Chole is probably one of the most popular dishes from the North Western region of India, also known as Punjab. Punjabi cuisine is robust and hearty, and this dish is that, for sure. The kids in my family all love this, and any time they're home, chole with bhatura or puri (fried bread) is sure to be on the menu once. I have referred to many websites looking for the authentic Punjabi version of this dish, and have tweaked my recipe to make it better with a few extra spices.
2cansgarbanzo beans/chickpeasif you're using dry beans, soak about a cup in plenty of water for about 8 hours, and then pressure cook them for a good 30 minutes, i typically use the canned beans
1mediumonionwhite/red onion is fine
2tbsptamarind extract optional
2tbspgreen chili + julienned fresh gingerGinger is very important in this recipe to offset the bean effect
Whole Spices For Tempering
1inchpiece of cinnamon
2tbspchole masalaReadily available in any Indian grocery store
1tspkashmiri chili powdermore for color than for heat, use regular chili powder if you want heat
1tspanardhana/pomegranate powderAvailable in Indian grocery store, this adds a unique taste
1/2tspAmchur/dry mango powderAdds a lovely tang
1mediumred onionfinely chopped
1green chilimore as needed
Gather all the ingredients
Chop onions finely, julienne ginger, slit chilies, chop tomatoes
Heat oil in a pressure cooker pan, and when hot but not smoking, add all the whole spices (cumin, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon) and saute
Add onions, saute for about 3 minutes, until translucent
Add slit chilies and ginger and saute
Add all the spice powders in a mortar/pestle with a little bit of water or the tamarind extract if using, and make a paste
Add this paste to the onion/chili/ginger mix and mix thoroughly
Add tomatoes and saute, adding salt to the whole mix. Salt helps cook the tomatoes quickly
Cook for about 7 minutes, until the tomatoes turn pulpy, and everything forms a homogenous mass, oozing out oil
Add the rinsed garbanzo at this point, give it a good mix and cover and cook with the pressure on for about 10 minutes to let all the flavors blend; if you don't have a pressure cooker, at this point you could transfer to a slow cooker and cook it on low heat for a few hours
Remove from heat, garnish with the ingredients listed under Garnish
Enjoy with puri, bhatura or in a pinch, toasted bread
Recipes for puri/bhatura to come soon! Watch this space.
Being from the southern part of India, this dish was new to me growing up, and I was introduced to it by a little roadside vendor who opened shop near our house in Chennai and I was hooked! The white bhaturas, with a dark brown chole was novel, tangy, different and just lovely. I didn't know for a long time how they got the brown color and the special unique tang until I researched online and hit on 3 ingredients:
1. Tamarind extract or tea bags used while cooking dry beans, soaked. I have never tried the tea bag method, just add tamarind extract if I'm in the mood for it, and if my tomatoes are not tart enough
2. Pomegranate and dry mango powders - my daughter tells me this recipe is more flavorful and loves it! I understand these are special flavoring used in the traditional Punjabi way of making this dish!
3. I have omitted garlic in this version, but you could add a couple of cloves of minced garlic with the ginger/chili if you love garlic
Enjoy! I haven't had real punjabi chole made by a Punjabi in India, so my version is what I know. My kids love it, and this recipe is for them!