Chikkar cholay is a much-loved street food found all over Punjab, typically eaten for breakfast or brunch, but it’s fantastic any time of the day! Chikkar is the word for mush or mud and cholay is the Punjabi word for chickpeas, so the name means mushy chickpeas, which is exactly what the dish is, a chickpea curry with a muddy, mushy consistency and color. I know that doesn’t sound the most appealing but just stay with me here because it’s delicious!
Chikkar cholay is very wholesome and warming since it’s made with warm spices such a cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and garam masala, so it’s perfect in this cooler weather. It also has a distinct tanginess to it which comes from the amchur (dried mango). Lemon juice or chaat masala can also be used as a garnish for the extra tang if needed!
Chikkar cholay can be served with chicken (murgh cholay) or topped with boiled eggs (anday cholay) but having it on its own is perfectly fine too (yay for vegans!).
I didn’t think much of chikkar cholay when I was younger, probably because my taste buds just weren't ready for the spice, warmth, and earthiness of this dish! But I now have a much deeper appreciation of the flavor and wholesomeness of it. One bite takes me back to those Sunday mornings having it with paranthe or fresh puri. Having it on the streets in Lahore was such a fun experience too!
As always, I’ve made the recipe easy to replicate at home by opting for canned chickpeas, a little healthier than the traditional version with much less oil and the recipe is completely plant based. I hope you enjoy this delicious and healthy Punjabi plant-based option and I hope I did this dish justice and that my Lahori parents approve, no pressure at all!
Let me know if you recreate this at home, happy cooking!
This recipe is part of my Regional Pakistani Recipes. Click here for more info.