You can taste the flavour of Punjab, specially Lahore in this wholesome, rich and aromatic Murgh Cholay recipe, chicken and chickpea curry is a popular street food and brunch with the Lahorites.


A sunny, lazy, Sunday morning…a comforting meal of Murgh Cholay with hot naans straight from clay oven with a huge glass of lassi (yogurt drink) and then an afternoon siesta – life is beautiful!

I have turned this classic recipe into a convenient one-pot meal. Instead of boiling the chickpeas separately and then adding to curry, I cook them in the same masala and broth to save myself from washing one less pan. Usually I have boiled chickpeas in my freezer, using them makes the whole thing come together even more quickly.

You can soak the chickpeas overnight too but if you often forget to do that like me, you can soak them only for 30 minutes with a pinch of baking soda in hot water and then use the same water to cook them.

Using a pressure cooker or pre-cooked canned chickpeas can save your time too. Just don’t forget to rinse them to get rid of extra salt and preservatives.


1 cup dry chickpeas or 2 tins canned chickpeas
Water for soaking and boiling the chickpeas
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 kg chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 pods black cardamom
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon salt(or to taste)
3 tablespoon sunflower oil or ghee
2 tablespoons wheat flour( optional)

This Is What You Do:

Soak 1 cup dry chickpeas in enough hot water to cover them with 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for 30 minutes. Skip this step if using precooked or canned chickpeas.

Fry onions in a deep pan until golden brown, add garlic, chicken and all the spices, fry for 3-4 minutes or till the juices are sealed. Scoop out chicken from the pan and set aside. (If using precooked chickpeas, no need to remove chicken).

Add chickpeas with their soaking water and salt to the pan. Cover and cook on medium low heat till chickpeas are tender and liquid reduced. Add chicken back to the pan, add 2-3 cups more water. Allow to simmer till the chicken is tender and the broth is reduced to around 1 cup. Traditionally this is a thick stew, made thick by two methods; one is to mash 1/3 of the chickpeas inside the pot with the help of a wooden ladle, or you can dilute 2 tablespoons of wheat flour in 1/2 a cup of water and add to the gravy. Turn the heat down, let the gravy thicken up.

Garnish with chopped onion, green chilli pepper and fresh coriander leaves. Serve with nan bread.

Serves 4

6 Replies to “Punjabi Murgh Cholay, Chicken and Chickpea Curry”

  1. I’m always thinking of different ways to use chickpeas, will definitely give this a go, Maria. I can just picture that lazy Sunday afternoon, and enjoying this delicious meal.

    1. Thank you, Lin! Chickpeas are, hands down, one of my most favourite ingredients to cook with. Hope you’ll enjoy!

  2. Hello Maria,
    I took your recipe and made my own version, I added pretty much what you wrote it down, made some changes and mentioned your site into my blog.

    My apologies if I was confused, that was me. I loved this recipe.

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