Chickpea Curry (Chana/Chole) Two Ways

Chickpeas are fantastic. They are a hugely versatile ingredient and are used in several different cuisines. With a 19% protein content, higher than most other legumes, no vegetarian, or anyone for that matter, should go without incorporating them into our diets. Another huge advantage of chickpeas is that they are so easy to use and they come in a tin, are widely available and are relatively cheap to buy. Here I’ve posted two traditional indian recipes that are both chickpea curries with very similar ingredients. The only really difference is in the thickness of the sauce, but this can make a lot of difference depending on what you would like to serve them with. The first kind, is the saucy-type, which has more tomato. The second type is known as suka chana or dry chickpeas, where the chickpeas are curried in all the same spices but with much less tomato, resulting in a thicker coating of sauce and a different texture for the dish. I find the saucy type goes really well with rice, as the sauce complements the dryness of the rice, or even with naan, as the thick bread can soak up the sauce and take on the flavour. However, the dry type, in my opinion, is really delicious on its own, or with greasier, thin breads such as parathas. I don’t actually make my own parathas, though this is something I hope to learn from grandmother, who is truly a culinary goddess. Until then, just buy these from the supermarket! These recipes are virtually identical (changes in ingredients are highlighted in bold) so choose which type you would like to make and make sure to read the correct instructions, as this will make all the difference to the type of curry you end up with!

Chickpea Curry (Saucy-type)

– with sauce (Serves 4 as the main dish, use half the recipe if serving alongside another curry!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tins (400g) chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large white onion chopped finely
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic/ garlic paste
  • 1 tsp grated ginger/ ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt (again!)
  • 2 tins of peeled tomatoes (crushed with a hand blender) – Side note – I prefer to use peeled tinned tomatoes rather than chopped as the tomatoes seem to take on a less metallic taste, however if you prefer to use chopped tomatoes these will work too! Just be prepared to add more spice to shadow the metallic taste!
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander, chopped roughly

Method:

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas thoroughly and place in a large bowl
  2. Add the bicarbonate of soda and the salt to the chickpeas and fill the bowl with warm (NOT HOT!) water and cover the chickpeas completely. Give a quick stir and allow to rest while completing the remaining steps. – Side note – this step softens the chickpeas so that they soak up the sauce more readily.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan
  4. Add the onion and sauté until golden
  5. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes
  6. Add the chilli, turmeric, garam masala and salt, and stir until fragrant
  7. Add the tomatoes and cover. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes
  8. Add the sugar – Side note – this reduces the tartness of the tomatoes
  9. Lower the heat and add the chickpeas
  10. Set on medium to low heat and stir occasionally – about 15 minutes.
  11. Add fresh coriander and serve!

Sneaky addition! – I add a tablespoon of yoghurt sometimes if I still feel the sauce is sour or metallic tasting from the tinned tomatoes. This neutralises this sharp flavour and actually disappears into the sauce.

Dry Chickpea Curry – (Serves 4-6 as a main course, but again use half the recipe as a side dish)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tins (600g) chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large white onion chopped finely
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic/ garlic paste
  • 1 tsp grated ginger/ ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt (again!)
  • 1 tin of peeled tomatoes (crushed VERY GENTLY with a hand blender) – Side note – the same applies as before I prefer to use peeled tinned tomatoes rather than chopped as the tomatoes seem to take on a less metallic taste, however if you prefer to use chopped tomatoes these will work too! Just be prepared to add more spice to shadow the metallic taste! HOWEVER, we dont want the tomatoes to be a smooth liquid this time so only blend them lightly so some small lumps remains.
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander, chopped roughly
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Method:

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas thoroughly and place in a large bowl
  2. Add the bicarbonate of soda and the salt to the chickpeas and fill the bowl with warm (NOT HOT!) water and cover the chickpeas completely. Give a quick stir and allow to rest while completing the remaining steps. – Side note – this step softens the chickpeas so that they soak up the sauce more readily.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan
  4. Add the onion and sauté until golden
  5. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes
  6. Add the chilli, turmeric, garam masala and salt, and stir until fragrant
  7. Add the tomatoes and cover. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes
  8. Add the sugar
  9. Lower the heat and add the chickpeas and lemon juice
  10. Turn up the heat and allow the whole mixture to reduce – about 15 minutes.
  11. Add fresh coriander and serve!

Sneaky addition! – I add a tablespoon of yoghurt sometimes if I still feel the sauce is sour or metallic tasting from the tinned tomatoes. This neutralises this sharp flavour and actually disappears into the sauce.