Mar 14

Health Foods A-Z: Green Chickpeas or Choliya

Chickpeas are found in 3 variants: Black Chickpeas, that have a dark and rough coating and are small in size, Garbanzo beans, that are the big, white ones with a smoother coating and the third is fresh chickpeas-green in color, crisp and do not require cooking. Green chickpeas are similar in size and appearance to black chickpeas, but vary in color and texture. Black chickpeas are also much tougher and need to be cooked much longer than green chickpeas, which can be eaten raw. Green chickpeas taste somewhere between a fresh green pea and a chickpea. They are sweeter than chickpeas but less mushy than green peas.

Green chickpeas are seasonal and are usually available in winter. They are also called choliya or Punjabi chana. They are sold with other vegetables in India. I remember these from winter evenings when my mom would sauté these with cumin seeds and add lemon and salt for a quick and healthy snack. I loved the crispy taste and fresh flavor, and my mom loved me eating healthy food.

Not only do these taste great, they are rich in nutrition, much like chickpeas. High in protein and carbohydrates, these are a sure health food. Green chickpeas are also a good source for vitamins A and C, and excellent for Iron. These chickpeas are also a good source for dietary fiber, which helps the digestive system. Green chickpeas do not contain any fat and are a boon to weight watchers. They can help fill the tummy when hunger strikes, without the fat.

In the US, Indian and Mexican grocery stores stock frozen packets of green chickpeas. Even Costco has these stocked in frozen bags.This is almost as good as the fresh variants. Fresh green chickpeas are available in Canada, but I have not come across fresh green chickpeas in the US so far.

My favorite way to eat these is plain and raw, or flavored with lemon. However, a lot of people don’t like them raw and plain, and find them very bland. They can also taste very good when sautéed with cumin seeds and seasoned, like I mentioned above. Green chickpeas can be used in most recipes that are made using green peas such as peas pulao, potatoes and peas, etc.

The recipe I have provided below is a quick and simple recipe. The only pre work required is dicing potatoes and chopping onions, so the overall cooking time is under 15 minutes.


Fresh or frozen Hara Chana/ Choliya (Green Chickpea): 1 cup

1 medium potato, peeled and chopped

Cumin seeds (zeera): 1/2 tsp

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Shredded ginger: 1/2 tsp

Shredded garlic: 1/2 tsp

Red chili powder: 1 tsp

Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp

Coriander powder: 1 tbsp

Amchoor powder (raw mango powder): 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Oil: 2 tbsp.

Water: 3-4 tbsp.

Cilantro or fresh coriander leaves, to garnish


If using frozen chickpeas, make sure to thaw them before cooking.

Heat oil in a pan. Once oil is hot, add cumin seeds. Stir and cook for 30-40 seconds, till they begin to sizzle. Add the onions. Sauté the onions till they start to brown. Once done, add ginger and garlic. Sauté for a few seconds then add the chana, or chickpeas and potato. Add the red chili powder, turmeric, amchoor, coriander and salt. Mix well. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes. Uncover and keep cooking till potatoes are done.

Serve hot. Garnish with coriander.

This recipe goes very well with Indian bread or roti and yogurt.

This post is part of a series on Health Foods. I have previously written about Avocado, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Dates, Eggs and Fennel. Comin up: Honey

2 pings

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