Chikar Chole
Chikar Chole
5 from 1 vote
Embark on a culinary journey to the heart of India with Chikar Chole, an evergreen favourite that satisfies every palate. This recipe is an absolute feast of flavours, perfect for both novice chefs and seasoned cooks. Whether you’re after a weekend cooking project or planning your next family meal, this dish is a sure-fire winner.
Chikar Chole

There’s more to chickpeas than hummus, and Chikar Chole is the glorious proof of that. Hailing from the North Indian kitchens, this robust chickpea curry has seeped into culinary traditions across the globe.

Spices, the soul of Indian cuisine, are generously employed, but worry not; making this dish is far from complicated. A few simple steps and voila, you have a restaurant-worthy dish. 

Firstly, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the difficulty level. Would you believe me if I said it’s as easy as pie? Well, almost. The process is quite straightforward; even if you’ve never ventured beyond making toast, you can ace this dish.  

The hardest part is perhaps waiting for those dried chickpeas to soak (patience is a virtue, they say). 

Variety is the spice of life and, in this case, the spice of Chikar Chole as well. If you prefer a mellower flavour, there are ways to tone down the spiciness without losing the essence of the dish. On the other hand, if your tongue craves fiery treats, you’re free to crank up the heat. 

But what if you’re feeling adventurous? Believe it or not, this dish is pretty flexible. You can turn it into a vegan delight by omitting ghee or dairy-based accompaniments, or you can enrich it with a dollop of cream for a more luxurious taste. The choice is yours. 

One thing I’d advise not skipping is the dried mango powder or amchur. This tangy, slightly sweet spice plays a crucial role in balancing the richness of the dish. So, whether you’re a purist or a culinary innovator, amchur should be your non-negotiable ingredient. 

But let’s not kid ourselves; the star of this dish is the chickpea. These little legumes go through a complete transformation, from being bland and grainy to becoming flavour-packed powerhouses.  

This is achieved through an intricate dance with spices and cooking techniques that make Indian cuisine so uniquely tantalizing. 

While the ingredients in this recipe are not rare, their combination is what turns a regular chickpea curry into an exquisite Chikar Chole. So, as you go through the list of spices, remember that each plays a role in making the dish the culinary marvel that it is. 

Lastly, one can’t ignore the omnipresent trio of garlic, ginger, and onion, which serves as the base for countless Indian recipes. Their contribution here is just as significant, providing a robust foundation on which the complex flavours of Chikar Chole can build. 

So, are you ready to roll up those sleeves and hop on this flavour-packed journey? Let’s get started, shall we? 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

As with any cooking journey, the road to the perfect Chikar Chole is paved with quality ingredients. I’m here to guide you through each element of this dish, explaining the indispensable role they play. 

Not only will you discover why each ingredient is a critical piece of the puzzle, but you’ll also get some handy tips on alternative ingredients. After all, cooking is about making do with what’s at hand, right? 

Dried Chickpeas: These aren’t just tiny pellets; they are the soul of Chikar Chole. When cooked, they absorb the spices and enrich the dish with their texture. Canned chickpeas can be used as a quicker alternative, but they lack the deep flavour profile that dried chickpeas offer. 

Onion: The humble onion does more than make you cry; it adds depth and sweetness. Finely chopping the onion ensures it melds perfectly into the base of the curry, creating a velvety texture and sumptuous taste. Shallots could serve as an alternative but expect a slightly different flavour profile. 

Tomatoes: The pureed tomatoes serve two purposes: they add a rich colour and a tangy note. The acidity helps to balance the spicy and earthy tones. Canned tomato puree is an okay-ish alternative but remember, fresh is best. 

Garlic: Ah, garlic, the tiny flavour bomb! It lends a robust, almost earthy undernote that’s irreplaceable. Garlic powder can be used in a pinch, but nothing beats the complexity of freshly minced garlic. 

Ginger: This root adds a spicy, zesty zing that elevates the dish. It’s an essential counterpoint to the other spices. If you’re in a bind, ginger powder can come to the rescue, but use it sparingly as it’s more concentrated. 

Green Chilies: If you’re after that kick, green chillies are your buddies. Slit and deseeded, they provide just enough heat without overpowering the dish. Jalapenos can be a fair substitute, albeit a little less spicy. 

Cumin Seeds: These little seeds are the starting point of your flavour journey. They pop and sizzle, releasing an aromatic oil that gives the dish its first layer of flavour. Ground cumin can serve as a substitute but will lack the textural contrast that seeds provide. 

Assorted Ground Spices: The coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, ground cumin, and ground coriander all combine to form the symphony of flavours that is quintessentially Chikar Chole.  

Each brings its own hue to the spice palette. Most can be substituted with pre-mixed curry powders, but nothing beats the individual charm of single spices. 

Amchur: This dried mango powder adds a tangy punch that’s absolutely vital for a balanced dish. Lime juice can serve as a backup, but amchur’s unique flavour is difficult to replicate. 

Cooking Oil: You need a good conductor for all these flavours, and that’s where oil steps in. It helps distribute the heat and spices evenly, making every bite a perfect bite. Ghee or clarified butter could be used for a richer flavour. 

Fresh Cilantro: The finishing touch, of cilantro adds a burst of freshness that contrasts the rich, spiced gravy. Parsley can be used as an alternative but will offer a slightly different aroma and taste. 

And there you have it—a detailed tour of the flavourful landscape that makes up Chikar Chole. Remember, while substitutions can work in a pinch, staying true to the original ingredients is the surest way to culinary nirvana. Happy cooking! 

The Art of Cooking Dried Chickpeas in Chikar Chole 

Cooking dried chickpeas is an art, and for a dish as deeply rooted in tradition as Chikar Chole, getting the chickpeas right is half the battle won. Unlike their canned counterparts, dried chickpeas offer a depth of flavour that genuinely captures the essence of this beloved recipe.  

Soaking them overnight is the first step towards chickpea enlightenment, as it allows them to absorb water and soften up, making the cooking process smoother. 

When it comes to cooking these soaked legumes, the pressure cooker is your best friend.  

Not only does it cut down on the cooking time, but it also ensures that each chickpea is cooked to perfection. You’d want them tender but not mushy, and a pressure cooker helps you hit that sweet spot. Add enough water to cover them and let the cooker do its magic for about 15-20 minutes. 

The soak-and-cook method is excellent for bringing out the full potential of chickpeas in Chikar Chole. While cooking, they absorb the beautiful blend of spices and the rich tomato base. The result is a burst of flavours in each bite, making every mouthful a celebration of taste and tradition. 

However, if you are short on time, canned chickpeas can save the day. They’re pre-cooked and can be tossed right into the pan with the spices and tomato base. Just be prepared for a slightly different texture and flavour profile. Though canned chickpeas are convenient, dried chickpeas truly do justice to the dish. 

In the end, the key to mastering Chikar Chole lies in understanding its primary component—the humble chickpea. So whether you’re a seasoned chef or a culinary novice, remember that perfection starts with selecting and preparing the right kind of chickpeas. 

The Secret of Achieving the Perfect Gravy Consistency in Chikar Chole 

Ah, the gravy! That luscious, velvety sauce that coats the chickpeas and makes the dish what it is—a staple of comfort food. The secret to getting it right? It’s all in the ‘Masala Base,’ a delightful blend of spices and vegetables that forms the backbone of the dish. Start with sautéing finely chopped onions until golden brown, add in the ginger-garlic duo, and then the pureed tomatoes. Cook until the oil starts to separate, and you’ve got the base. 

Next up, the spices. This is where the magic happens. The spice blend in Chikar Chole is a potpourri of flavours.  

From coriander to cumin and turmeric, each brings its own character to the dish. Cooking the spices until the oil separates again ensures that they are well-roasted, which is essential for that perfect gravy consistency. 

Water is an unsung hero in the preparation of Chikar Chole. Once your chickpeas are well-coated in the spice mixture, adding water helps to loosen the consistency and allows the chickpeas to absorb more flavours.  

The key here is to add just enough water to achieve your desired gravy thickness. Too much, and you’ll have a watery mess; too little, and the chickpeas won’t soak up the flavours properly. 

Another critical factor is cooking time. Allowing the chickpeas to simmer in the gravy for an extended period lets the flavours meld together. A quick stir now and then, a dash of salt to taste, and you’re all set. Remember, the longer it simmers, the richer the flavours. 

So the next time you find yourself obsessing over the gravy in Chikar Chole, just think back to these tips. With the right base, the perfect spice blend, and the ideal consistency, you’ll be well on your way to gravy greatness. 

The Dance of Spices in Chikar Chole: An Ode to Indian Flavour Combinations 

When it comes to Chikar Chole, spices aren’t just an ingredient; they are the lifeblood that pumps through every bite of this mouth-watering dish.  

No spice is an island; they work in tandem to create a symphony of flavours that delight the senses. Starting off with cumin seeds, this little powerhouse adds a distinct warm, earthy flavour that serves as a great opening act for the spices that follow. 

Enter the quartet of coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and ground cumin. Each plays a pivotal role in building the backbone of Chikar Chole’s taste profile.  

Coriander adds a mild, citrusy aroma, while turmeric lends its golden colour and a bit of earthiness. Red chilli powder gives the dish its kick, and ground cumin reinforces the initial notes set by the cumin seeds. In the world of Chikar Chole, spices are more than a mere afterthought; they are the main event. 

Now, let’s not forget the pinch-hitters, amchur and garam masala. While garam masala, a blend of various spices, adds warmth and complexity, amchur (dried mango powder) lends a tangy kick that elevates the dish to the next level. It’s like hitting the high note in a musical performance. 

The skill in cooking Chikar Chole lies not just in adding spices but knowing when to add them. Timing is everything. The sequential addition of spices at different cooking stages allows each one to unleash its full potential, ensuring that no single flavour overpowers the others. 

So the next time you enjoy a delicious plate of Chikar Chole, take a moment to appreciate the careful choreography of spices that make it what it is. Because, believe me, it’s not just food, it’s an experience for your palate. 

Unlocking the Power of Aromatics in Chikar Chole 

Think of aromatics as the unsung heroes of Chikar Chole. We’re talking about onion, garlic, ginger, and green chillies.  

These ingredients set the stage for the rest of the dish, creating a base layer of flavour that transforms humble chickpeas into a culinary masterpiece. The onion, finely chopped and sautéed to golden perfection, provides a slightly sweet, caramelized backdrop. 

Next in line are garlic and ginger. This dynamic duo is the essence of countless Indian dishes, and in Chikar Chole, they offer their signature zing and warmth. Mincing the garlic and grating the ginger allows for a more even distribution throughout the dish, so you get a bit of their magic in every bite. 

Green chillies add the ‘oomph’ factor. Whether you keep them whole or slit them depends on how brave you’re feeling. Whole chillies impart a subtle heat, while slit chillies unleash their fiery potential, turning up the heat in your Chikar Chole. 

The role of tomatoes in Chikar Chole deserves a special mention. These get pureed and form a part of the aromatic base, their natural acidity and sweetness perfectly balancing out the pungent and spicy flavours. They also contribute to the dish’s vibrant colour. 

Remember, the aromatics are more than just a preamble; they’re the solid foundation upon which the rest of the dish stands. So, give them the time and attention they deserve. Sauté them well, layer in the spices, and you’ll unlock the secret to a Chikar Chole that truly sings. 

The Role of Fresh Herbs in Chikar Chole: The Cilantro Game Changer 

Ah, fresh herbs! Those green sprigs that chefs artfully sprinkle on dishes for that final flourish.  

But let’s not mistake this for mere aesthetics—when it comes to Chikar Chole, fresh cilantro leaves are the unsung hero that brings the dish full circle. Don’t underestimate this leafy green; it adds a burst of colour, yes, but more importantly, it’s an essential element in our flavour equation. 

Chopped cilantro leaves have an effervescent quality that lifts the dish, giving it a fresh and almost citrus-like flavour.  

This ingredient contrasts beautifully with the hearty, earthy undertones of the chickpeas and the complex spice blend, acting as a palate cleanser of sorts. It’s the refreshing zing that makes every bite of Chikar Chole feel like the first. 

Adding cilantro at the end of the cooking process ensures that it retains its vibrant green hue and doesn’t wilt into oblivion. Aesthetically, this is pleasing, but from a flavour perspective, it’s downright necessary. Those bright, verdant notes need to sing, not whisper. 

Ever think about using coriander stems? These are lesser-known secrets that can add even more flavour and depth to Chikar Chole. Finely chop the stems and add them early in the cooking process to infuse the dish with an extra layer of cilantro richness. You won’t regret it. 

In the grand opera that is Chikar Chole, think of cilantro as the show-stopping finale that leaves the audience speechless. The spice medley sets the stage, the chickpeas perform their hearty act, and then, just when you think it’s over, cilantro sweeps in for a dazzling finish. Bravo! 

Demystifying the Oil Factor in Chikar Chole 

So, we’ve talked about spices, aromatics, and even herbs, but what about the oil in Chikar Chole? Ah, the elixir that unites all the ingredients in a harmonious blend of flavour and texture. Don’t overlook this one, folks; oil isn’t just a cooking medium, it’s a character in the story of Chikar Chole. 

Choosing the right oil is essential. A neutral oil like vegetable or sunflower allows the spices and aromatics to take centre stage without competing flavours. The oil’s job here is to absorb the essence of every ingredient and distribute it uniformly throughout the dish. 

The technique of ‘bhuno’ or frying the masala in oil until it starts to separate is a quintessential Indian cooking practice.  

This not only enriches the oil itself but also guarantees that every chickpea is well-coated and steeped in layers of complex flavours. It’s like sending each chickpea to a spa day, where they get pampered with aromatic oils and spices. 

The quantity of oil can be a point of personal preference. If you’re health-conscious, you might skimp a bit, but remember that some fat is necessary for a luscious, restaurant-style Chikar Chole. The oil serves as a vehicle, helping the spices cling to the chickpeas and ensuring that the dish has that sought-after rich texture. 

In the end, oil in Chikar Chole is much like the director in a film. You may not see it, but its influence is felt in every scene, every shot, every bite. It sets the stage, brings the characters to life, and ensures a seamless flow from start to finish. 

Embracing the Heat: The Chilli Dynamic in Chikar Chole 

The thrill of the chilli! If you’ve ever wondered what gives Chikar Chole that irresistible zing, it’s the green chillies and red chilli powder dancing in that simmering pot. When it comes to Indian cooking, chillies are the daring acrobats of the culinary circus, leaping into your palate with audacity and flair. 

The green chillies offer a dual purpose. Slit and tossed into the masala, they disperse their heat gently, allowing it to infuse with the other flavours. A bite into one offers a concentrated burst of heat, a dare for those who love to live on the edge. 

Now, let’s talk about the red chilli powder. This spice is a sly one. It can either intensify the heat, turning each bite into a spicy adventure, or can simply add a subtle undertone that teases your taste buds.  

The key is to control the quantity to suit your heat tolerance. The red chilli powder works alongside the other spices, adding a depth of colour and an extra layer of complexity to Chikar Chole. 

Have you ever thought about diversifying the chilli portfolio in your dish? Different types of chilli powders or even fresh chillies can offer nuanced flavours. From the smokiness of a chipotle to the fruitiness of a habanero, the sky’s the limit. 

In summary, the chillies in Chikar Chole are not just garnishes or afterthoughts. They are the bold strokes in a masterpiece, the crescendos in a symphony.  

They make sure that each bite you take is an event, a moment to be savoured. Let’s face it, without them, Chikar Chole would be like a movie without a climax. 

The Underappreciated Power of Amchur in Chikar Chole 

So, let’s talk about that tang, that pop, that zest that grabs you by the taste buds in Chikar Chole. You guessed it, it’s amchur or dried mango powder. When it comes to this dish, amchur is like the plot twist you never saw coming but makes everything better. 

Often underestimated, amchur is the ingredient that rounds off the flavours, providing a counterpoint to the spices and the richness of the chickpeas.  

It lightens the dish with its tartness, essentially preventing the flavours from becoming monotonous. Think of it as a squeeze of lemon in a heavy pasta; it’s a game-changer. 

This brilliant ingredient not only adds complexity to the taste profile but also aids in digestion. That’s right, it’s not just about the zing; it’s about making this hearty dish a little easier on the stomach. 

What if you can’t find amchur? No worries, tamarind paste or even a dash of lemon juice can substitute for that tart twist. While these may not offer the exact notes of dried mango, they will give you that much-needed acidic balance. 

Amchur is like the subtle brushwork in an intricate painting. It might not be the first thing you notice, but once you do, you’ll see how it contributes to the overall effect, making the experience of enjoying Chikar Chole a well-rounded one. 

Onion: The Unsung Hero of Chikar Chole 

When it comes to making a stellar Chikar Chole, onions don’t just walk onto the culinary stage—they waltz in, brimming with confidence. These humble bulbs are the backbone of the dish, adding layers of flavour and depth that simply can’t be dismissed. 

Chopped finely and sautéed to golden-brown perfection, onions transform the base of your Chikar Chole into something magnificent. But it’s not just about aesthetics. The caramelization that occurs during sautéing develops a sweet undertone, creating a balance against the array of spices in the dish. 

Now, you might be tempted to rush this step to get to the spicier aspects, but patience is key here. Sautéing onions too quickly will leave you with a somewhat bland and lacklustre dish. It’s like hurriedly painting the base coat and expecting the final piece to be a masterpiece. Nope, not going to happen. 

If onions aren’t your thing due to dietary restrictions or personal preference, shallots or leeks can make a suitable replacement. While they may impart a different flavour profile, they’ll still serve the same foundational role in your Chikar Chole. 

Don’t underestimate the power of the onion. This common kitchen ingredient is your ally in the journey towards achieving that Chikar Chole that makes both your heart and stomach sing. It’s more than just an addition; it’s an essential chapter in the flavourful story that is Chikar Chole. 

Cumin Seeds: The Opening Act of Chikar Chole 

Alright, let’s chat about those little brown seeds that take the stage before any other ingredient. Cumin seeds are the opening act of Chikar Chole, setting the mood for all the flavours to follow. Their importance can’t be overstated; they’re the prelude to the entire culinary concerto you’re conducting. 

Once you heat the oil and let these seeds splutter, the transformation begins. They release their earthy aroma, filling the air with an inviting scent and flavouring the oil itself.  

This scented oil then becomes the medium in which all the other ingredients will perform, taking on a rich and multi-layered character. 

Earthiness with a touch of spice—that’s what cumin seeds bring to the table. While the garam masala and red chilli powder are busy adding heat and complexity, cumin seeds anchor the dish with their grounding notes. They’re like the bassist in a band, often overlooked but utterly indispensable. 

If for some reason you find yourself without cumin seeds, worry not. Caraway seeds can serve as a substitute. While they have a somewhat different flavour profile, being a bit sweeter and less earthy, they still offer a complexity that makes them worthy stand-ins. 

Never skip or rush the cumin seed step when making your Chikar Chole. They deserve their solo moment in the limelight, setting the stage for the culinary masterpiece that will follow. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

Oh, you loved the hearty and flavour-packed chikar chole, didn’t you? Well, guess what? I’ve got more drool-worthy curry delights up my sleeve. If you’re as smitten with curries as I am, you’ve got to try the Chicken Masala.  

It’s every bit as rich and inviting as your beloved chikar chole. The spices dance in perfect harmony, creating a symphony of flavours that’ll take you straight to curry heaven. 

But don’t stop there! I’ve got the ever-classic Chicken Biryani. Each grain of rice in this biryani tells a tale of its exotic journey through rich Indian spices. Ah, I can smell the wafting aroma of saffron and cumin just talking about it! 

Are you fond of lamb? Perfect! The Lamb Karahi is an out-of-this-world experience that’ll make you forget all other meats exist. The tender pieces of lamb bathed in a zesty curry will have you licking your fingers clean. It’s a love affair between your palate and the spices that you never knew you needed. 

For those vegetarian days, or just because you can’t resist a good plant-based curry, there’s the Rajma Curry. Think of it as the vegetarian sister of chikar chole. The kidney beans are so buttery and smooth, that they practically melt in your mouth, all while soaking up the tangy, spicy gravy they’re cooked in. 

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the Chicken Jalfrezi. It’s like a party in your mouth, a medley of chicken, bell peppers, and spices that’ll keep you coming back for more. 

Hungry yet? All these dishes are waiting for you to bring them to life in your own kitchen. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments. Your feedback is the secret spice in my recipe-making journey! 

Chikar Chole

Chikar Chole

by Nabeela Kauser
Embark on a culinary journey to the heart of India with chikar chole, an evergreen favourite that satisfies every palate. This recipe is an absolute feast of flavours, perfect for both novice chefs and seasoned cooks.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4
Calories 315 kcal

Ingredients

  • 800 g Chickpeas Canned
  • 1 Onion Finely chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes Pureed
  • 3 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 inch Ginger Grated
  • 2 Green Ghilies Slit
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder Adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Mango Powder Amchur
  • 50 ml Oil
  • Coriander Chopped (for garnish)

Instructions

  • Take one can of drained chickpeas and roughly mash them using a fork or potato masher. This will help thicken the gravy.
  • In a large pan, heat the cooking oil over medium heat.
  • Add the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and grated ginger. Sauté for a minute until fragrant.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes and cook until the oil starts to separate from the masala.
  • Lower the heat and add the coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, and slit green chilies.
  • Cook the masala until the oil starts to separate again.
  • Add the whole chickpeas and the mashed chickpeas to the masala. Mix well.
  • Season with salt and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld.
  • Sprinkle garam masala and amchur over the chole. Mix well.
  • If the consistency is too thick, you can add some water to achieve your desired gravy consistency.
  • Once the chole is well-cooked and the flavours have developed, remove from heat.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves.
  • Chikar Chole is best served hot with steamed rice, naan, or roti.

Notes

You can adjust the spiciness and flavours according to your taste preferences.
Chikar Chole with mashed chickpeas has a thicker consistency due to the mashed chickpeas, making it even more satisfying.
Feel free to add some chopped vegetables like bell peppers or spinach for added nutrition and flavour.
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 11gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.05gSodium: 1152mgPotassium: 524mgFibre: 11gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 704IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 99mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Chana, Chickpeas, Chikar Chole, Curry, Food, Recipe, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!
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Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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