Written by Gita Malhotra


National Curry Week: Chole moly

Every week is curry week in Gita Malhotra’s house. Here she is with her recipe for the very best chole. No YOU’RE salivating.

chole with rice
Here’s the recipe for my childhood favourite and an absolute North Indian spicy classic: the Punjabi style chickpea dish known as chole, also called channa in other parts of India.

I love everything about chole – all that multi-layered tangy, tasty goodness; the interesting addition of tea. Yes, you heard me right – tea, giving such depth of flavour. Seriously: tasting is believing. Just don’t forget to take it out before you serve. Namaste!

For speed, you can use tinned chickpeas, which makes for a delicious speedy supper. You’ll find amchur (mango powder) in large supermarkets or in your ‘desi’ local stores.


250g dried chickpeas (plus 1½ tsps of bicarbonate of soda) or two 400g tins of chickpeas
A big chunk of fresh ginger (thumb-sized should do it), peeled and shredded into strips
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
2 green fresh chillies – slit longways
A stick of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of oil – I use rapeseed oil as a standard
2 medium-sized onions, peeled and chopped
A couple of medium sized tomatoes – somehow, the cheaper ones work best in Indian food
¼ tsp turmeric powder/haldi
½ tsp red chilli powder/lal mirch powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 heaped tsp salt
1 teabag
1 tsp amchur/mango powder
For garnish, shredded red onion and some fresh coriander


If you’re using dried chickpeas, cover in a large pan with plenty of cold water along with the bicarbonate of soda and soak for six to eight hours. Drain and then rinse them well, put in a clean pan with fresh cold water and boil for about 35 minutes until they become plump and soft.

Warm the oil in a large pan, add the shredded onions and cook on a medium heat for a good 12 minutes. It’s worth putting the time in here to get the delicious golden onion base that forms the first flavour layer.

Then add the garlic and ginger and cook for about two minutes as the garlic begins to brown and ginger softens slightly. Then, add the chopped, fresh tomatoes and the whole split green chillies and keep stirring on a low to medium heat for three more minutes. Turn down low.

spices and pickles
Add the salt, turmeric, chilli powder and coriander and cinnamon stick (you can add a little water to the pan if it’s starting to stick a little) and cook the spices gently for a minute or so.

Should be looking good now. Add your chickpeas, give it all a good stir, add 200ml of water, the teabag (trust me!), cover and leave on a low heat for 10 minutes.

Taste, remove the teabag, add the amchur and then garnish with fresh coriander, a few slices of red onion and serve. I love this with a delicious lemon rice or fresh rotis and some pickle.

Missed Chetna Makan’s delicious kadhi earlier in the week? Find it here.


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Written by Gita Malhotra

Gita Malhotra lives in East London and runs Pukkah Preservation, making delicious small-batch preserves, marmalade and pickles, all with an Indian twist. She also works as a consultant in health policy within the NHS.