Chole Masala & Nan
This post was first written in June 2013 and updated in June 2021
I love this recipe, chickpeas in a tomato sauce. It can be spiced in any way you like, with whatever you have, and served with fresh cooked, fluffy nan. It won’t be as authentic if you use different spices, but sometimes, you just have to use whatever you have! It’s very tasty just as it is.
What is the difference between Chole and Chana?
I was a bit vague on what chana masala is and what chole masala is. I kind of thought of them as the same thing, so I was interested to read this definition when I stumbled across it in Wikipedia
Wiki – Chana masala ([ˈtʃənaː məˈsaːlaː], literally ‘mix-spiced small-chickpeas’), also known as channay, chole masala, chhole masala, chole or chholay (plural), is a dish originating from the Indian subcontinent. The main ingredient is a variety of chickpea called chana (चना) or kala chana (‘black chana’). They are half the diameter of typical chickpeas with a stronger flavour and firmer texture even after being cooked.
Chole is the name for the larger and lighter coloured chickpea commonly found in the West. These are known as kabuli chana (काबुली चना) in Hindi. Chana masala is fairly dry and spicy with a sour citrus note (the flavor usually comes from coriander and onion). Chana are usually replaced by chole in most restaurants,[clarification needed] and both versions are widely sold as snack food and street food in the Indian subcontinent.
How To Make Chole Masala and Nan
First of all, make the nan. I love these nan, they look, to me at any rate, very authentic, and taste fab. These really need to rest for at least an hour to get that doughy nan texture. If you make and eat them straight away, they will still taste good, but they will be more cakey. You can mix them up them in the morning, or the previous evening if more convenient, and leave covered in the bowl for when you are ready.
Stir all the nan ingredients together and give it all a little knead. Kneading isn’t compulsory, just leave it in the bowl if you prefer. Place in an oiled bowl and leave to prove for an hour. Punch down and divide into 2. Roll out into nan shapes.
When you are ready to eat, pre-heat grill to high and place each nan on the grill pan and grill until it puffs and there are some brown spots. No need to turn over. Brush with the spread and serve straight away. Or use a hot, dry, frying pan to cook your nan.
While the nan are proving, make the chole masala.
Heat a little oil in a pan, add the onion and fry until softened.
Mix in the tomatoes and chickpeas and simmer until you have a thick paste.
Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust if necessary.
- There are no spices in this recipe as we have none in the shopping list for the weeks meal plan, but if you have some available, this is the recommended blend. Add ½ tsp fine chopped fresh ginger, ½ tsp turmeric, pinch chilli, fat clove garlic finely chopped, pinch garam masala, tsp ground coriander, tsp ground cumin and a little fresh, chopped, coriander sprinkled over at the end. Or a couple of tablespoons of your favourite curry paste – I like Pataks, each blend I have tried has loads of flavour and it’s so easy to use.
- A mixture of any of these, depending on what is in your cupboard would all work well, or indeed, any spices that you have will add interest, although the chole is perfectly tasty just as it is.
- Use large green or brown lentils instead of chick peas, or butter beans or haricot beans
This is from Meal Plan 1, a complete 7 day plan for 2 adults. Contains 3 meals a day, plus snacks, all recipes and a shopping list
Want More Ways To Use Chickpeas?
- 125 g dried chick peas or a drained can
- 70 g onions chopped
- ½ tin tomatoes 200g
- 10 g sugar
- 1 tblsp veg oil
- 125 g flour self raising
- 1 tsp sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 tblsp butter or spread
- 60 ml water
- First of all, make the nan. These really need to rest for at least an hour to get that doughy nan texture. If you make and eat them straight away, they will still taste good, but they will be more cakey. You can make them in the morning, or the previous evening if more convenient
- Stir all the nan ingredients together and give it all a good knead. Place in an oiled bowl and leave to prove for an hour. Punch down and divide into 2. Roll out into nan shapes.
- When you are ready to eat, pre-heat grill to high and place each nan on the grill pan and grill until it puffs and there are some brown spots. No need to turn over. Brush with the spread and serve straight away. If you don't want to use the grill, a dry frying pan works just as well.
- If you are using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight and cook them the next day for about 45 minutes until very soft. This can be done in a slow cooker for fuel efficiency, you could even put them in from dried and slow cook them overnight.
- Or if you have a pressure cooker, I tend to do mine, from dry, in there, on full pressure for 45 minutes. Or you could cook them when you have time and freeze them for when you need them.
- Or use a tin. Drain it. Reserve the juice as this is aquafaba and can be used for many different things
- Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and fry until softened.
- Mix in the tomatoes and chickpeas and simmer until you have a thick paste.
- Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust if necessary
- Serve with the nan
Had this for dinner tonight, tasted great, thanks!
Ooh yes, mushrooms in it would be lovely. Let me know how you get on 🙂
I made this curry tonight and my kids absolutely loved it! I had some mushrooms knocking about so chucked them in as well.
Thank you so much for putting these meal plans together I’m going to be using them over the next few months whilst I try and save some money.
Sorry Michelle, I was out last night. The Nan ingredients are from the milk down. So the 60ml milk, 125g flour, tsp sugar, pinch salt and tbslp spread
Which ingredients are for the nan bread? I’m a bit confused 🙂