What does life changing chole even mean? Well, we think that once you've tried this recipe and seen how delicious, quick, easy and inexpensive it is to make, you'll never look back! It technically isn't South Indian, but it's a favourite dish in our house and we wanted to share it with you all.
Our friends, who have tried the chole in many restaurants around London including Michelin starred spots, have told us that they think this recipe tops them all! The secret they say, is in the sauce.
There are so many things we love about this dish. First of all, it's bursting with rich, sumptuous flavours: sweet tomatoes, aromatic cumin and coriander, hot ginger and chilli, tangy dried mango powder and fresh coriander. The recipe below is mild/medium spice level, but you can tailor the spicing according to your heat tolerance. Whatever spice level you choose, the tomatoes add a lovely sweetness which works beautifully with the spices.
Second, it's super simple to make and very easily scalable for your packed lunches, dinner parties, family gatherings etc. Taking just 35 mins from chopping board to dining table, it's the perfect go to recipe to have up your sleeve.
We love to rustle up a big batch of chole on Sundays for packed lunches and simple weeknight dinners. It keeps really well in the fridge and actually tastes better the next day as the flavours get a chance to marry and really soak into the chickpeas.
Thirdly, it's packed full of protein from the chickpeas - it's a great recipe if you're looking to add more protein into your diet in a delicious and healthy way. Pair this with some quinoa for added protein and you've got yourself a winning balanced meal.
What more need we say? You just have to try it out and see for yourself.
Makes: 4-6 servings (depending on how big you like your portion sizes!)
Time: 35 mins (+ 15 mins if you want to let it stand to let the flavours marry)
- 1 large white onion
- 1 cup chopped coriander
- 2 boxes baby plum tomatoes (we got them from Iceland with each box weighing ~340g)
- 2 tins drained cooked chickpeas (typically with drained weight of ~240g)
- 1 1/2 heaped tsps coriander powder
- 1 1/2 heaped tsps cumin powder
- 1 heaped tsp amchoor (dried mango powder commonly available in all Sri Lankan / Indian stores)
- 1/4 tsp dried red chilli flakes
- 1/4 tsp salt + more according to your taste
- 1 1/2 tbsp oil
- 1 inch ginger
- 1/2 green chilli
- Peel the ginger and chop it finely. Also chop the green chilli and onions finely
- In a large wok, heat the oil, add the green chilli and ginger and fry for 30 seconds
- Add the onion and sautee on a high heat for 10 mins or until soft and browned
- Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the tomatoes - the consistency should be fairly liquid
- Pour 3/4 of the tomato puree into the wok with the onions, green chilli and ginger
- Wash the coriander and add (stalks and all) to the remaining tomato puree in the blender. Blitz for 10 seconds so the coriander is chopped. Don't blend for too long otherwise the coriander will become bitter
- Add the coriander tomato puree to the wok and stir well
- Now for the spices: add the cumin powder, coriander powder, amchoor, red chilli flakes and salt
- Stir well and let the mixture simmer on a medium heat for 10 mins to let the tomatoes cook and the flavours meld
- Drain the chickpeas and rinse well in cold water to remove excess salt as tinned chickpeas are usually stored in brine. Then add the chickpeas to the tomato gravy
- Simmer again on a low heat for 5 mins to let some of the excess water boil off
- Taste and add more salt if necessary
You can eat it straight away or if you have time, let it stand for 15 mins. This resting time allows the spices to marry with the ingredients and enhances and intensifies the flavour. Trust us, it's well worth the wait.
After 15 mins, lightly warm the chole and serve with quinoa/brown/red rice, or some chappatis.