Murgh Cholay (Chicken and Chickpeas Curry)

Servings : Serves 6-8

This is a dish that combines chicken and chickpeas in a flavourful tomato sauce resulting in a finger-licking curry that goes well with naan, parathas or rice.


  • 1 chicken, skin removed and cut up into 8-10 pieces (1-1.5kg)
  • 3-4 cups boiled chickpeas (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup plain yoghurt, whisked until smooth
  • 1/4 cup channa dal, soaked and boiled (optional)
  • 2-3 tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste/puree
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1-2 green chillies, slit
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped


First, soak and boil the chickpeas and the lentils. Drain and set these aside.

I usually mash the boiled channa dal (lentils) as this helps thicken the gravy considerably.

Heat oil, add the cumin seeds and allow them to splutter. Add the onions and fry until golden. Then add the ginger and garlic pastes, fry for a minute until fragrant. Next, add the tomato paste plus the chopped tomatoes. Cook over medium heat until the tomatoes are all mushy and oil gets released from the sides. Turn the heat up and add the chicken pieces. Sprinkle the cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt, stir them in. Stir-fry the chicken pieces until they begin to take colour, then turn the heat down to medium and add the whisked yoghurt.

Cook while stirring regularly until some oil begins to get released from the sides and the yoghurt is incorporated. then add about half a cup of water, mix well and then cover the pan and turn the heat down to low. Allow the chicken to simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes giving an occasional stir.

When the chicken is tender, add the chickpeas and boiled lentils and stir them in. You can add some water depending on how much gravy you prefer. Let everything simmer together on very low heat for another 10 minutes, for a thicker gravy, mash some of the chickpeas and add it back into the gravy. Sprinkle the garam masala, slit chillies and chopped coriander just before turning the heat off.

Serve with naan bread, parathas or rice.


2 thoughts on “Murgh Cholay (Chicken and Chickpeas Curry)
2 Replies
  • Hi. I am confused about one
    Hi. I am confused about one thing? You say to use chickpeas and additionally (optionally) channa dal. I thought chickpeas and channa dal is the same thing? Just want to make sure I’m not misunderstanding or mistaken and supposed to be using another type of dal. Thanks!

    • Hi, chickpeas are when they
      Hi, chickpeas are when they are WHOLE, and we use the white chickpeas for this recipe. Channa dal are the split lentils from the smaller brown/black chickpeas with skin removed. The inside split lentils are yellow.

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