When you’re from Delhi, Chole is pretty much a staple part of your diet. At home, at friend’s homes, at restaurants – because Chole is delish. And there are many ways to cook this. The standard curry, the tangier curry, the drier version, the darker version, the one with other vegetables added to it etc etc. I shall attempt to cover all of these in the blog, over time. Today, I am covering my version of the standard, home style chole/chickpeas curry.
Our family is not Punjabi, even though we live in Delhi (yes, that is quite common!). So our standard home food, isn’t very high on the garam masala, the spices. The chole we use to have at home was quite subtle. It was all I knew until I met B, my oldest friend. We have been friends since we were in class 4. So yup, we pretty much grew up together! The food at B’s house was slightly different from that at mine, more spicy, tangy and yumms! Given that we grew up together, I have spent a ton of time at her house. Days at a time even (summer vacations!). Both of us love food and spent a lot of time eating the various delicious things her mom and sister would make. Chole was one of my favourites.
When I asked B’s mom about the recipe, I realized that in addition to some other ingredients, the thing that made it taste so amazing was amchur (dried mango powder). I promptly went home and asked for it to be made similarly at our house too. So now the Kumar household’s chole is similar to what I loved at B’s house.
My version is a slightly adapted version of what we make at home and is one of my favourite things to make for a weekday dinner. A big old bowl of comfort and nostalgia 🙂 B, thanks for the inspiration all those years ago! Hugs to your mom too 🙂
Home style Chole
Ingredients3 cups chole – soaked overnight (or in the morning if you are making it for dinner)
1 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds
1 tsp coriander (dhania) seeds
2 cardamom pods
1/2 inch cinnamon
2 green chillies split length wise
1 medium onion
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 medium tomatoes
1/4 tsp turmeric (haldi) powder
1/2 tsp dried mango powder (amchur) – increase this if you like a tangier masala
1/4 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
- Soak the chole in water for 6-8 hours. The water should be more than the chole – around double
- Drain the chole. Put them in a pressure cooker with 1 tsp salt and enough water to cover the chole (half a finger more than the level of the chole)
- Put the cooker on medium heat and let it cook for about 30 mins/7-8 whistles
- Once done, release the pressure and open the lid of the cooker. The chole should be soft and you should be able to press it, but it should not be mushy.
- In a flat bottom vessel, heat some oil. Add the cumin, coriander, cardamon, clove, pepper, cinnamon. Once they splutter, add the green chillies and cook for 30 seconds
- Blitz the onion into a paste and then add to the spices. Add a pinch of salt so that it helps it to cook faster. Cook for about 3-5 minutes till soft and golden brown. Then add ginger garlic paste and cook for a minute or so, till the raw smell goes away
- Blitz the tomatoes into pulp. Add to the pan. Mix well, add another pinch of salt and the turmeric. Let it cook for about 10-15 minutes, till the colour darkens and oil begins to separate
- Add the amchur powder, mix in. Add the chole with as much of the water as you like in a curry (I put in about half, since I don’t like very watery gravies). Mix well, cook for about 10 mins. Test for seasoning and adjust as required.
- Add garam masala, mix well. Cook for 5- 10 mins.
- Garnish with fresh coriander and lemon juice. Serve with rice.