Shahi Chole Masala



When I think about chole/ chickpeas, I think of a nice spicy, tangy and a robust curry. I like it when the chickpeas are really soft (almost mushy) and there is an amazing curry as a sauce thickly coating it. That’s the style usually available in roadside Dhabas (restaurants) and other eateries. And that’s the style I’ve always had it in. There is a creaminess in the cooked chickpeas that goes well with a spicy curry base I guess. Also, chickpeas are made so often and in so many variations in the Indian cuisine, that it’s almost a staple in most Indian homes. However, I never thought of it as a ‘Shahi’ dish. ‘Shahi’ being royal or rich or even sophisticated. It’s our day to day meal ingredient! There is shahi chicken, shahi paneer and shahi other things, but I’ve never thought of this humble ingredient as anything ‘shahi’. So, all in all, I was pleasantly surprised making this dish, because in my opinion, this humble dish beautifully transforms into a mouth-watering dish and can certainly hold its own to any other shahi dish out there.

In this dish, I have used cashew cream instead of the fresh cream usually used in shahi dishes. This dish goes down quite a treat as it has a unique nutty and rich flavour and is also flexible in a way that you can adapt it by using fresh cream or coconut milk for adding the creaminess. Its pairs well as a side dish to a full Indian meal or as a main dish to be had with Naan/Roti or any rice dish like steamed rice/pilaf etc.

To prepare the chickpeas:

1.Soak 1 cup of chickpeas in a big bowl with ample amount of water overnight.

Note: chickpeas grows almost double in size when soaked in water overnight.

2. In a deep bottomed pan, add the chickpeas, a tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of baking soda and boil for 12-15 minutes or until the chickpeas are nice and soft. Now, the chickpeas are ready to use. (if you are using a pressure cooker, 2 whistles on medium heat is usually enough, cook longer if required)

If using chickpeas from a can, the above steps are not necessary and can directly be used in the curry.

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Prep time: 10 minutes

You will need:

  1. Chickpeas-2 cups, pre-boiled
  2. Onion- 1 large, chopped finely
  3. Tomato- 1 large, pureed in a blender
  4. Cashews- 10-15 nos
  5. Hot water – ½ cup, warm (can use coconut/almond milk)
  6. Ginger- 1 inch
  7. Garlic- 6-7 cloves
  8. Green Cardamom- 2-3 nos
  9. Black cardamom- 1 nos
  10. Bay leaf- 1 nos
  11. Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
  12. Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
  13. Red chilli powder- 1 tsp
  14. Coriander powder- 1 tsp
  15. Green coriander leaves- a handful, finely chopped
  16. Green chillies- 2 nos, slit in between
  17. Garam masala powder- ½ tsp
  18. Oil- 2-3 tbsp
  19. Salt- to taste


  1. First soak the cashews in water or warm coconut/almond milk for 5 minutes and later blend it into a thick paste. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, add the oil and fry the onions until they are golden brown. This will take about 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
  3. Add the cumin seeds, green cardamom, black cardamoms, bay leaf, ginger and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Now, add the tomato puree, turmeric, red chilli and coriander powder and salt and cook covered for another 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens and there is a bit of oil oozing from the sides. The onion-tomato sauce shouldn’t taste raw.
  5. At this point, add the pre-boiled chickpeas into the sauce and mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the chickpeas are soft and slightly mushy. If you like, mash some chickpeas for extra thickness to the gravy.
  6. Add the cashew cream at this point and mix well and cook for another 2 minutes. You can add some water to dilute the thickness of the gravy if needed. Check for seasoning and remove from heat.
  7. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander, slit green chillies, sliced ginger and a sprinkle of garam masala. Done!

Serve this warm with accompaniment of choice and enjoy!

If you choose to use fresh cream or coconut milk, the taste will differ, but overall the curry will still be beautifully spiced and very creamy in texture.

Please try this dish and leave your feedback!



P.S: The chickpeas mentioned in this post is the large white chickpeas or garbanzo beans, commonly known as ‘kabuli chana’ in Hindi.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Your blog reflects your style and beauty. All the dishes u have posted are really yum and delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh! You are most welcome Susan.


  2. Dalia says:’s easy…but can I substitute cashew with something?


    1. susanabraham says:

      Yes, you can substitute the cashew for any other nut like almond, or a poppy seed/peanut + fresh coconut paste, fresh cream, hung curd or even coconut milk. They all will add their individual taste to the curry but all these are good additions. But when adding any paste or milk, it’s to be added towards the later part of the cooking. Pasted and milk need very little time to cook through. I hope this helps😊


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