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. 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.
Chole Masala Recipe (Indian Chickpea Curry)
- 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.
I have never had chole masala before Anjali though i do enjoy chickpeas nor have i had in a curry. This looks and sounds delicious… with fresh roti or a piece of naan.. you got me drooling at screen. Your pictures are always superb!
Has your mom ever made it? She may call it something else? It’s so good and pretty easy to make! I bet you have all the spices for it already! Thank you!!
No I dont think so Anjali and I dont really remember lol.. Hehe yes we do keep all the indian spices at home 🙂
This dish look so yummy.
I always love dishes with coriander in 🙂
Your photos are ALWAYS PICTURE PERFECT!
Thank you!!! You remind me of my daughter right now…she’s 4 and LOVES coriander!!
Marie | Yay! For Food
This curry looks so delicious and so flavourful! I love that this is a healthier option and that I can customize the amount of spices to use! I love a little heat in my food, but I can’t handle as much as other people!
Thanks Marie! I always have to keep the amount of spices and heat in mind because of my kids, one of which can’t handle much spice ha! Let me know if you try this dish out!
This dish has everything I love. I almost always have chickpeas on hand and I love the Indian spices. Yum!
Awesome! You need to give it a try then…you’ll love it!
I have never made Indian food before. You make it look pretty simple. Just beed the spices
Indian food in general is pretty easy as long as you have the spices on hand! And you’ll love this dish, so the spices definitely will not go to waste!
whee! I finally have a use for my spices again! So excited about this! I am so happy I have found a flavourful healthy chana masala! 😀 You rock!
Awesome!! You’ll love this recipe, very easy and delicious!
Amy Katz from Veggies Save The Day
This looks amazing! I just need to pick up some black mustard seeds, and I’ll give it a try.
Thanks Amy!! You’ll love it! Definitely try to get black mustard seeds (I use it in almost every indian dish i make), but if you don’t have it, still give it a try!
I never knew what Chole meant, and I realized it’s one of my favorite dishes haha. This sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try it out 🙂
Haha that’s awesome! Yes this dish has many names, but Chole is what I grew up calling it! It’s very easy and I’ve already had one follower make it and love it so definitely try it out and let me know!
This looks so delicious. I bet the flavour is just incredible.
Sounds so yummy! It’s dark and rainy here today…I could go for a big bowl of this comfort food!
It was gloomy here beg of the month, but now is getting into the summer weather. Yes…this is definitely my comfort food 🙂
Natalie \ Feasting on Fruit
Whoa I just learned so much from reading this! Thank you for the quick little Chole primer there since I had never actually heard that term before. I have had chickpea curry once before from a restaurant and while yummy it was soooo oily. I love that you dialed that way back, and the texture looks awesome too! Toddler version for me please 🙂
Thanks Natalie!! This dish can be called so many different things, and Chole is just what I grew up calling it so I thought it needed explanation, especially for someone who’s never had it before! It’s so delicious, easy, and screams comfort food! And yes…it can be so so oily at resturants, and filled with pre-made spices that don’t go so well with my tummy, which is why I love this healthier clean homemade version so much better! Haha…yes I always think of you (believe it or not) when it comes to heat in my dishes! 🙂 Lucky for you my 7 year old can’t handle even black pepper 🙂
Strength and Sunshine
Such a great chickpea curry! I love any type of curry and I know my faily always loves it too
Oh my goodness that looks and sounds divine. I’ve really gotten into playing with different spices lately. Thanks for the inspiration.
Thank you Trinity! Hopefully you get a chance to try this recipe!
Ok, This may not be the best chana masala that I’ve ever had but it is really good.
It is the best chana masala that I’ve ever made.
Thank you Anjali, I’m sure this will end up on my regular rotation in my kitchen, along with the jeera quinoa I made to go with it.
Fair enough…ha! But thank you for the great review! Glad you enjoyed it! There are honestly SO many different types of chana masala recipes out there and different variations…I’ve made the more restaurant style chana masala, but I think this is the one I always fall back to because of the more fresh ingredients and it doesn’t leave me with a tummy ache because of the store-bought masala mixes, but they are still all delicious.