Chole is an essential component of North Indian food. White beans soaked and cooked with an assortment of spices and served with kulcha, puri or bhatura. Chole kulcha is often eaten as a street food in Delhi, every North Indian wedding has chole on its menu and is often cooked on special occasions and festivals in households. In other words there is no North Indian food without chole.
I remember having chole on the streets of Delhi many years back and to this day I still can remember how awesome it tasted. Street food has its own charm and taste which is rarely available in food served in many restaurants. Hygiene is a different issue but I guess we all have had some kind of street food at some point in our lives.
My mother-in-law always made chole for festivals like Holi and Diwali. That has become a sort of tradition with me as I too make chole on festivals. I guess that’s how food becomes a part of your family tradition.
The spice powder contains a lot of ingredients which might seem daunting to put together, but it’s totally worth the effort to get the authentic taste. You can always use the packaged spice powder and still get decent results.
Soaking + pressure cooking (about 8 hours)
About 1 hour
- 2 cups chole/ garbanzo beans/kabuli chana, soaked
- 4-5 cups of water
- 2-3 tbsp ghee
- 2 whole black cardamom
- ½ cup black tea, brewed
- For the spice mix:
- 4 cloves
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- 14 whole black pepper
- ⅛ tsp grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp dry ginger powder
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp amchur
- 2 tsp cumin-coriander powder
- 2 tsp anardana/dry pomegranate powder
- Grind to a paste:
- 2 tomatoes, chopped roughly
- ½ red onion, chopped roughly
- 1 clove garlic, chopped roughly
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- Onion rings to garnish
Soak chole for 6-8 hours and pressure cook until soft with 4 -5 cups of water. Let the pressure release naturally.
Make the spice mix by grinding all the ingredients mentioned under to a fine powder.
Blend onion, tomato and garlic to a fine paste using ¼ cup of water if necessary.
In a pan add ghee, when it is warm add black cardamom. Saute for a minute. Add the ground paste, salt and sugar. Saute until the ghee leaves the sides of the pan and the mixture is thick, which may take 12-14 minutes.
Now add the brewed black tea. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the spice mix and mix well. Add cooked chole along with the water.
Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring in between. Adjust the seasoning. When the gravy/sauce is thick turn off the flame. Serve hot with bhatura, puri or kulcha and jeera rice.
The famous proverb "you are what you eat” as quoted by the French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is very true. Food nourishes you from the inside out. Good health is of utmost importance to me. Vegetarianism and Veganism are gaining immense popularity these days. Natural, organic, healthy and homemade is my mantra.
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