Chole…

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Here comes the Chole or Chickpeas curry …the aromatic, flavorful, delicious dish from the north is easy to make, healthy and a favorite with my family and friends :). When I started my blog, this recipe was the most requested one and I was glad that they relished this favorite Indian dish from my kitchen. This recipe is again, copied from my mom with a slight variation I gave by adding garam masala powder, this dish is all about blending the spices well. It might not be the authentic Punjabi version of Chole, however, this dish is also a hit from “My Kitchen” and that explains it all…We use the Chole Masala powder readily available in the market, to get the right flavor, all we need to do is cook it well with some patience and lots of love 🙂

Moving down the memory lane…. Chickpea was rarely cooked in my family, on insisting my mom tried this authentic Punjabi dish and it came out so delicious that I still follow the same recipe. It just made my day when friends from my Engineering college still remember my homemade Chole and Gulab Jamun.. One request and my mom would wake up early, prepare the curry or sweet and my Dad would help with packing, good enough for my friends (that was for all the girls in my class about 15, I guess). Hearing from my friends, I realized cooking special dishes and sharing them with others always made me happy, my son has inherited the same with the sharing part…this love for cooking and sharing is a family legacy :). Every dish has a memory attached to it for sure and here is my recipe…

Serves: 6, Ingredients:

  • White Chickpeas or Kabuli Chana: 2 cups
  • Potato: 1
  • Onions finely chopped or coarsely grinded: 1 cup
  • Tomatoes chopped: 2 cups
  • Chopped Coriander: 2 tbsp
  • Slit Green Chilli:2
  • Jeera: 1 tbsp
  • Ginger garlic paste: 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
  • Chole Masala: 1 tbsp
  • Dhaniya powder: 2 tbsp
  • Garam Masala Powder: 1 tsp ( Adjust to taste – Optional )
  • Chilli powder: 1 tbsp (Adjust to taste)
  • Salt: Adjust to taste
  • Water: 6 cups or more (For adjusting the consistency as preferred)
  • Ghee: 1 tbsp
  • Oil: 1 tbsp

Things to prepare or set up before we start cooking:

  • Wash the chickpeas well and soak them in water overnight or for minimum 6 hours.
  • Wash the veggies being used well. I usually soak any veggies for about ten minutes in salt water and then wash them with normal water before using it.
  • Chickpeas will increase in size, so make sure to add enough water while soaking. For 2 cups of chickpeas, I add about 8 cups of water.
  • Next morning or post the soaking time, drain the water and rinse the chickpeas.
  • In a pressure cooker add chickpeas, potato, water (about 6 cups) and 1 tsp salt and cook for about 6 whistles (4 whistles on high fame + 2 whistles on low flame).
  • Once the cooker cools down, check the chickpeas. They should be soft when mashed, if not cook for two more whistles until the chickpeas is cooked well and soft.
  • Do not drain the stock, it can be used for the chole gravy.

Let’s Get Started:

  • Heat the cooking pan or kadhai, add oil and ghee.
  • Add Jeera and let them splutter.
  • Now add green chillies, let them fry a bit and add finely chopped or pureed onions.
  • Saute until the onions turn light brown , add salt, turmeric powder to the onions, mix well.
  • Add ginger garlic paste, give a good mix and allow it to fry till the raw smell of ginger garlic paste fades away.
  • Add chole masala powder, red chilli powder, dhaniya powder, garam masala powder. Saute stirring often on medium flame, until the onion paste clumps together and you see that brownish color which indicates that the spices have blended well.
  • Add tomatoes, mix well and cook for about two minutes.
  • Add the water or stock from the cooked chickpeas, mix well and cook until tomatoes turn mushy.
  • Mash the potato, add it to the gravy and mix well.
  • Add the cooked chole, mix well and let it cook for about ten minutes.
  • Take a big spoon or a laddle and mash some chole randomly. This mashed chole adds some extra taste to the dish.
  • Add extra water if required, to adjust the consistency according to your preference. Let it simmer on low to medium flame for another ten minutes.
  • Add chopped coriander, give it a good mix. Turn off the flame and we are all set 🙂

My Take on the dish:

  • To make the flavorful chole, here are few pointers: * Cook the chopped or pureed onions well until light brown. * Dry spices added like chole masala, dhaiya powder, chilli powder, garam masala powder should be mixed well and cooked until the mixture clumps together. * If the onion and spices mixture is not cooked well, it alters the taste of the dish.
  • Tomatoes can be pureed and added, however, make sure to cook and fry it well. I prefer using chopped tomatoes in my recipe, I tried adding puree, there was a variation in taste. Depends on your taste buds as well lol.
  • If the tomatoes are too sour or the gravy tastes sour, adding some kasuri methi will balance the sourness.
  • Mashing few chickpeas randomly in the gravy gives an extra flavor and chole tastes yummier.

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