“She looked me straight in the eye and asked for my chest number, as she needed to note down the winners. All she had to do was to look a couple of inches lower and take it right off my chest!” exasperated the bronze medalist of 800 m race, this School Sports day, where it was compulsory to wear the large chest number badges.
Chole | Channa Masala, the pride of Punjab and the glory of Delhi street food, the popular North Indian curry made with Kabuli channa, loved by one and all, needs no introduction. It was made to commemorate the bronze medalist, my Ms. Fourteen going on Fifteen.
I discovered and rediscovered Chole, as a little Delhite, in Lodhi gardens, Connaught Place, Palika Bazaar, Sarojini Market, Karol Baugh and C Markets of Delhi along with other street food like Golgappas, Aloo chat, Samosas and Jaljeera. Now I am not so sure about street food! Ignorance is bliss!
Prep Time : 9 hours; Cooking Time : 30 mins; Serves: 4 – 6
- 11/2 cup kabuli chana | garbanzo beans | white chickpeas
- 3 cups of water
- 3 – 4 dried amla | gooseberry pieces (or dry roast chopped fresh amla pieces)
- 1 black tea bag
- 3 large onions
- 3 medium sized tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 to 3 green chilies
- 1 inch ginger
- 1/2 a lemon
- 3 sprigs coriander leaves
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp amchur powder | dry mango powder
- 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp s Chole masala powder
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil | sunflower oil or any cooking oil
- rock salt powder as per taste
- 2 black cardamoms
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 3 black peppercorns
- 3 cloves
- 1 tej patta | bay leaf
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp saunf | fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp anardana | dry pomegranate seeds (optional, if not easily available)
- 2 or 3 dry red chilies
- Wash thoroughly and soak the Kabuli channa in enough water overnight.
- Next morning pressure cook the Kabuli channa along with dry amla pieces (lends a hint of tartness) and the tea bag (for dark brown coloured channa) upto 9 – 10 whistles, till the channa is totally soft and cooked. Discard the amla pieces and the tea bag.
- Meanwhile dry roast the spices for the chole masala, till lightly brown and fragrant. Cool and grind them in a dry grinder.
- Also finely chop the onions, tomatoes, garlic, 1/2 inch of ginger piece and slit green chillies into lengthwise pieces.
- Heat oil in Kadai | wok | skillet | pan , add chopped ginger,garlic, saute till their raw smell goes away, then add chopped onions, salt, saute till the onions turn translucent, now add tomatoes, saute them well till they are well cooked.
- Take half the gravy and 1 tbsp of the pressure cooked Kabuli channa, blend it coarsely in a blender. This helps to thicken the gravy faster, then transfer the ground paste back to the pan.
- Add the freshly ground chole masala powder, turmeric powder and lengthwise slit green chilly pieces, add the water in which channa was cooked and then finally the kabuli channa to the pan. Mix well, cover and simmer cook on a low flame till the gravy thickens for about 10 – 15 mins. At this stage add amchur powder, simmer without the lid for another 5 mins and switch of heat. Do note the gravy will thicken a bit more, as it cools down. Check for seasoning.
- Chop the coriander leaves and julienne the other 1/2 inch of ginger piece. Squeeze in the lemon juice and garnish with chopped coriander leaves and ginger juliennes. Make sure to add lemon juice at the end, when the chole is not too hot, as it may tend to get bitter.