Family recipes that champion my home made spice blends:

Chickpea curry recipe using chick pea curry powder & garam masala:


Ingredients for pressure cooking:

100 grams raw, uncooked chickpeas (makes for 2-3 adult portions) that have been soaked in water overnight

425 ml of water

1 tea bag to give whole the dark brown colour (optional)

1 to 1.5 tsp of salt

Ingredients for the gravy:

1 large onion chopped finely

1 to 1.5 medium tomatoes chopped finely

1 tsp ginger paste

1/2 tsp garlic paste

Dry whole spices :

1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 cardamom, 1 clove, 1-2 dried red chillies (optional)

2-3 TBS olive oil

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

salt to taste

1/4 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)

1 to 2 tsp chick pea curry powder

For garnishing:

Chopped coriander

1 inch piece of Ginger julienne

Thinly sliced onion rings


Rinse and soak chickpeas in enough water overnight. The chickpeas will grow in size so ensure there is sufficient water to soak them in. In a pressure cooker, add the soaked chola with 425 ml of fresh water, salt and tea bag. The tea bag lends the chickpeas a dark brown colour. Traditionally Indian gooseberries are used but these are not easily available. The substitute is a tea bag. This step is optional. Without the tea bag, the punjabi chola dish is yellowish in colour. Pressure cook the chickpeas for 10 mins or 21 to 23 whistles (this may vary based on the brand of the pressure cooker). You will know the chickpeas are ready if they are easy to mash between the thumb and the finger. They should retain their shape but still be easy to mash with your finger or the back of the spoon. Heat oil in a wok or pan, add the whole spices, add the chopped onions. Sauté them for 5 minutes or so and as they start to brown, add the ginger and garlic paste. Continue to saute this mixture until the onions turn translucent and start turning into a paste. Add the chopped tomatoes to the onion mixture. Saute this mixture until you see the onion and tomato paste gel together properly. This final mixture of onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes can take up to 20-25 minutes of cooking to get to the required consistency. Now add the turmeric powder, salt and garam masala and mix well.  Now add the chickpea curry powder and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. At this stage, add the pressure cooked chickpeas (without any stock from the pressure cooker) into the onion and tomato paste. Check for salt. Add if required. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes. Now add approximately 200ml of stock (if this is less then just top it up with water) and mix well. Cook the dish on low flame until the gravy thickens and is of the appropriate consistency. You can even mash a few chickpeas to help thicken the gravy. Garnish the dish with chopped coriander leaves, ginger julienne and onion rings. Serve with Indian whole meal parathas or boiled cumin basmati rice

Additional notes: If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you have two choices:

Use cooked canned chickpeas. Add them once your onion and tomato paste with the spices are ready OR wash and soak uncooked chickpeas overnight. Add a pinch of baking soda in the soaking bowl to help with the cooking process. After they have soaked overnight, boil them in a pot of water (enough to cover and top up by an additional 3 inches) partially covering the pot with a lid, leaving a small gap to let off steam, until they are cooked. This can take a long time. As they boil in water, the water may start getting frothy. Remove the frothiness and keep topping up with water.

Chicken Xacuti recipe using curry powder & garam masala 

Chicken curry

Utensils used: wok or kadai with a lid, pan, food processor or mixer


250-280 grams of boneless and skinless chicken thighs cut into small pieces (for two portions of curry)

Salt to taste

60 grams fresh coconut pieces

5 garlic cloves

2 inch piece of ginger – roughly chopped

1.5 small red onions roughly chopped

1 small onion finely chopped

15-20 grams of tamarind pulp

1 TBS of my home made curry powder

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder

1/3 tsp garam masala

Handful of coriander leaves

2-3 TBS olive oil

Handful of curry leaves


  • Cut the chicken thighs into small pieces
  • Take a wok, add 2 TBS of olive oil, add 1.5 small roughly chopped red onions, ginger and garlic and fry this for 10-15 minutes. Let this mixture cool down
  • In a separate pan, dry roast the coconut pieces until they brown at the edges. Allow it to cool down
  • Transfer all of the above into a mixer/ food processor, add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and approx 20-30 ml of water to make a paste (should not be runny but thick in consistency)
  • Now heat some oil in a wok, add some curry leaves, add the finely chopped onion and fry properly for 20-25 minutes until it is paste like
  • Add HALF the mixture of onions, ginger, garlic and coconut into the wok and fry for 5 minutes
  • Add 1 TBS of curry powder and fry for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the chicken pieces and coat these with the curry paste and cook for 5-7 minutes with the lid on. While this is cooking, add 10-20 ml of hot water to 20 grams of tamarind pulp, wait a minute and then gently mash the tamarind pulp with the fork until it dissolves in the water. Take out the fibre so that you are left with the smooth tamarind paste
  • Now take some water and add it (make sure the gravy does not become watery or too runny so add as much water as is required) and cook for 10 minutes
  • Add the tamarind pulp and cook for a further 5 minutes
  • Finally,  add garam masala and cook for an additional minute
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with Indian naan bread or hot basmati rice


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