Rinse and soak the chickpeas overnight.
Cook the chickpeas until soft. Save the stock from the cooked chickpeas and set aside.
In a pan add one tablespoon of the oil and sauté the onions until golden brown.
Add ginger and garlic to the pan and sauté for two minutes.
Add the tomatoes along with salt and sauté until soft.
Add turmeric and chili powder to the pan and cook until the oil oozes out on top. Cool and blend this into paste.
In the same pan, add remaining oil and sauté all the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, clove and green cardamom.
Add the blended paste to the pan along with the stock. Add garam masala, coriander powder and stir the mixture.
Add the chickpeas to the mixture and let it boil for 10-15 minutes or until it reaches a desired consistency. Remove bay leaf, cinnamon stick, clove and cardamom pods and discard.
Stir in cooked chicken if desired.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.