of garam masala, some are stronger than others and spicy, so you can sub it out for roasted ground cumin if you prefer.