Chholey – or Chickpea Curry – Vegetarian

By February 27, 2012

Submitted by Teresa G.

This is an Indian vegetarian dish so full of flavour.  A meal on its own.  We enjoy it over rice but most of all I enjoy it as a side dish accompanying beef stroganoff that I also cook in the pressure cooker.

The pressure cooker is a wonderful cooking tool which I try to use DAILY.  I think I am eating a lot healthier because of it and learning so many ways to use it. Pressure cooking has opened my eyes as to the different ethnic dishes that can be made and enjoyed…and shopping in the various ethnic stores is a treat!



  • 2 cups of dry chickpeas – washed and soaked overnight in boiling water covering the chick peas
  • (Sometimes I want to make it and had not soaked the chickpeas overnight so then I soak them during the day for several hours)
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes ( 796 ml) with the liquid ½ – tsp of Garam Masala – which can be bought in any Indian grocery store – inexpensive
  • 2 tablespoons heaping of Chholey Masala, MDH brand also purchased in any Indian grocery store
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste – I mash and chop up 3-4 cloves of garlic if I do not have the paste on hand
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste – again if I do not have ginger on hand I will use ginger powder to taste (1-2 tbsp)
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • Salt to taste – I only add a little as I am trying to eliminate it from my diet
  • 2-4 tablespoons lemon juice.  Adjust it according to taste.
  • Coriander leaves – washed and minced  or again just use coriander powder – a tsp or so.


  • After soaking the chickpeas overnight put your pressure cooker to heat (sauté function)  boil the chick peas in about 2 cups of water for about 10 minutes.  Skim off the frothing otherwise the pressure cooker vent may get blocked. Pour the chick peas and water into another container and put aside.
  • Heat the oil in the pressure cooker – you may add more oil if need to, becareful not to burn the spices.
  • Heat the garam masala in the oil to bring out the flavour.
  • Add diced onion and when it is transparent add the turmeric.  Cook it a bit.
  • Add the ginger and garlic, stir it a bit to cook.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook a bit.
  • Now add the 2 heaping tablespoons of chholey masala Add the presoaked chickpeas with about 2 cups of water Add salt to taste Pressure cook for about 20 – 25 minutes Let the pressure release naturally Then add the coriander leaves or powder and the lemon juice to taste.

Enjoy as a dish on its own over rice or noodles or as a side dish.

I eat it on its own for lunch.

I also have to say that when I pressure cook, I like to do the rice at the same time….I have a metal container that seals (or use another heat proof type that you can wrap with aluminum foil).

I put one cup rice and two cups water in it, seal it and place it gently on top of the chick peas in the pressure cooker, then it cooks along with the Chholey.  25 minutes is long for rice but the rice comes out the way I like it….very sticky and thick.  Perfect for the chholey.  If you like fluffy rice then cook separately or pressure cook for much shorter time.  I use brown rice mixed with white.

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7 Responses to “Chholey – or Chickpea Curry – Vegetarian”

  1. Iantha says:

    If you don’t have chholey masala, is there anything you can sub? Just curry for instance?


  2. Ronald says:

    I have an Instant Pot and use it regularly. I would like to make this and other Indian food but I eat a whole food plant based diet ala “Forks Over Knives” and Dr. McDougall, which means no added oil. Can this be made without using added fat (oil}?


    Instant Pot Staff Reply:

    Hi Ronald,

    The recipe should still work. The taste will be different.


    Ronald Reply:

    Thanks! I was concerned about the statement “be careful not to burn the spices” – How not to burn them if not using oil.


    Michael Reply:

    You don’t have to heat up the spices in oil, it just helps to bring out the flavor. It will still be good if you just mix the garam masala into the liquid ingredients. To alter this recipe, don’t add the garam masala until the step where you add the chholey masala.
    Additionally, you can water saute the onions, ginger, and garlic. So, basically use water instead of oil, don’t add the garam masala until after you’ve added the tomatoes.
    If you want to bring out the garam masala flavor you could toast the spices in the oven or a toaster oven first. Or, if you make your own masala mix and grind it right before using the spices in a dish, you can toast the unground spices in a pan (preferably cast iron) before grinding them. (If you have Netflix, the Good Eats Collection is streaming and Alton Brown shows how to do this in the curry episode.)

    Alternatively, you may use a very small amount of oil (1 tsp or so) to toast the ground garam masala mix in the pressure cooker before adding a little water with the onions to water saute them. If you did this you’d have to be very careful not to burn the spices and you’d have to work quickly- having your water and diced onions right next to the pot and ready to go in right when you need them.

  3. Lisa says:

    The instant pot setting wasn’t given for this recipe. Which is to be used for the 25 minutes?


    Instant Pot Staff Reply:

    Teresa G. said that she used the “Less” mode in Bean/Chili setting, which runs 25 minutes. You can also use the Manual mode and set the time to 25 minutes.


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