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Meherwan Irani's Cholle (Chana Masala)

Meherwan Irani's Cholle (Chana Masala)

Chai Time is an ongoing series on Spicewalla’s IGTV featuring chef and Spicewalla founder Meherwan Irani cooking Indian dishes LIVE in his home and answering all your cooking qs. Check out the video for Cholle here to learn some tips and tricks that only an Indian mom or aunt could teach you! Follow us on instagram to tune in live and join the conversation.

Meherwan grew up eating this rich, aromatic, tomato-based chickpea stew and now you too can cook one of his childhood favorites! With patience and love, this flavorful vegetarian dish comes together in almost no time and is the ultimate Indian comfort food. 

Yield: 4 servings
TIme: 30 minutes


2 tbsp neutral vegetable oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 heaping tsp. Spicewalla Cumin Seed

Spicewalla Black Cardamom Pods

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste*

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 green chilli, minced (Serrano pepper or whatever green chili you can find!)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

1/2 heaping tsp Spicewalla Cumin

1/2 heaping tsp Spicewalla Coriander

1/2 tsp Spicewalla Kashmiri Chilli Powder

1/2 tsp Spicewalla Turmeric Powder

1/2 tsp Spicewalla Garam Masala

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups of hot water or stock

1 tbsp tamarind paste, optional

Cooked basmati rice for serving

Optional garnishes: achar (Indian pickle), fresh cilantro, lime, thinly sliced red onion, green chillies, Spicewalla Chaat Masala


  1.  Heat 2 tbsp oil to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add cumin seed and black cardamom pods and stir to toast the spices.
  2.  Add onion and sautĂ© until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  3.  Add ginger-garlic paste and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium and stir.
  4.  Add minced green chili and garlic and continue stirring to caramelize the onions and incorporate the onion masala base.
  5.  Add chopped cilantro and wilt it down into the base.
  6.  Add Cumin, Coriander, Kashmiri powder and turmeric and stir.
  7.  Add a splash of hot water to sizzle the spices and further incorporate the flavors.
  8.  Add crushed tomatoes and stir. Cook the tomatoes down until the color darkens and they become rich and glossy. If using, add tamarind paste to boost the acidity.
  9.  Add the chickpeas and stir, coating them in the masala mixture.
  10.  Pour in hot water or hot stock (make sure the temperature of the liquid is hot so as to not "shock" the pot) and stir well.
  11.  Remove the cardamom pods and discard them. Continue cooking over medium-low heat, simmering the stew until chickpeas have softened slightly and the stew is aromatic.
  12.  Add garam masala at the end of the cook and stir, adding more salt to taste as needed.
  13.  Serve with rice, roti, and additional garnishes!

Note: ginger-garlic paste is equal parts fresh garlic and ginger, ground into a paste with a food processor. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 weeks and is great to have around to be used in all sorts of recipes! You can even freeze it into ice cube trays to make the paste last even longer.

1 Comment

  • I replace the tamarind with amchoor and anardana. Makes it just like the Delhi street version.

    Mik HAMILTON on

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