Chickpea curry: Punjabi comfort food

This punjabi style chickpea curry, or Chole, has to be one of my most favourite recipes for a cold winter’s day. The combination of fresh tomatoes, ginger, coriander and cumin is simply delicious. Perfect for curling up on the couch with and letting the weather have it’s way. Add some naan bread and a yoghurt chutney and you’ve got comfort food at it’s very best.

What’s more, using canned chickpeas (who doesn’t like a shortcut?) you can whip up a pan of this classic Indian curry in under half an hour. You don’t have to be too careful in how you make this dish, it’s very forgiving, add or change ingredients as the fancy takes you. If you use dried chickpeas, allow time to soak, I find overnight works best. After soaking, boil the chickpeas with a little salt until soft, and then use as in the recipe below.

What you’ll need:
Serves 4 people

  • 800g (28oz) tinned chickpeas
  • 600g (21oz) fresh tomatoes
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 30g (1.2oz) fresh coriander
  • 50g (1.7oz) sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 5 cm (2 inches) piece of ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin (best if you grind it yourself)
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • ground black pepper and salt to taste

How to make it

  1. Start by peeling the potatoes and cook in boiling water until tender,
    but still firm. Drain and cut into medium chunks; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, whizz the garlic, ginger, coriander and tomatoes in a
    blender until you have a fine paste.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy frying pan or casserole over a medium heat, add the ground cumin and garam masala and give it a stir. Frying spices in oil bumps up their flavours, making them bolder and more intense – and the smell is divine. Now add the chopped onion and fry until lightly browned.
  4. Pour the tomato paste into the pan and stir well to combine all the ingredients and flavours.
  5. Lastly, chuck the drained chickpeas and potatoes into the pan and season with ground black pepper and salt. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender and the dish has a nice consistency – not too ‘liquidy’.

Adjust the seasoning and serve piping hot in a shallow bowl, with naan bread and a sprinkling of freshly chopped coriander. Break off a chunk of bread, scoop up a big dollop of the Chole and enjoy.



  1. How lovely to see a post from you Iain! Welcome back! Gosh, what a delightful curry… perfectly suited to the cold, grey summer we’re having right now! Look forward to trying this recipe soon.

  2. I really do enjoy chickpea curry, and this looks very tempting indeed. Your photographs are great, too!

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