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Chole cinnamon spiced chickpea curry recipe by Prashad Indian

PUBLISHED: 12:11 01 November 2013 | UPDATED: 12:12 01 November 2013

Chole cinnamon spiced chickpea curry, Photo by Saltyard Books 2012

Chole cinnamon spiced chickpea curry, Photo by Saltyard Books 2012

Saltyard Books 2012

Celebrate Diwali with this tasty vegetarian dish courtesy of Prashad Restaurant in Drighlington, West Yorkshire. Minal and Kaushy Patel were recently named Chefs of the Year in the 2013 Yorkshire Life Food and Drink Awards and were praised for their fuss-free and fun approach to cookery which has deservedly garnered a loyal and growing following in both Yorkshire and across the UK.

Chole is a versatile dish that is enjoyed at different times of the day throughout South Asia: in Lahore it is eaten for breakfast; in Punjab, it is served as a snack and referred to as ‘chaat’; in Gujarat it is treated as a main meal and eaten with bathura; and at our restaurant customers like to enjoy it at lunch time as well as in the evening. It is also the dish that first persuaded Gordon Ramsay that we could be Britain’s Best Restaurant! Chole is simple to make and the focus is really on the balance of spices. The spice preparations make all the difference to the flavours of the finished dish – for example, the cumin cooked with the onion forms a base note, while the cumin in the garam masala creates an upper flavour, together building delicious layers.

Serves 4


3 x 400g tins of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

4 tsps sunflower oil, plus 75ml

15g coriander seeds

1 cinnamon stick

3-6 dried red chillies

8 cloves

1 tsp black peppercorns

6 dried Indian bay leaves

2 tsps cumin seeds

1 medium onion, chopped or blended to a smooth paste

4cm root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

1 x 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes, finely chopped or blended

1 ¾ tsps salt

1 tsp medium red chilli powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp sugar

2 handfuls of fresh coriander, finely chopped


Place the chickpeas in a large pan with 500ml of warm water and boil for about 5 mins over a high heat. Remove from the head and set aside, still in their cooking water.

Heat 4 tsps of oil in a small pan for 30 seconds over a low heat, then stir in the coriander seeds, cinnamon, red chillies, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves and 1 tsp of the cumin seeds. Fry the spices for 5 mins or so until dark brown, stirring continuously so that they don’t burn, then set this garam masala aside to cool.

Heat the remaining 75ml of oil in a large pan for a minute over a medium heat, then add the other tsp of cumin seeds and fry until they start to brown. This only takes a minute or two, so be careful not to overcook or burn them. Stir the onion paste into the cumin seeds (watch out, as the oil may spit) and fry until dark brown, stirring regularly to avoid sticking or burning – I usually stir, cover the pan and leave the mixture to cook for a minute before stirring again, repeating this 5 or 6 times until the onion is done.

Crush the ginger using a pestle and mortar (or a blender), to make a fine pulp. Stir the tomatoes into the onions, followed by the ginger, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric and sugar, then increase the heat to high. Stir in the chickpeas with their cooking water, along with an additional 300ml of warm water, then cover the pan and leave to simmer for 5 mins, stirring occasionally.

While the chickpeas are cooking, finely grind the cooled roasted spices in a blender or with a pestle and mortar. Add to the chickpea mixture, stir, then remove the pan from the heat.

Sprinkle with the chopped coriander, then cover the pan again and leave to rest for around 10 mins to allow the flavours to infuse.

Reheat over a medium heat until piping hot


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