Chole (curried brown chickpeas)

Chole (curried brown chickpeas)

The Washington PostDemocracy dies in darkness

By Joe Yonan

Chole, a North Indian chickpea curry dish, is spicy, earthy and tangy, thanks to chili peppers, garam masala and amchoor powder, or sour mango powder. The late cookbook author Yamuna Devi prepared this dish with small, dark brown chickpeas called kala chana, or Desi chickpeas, found in large Indian or international markets, but you can use conventional chickpeas (kabuli). It is also frequently served with puffy fried bread called bhatura, but naan or other flatbread also works well. The chickpea cooking liquid adds a lot of flavor to this dish, but you can use canned chickpeas and water in a pinch.

Get ahead: Chickpeas can be cooked and refrigerated in their cooking liquid for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Storage: Refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Or buy: Brown chickpeas (kala chana), hot chili peppers, asafetida and amchoor powder can be found in Indian markets, some international markets and online.

Adapted from “Lord Krishna’s Cuisine” by Yamuna Devi (Dutton, 1987).


Measuring cup

Servings: 4 (makes 3 cups)


Time icon

Active: 20 minutes|

Total: 55 minuteslonger soaking time

  1. Step 1

    In a 6-quart Instant Pot or other multicooker, combine chickpeas, water and bay leaf. Secure the lid on the pot and close the pressure valve. Select PRESSURE (HIGH) and set for 30 minutes. (It takes approximately 10 minutes for the unit to reach pressure before cooking begins.) When cooking is complete, cover your hand with a towel or heating pad and release the pressure manually by moving the handle from release pressure on “Ventilation”. (Never place your hands or face near the vent when it is releasing steam.) The chickpeas should be tender but still hold their shape; if they are too firm, pressure cook them for another 5-10 minutes at a time until done.

  2. 2nd step

    Drain chickpeas, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid; discard the bay leaf. Transfer 1/3 cup chickpeas to a bowl and mash into a coarse paste.

  3. Step 3

    Set the multicooker to SAUTE (MEDIUM or NORMAL, depending on your model). Once hot, melt the butter. Add the chili and ginger and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add cilantro, paprika, turmeric, asafetida, and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until mixture darkens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. If at any point the ingredients threaten to burn, lower the cooking level and/or add a little water, if necessary.

  4. Step 4

    Add the whole and crushed chickpeas, cooking liquid, amchoor powder and salt. Stir to combine, reduce heat to low, and cook until liquid thickens, 1 to 2 minutes.

  5. Step 5

    Transfer to a large serving bowl or individual bowls, sprinkle with garam masala and coriander, drizzle with more melted butter or oil and serve hot, with lime or lemon wedges for squeezing.


Can’t find brown chickpeas? >> Use conventional chickpeas (kabuli).
Do you prefer canned chickpeas? >> Use two (15-ounce) cans of no-salt-added chickpeas and all liquid included (aquafaba), adding water for a total of 1 cup of liquid if necessary.
Green finger chili >> serrano or jalapeño.
Asafetida >> 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder plus 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
Amchoor powder >> 3 tablespoons of fresh lime or lemon juice.
Coriander >> parsley.


You can do this in a Dutch oven or large pot on the stove instead of a multicooker: To cook the chickpeas, bring them and the water to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and let cook until tender. at least 1 hour and up to 90 minutes. Use the Dutch oven over medium heat to follow steps 3 and 4 as well.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving (3/4 cup)

  • Calories


  • Fat


  • saturated fat


  • Carbohydrates


  • Sodium


  • Cholesterol


  • Protein


  • Fiber


  • Sugar


This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.

Adapted from “The Kitchen of Lord Krishna” by Yamuna Devi (Dutton, 1987).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

Published on May 3, 2024

Related Recipes



Related posts