This evening, I was somewhat taken aback at dinner time when Indira exclaimed, on spotting her katora of raungi curry “Oh no, i don’t like raungi anymore !! please make chole next time !!”
She has never shown much of a preference fo chole until today; for her it has always got to be varan-the simplest kind of arhar daal, it is a maharashtrian way of doing it, or then the other end of the scale -a typical punjabi kind of chicken curry.
In the meantime my friend Neelam also wrote today and suggested that I post my recipe for chole – she has been kind enough to say in the past that there is something different about the way I make it. Well she is about to find out that what makes the difference, most likely, is no credit to me, really, but to a well-known spice company in India 🙂
Here’s what I do. If Indira is still partial to this curry some years from now, she may want to know too !
1 cup of chickpeas/chole ( I use a cup that is a 200 ml measure)
1 large or 2 small onions, very finely chopped
3 tbsp of sunflower oil
a 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated fine
2 pods of garlic,grated fine
2 medium sized tomatoes, boiled in a little bit of water, then peeled and pureed
1/2 tsp of ajwain seeds
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
3 pieces of badi elaichi; a couple of sticks of cinnamon;5-6 black pepper seeds
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1/2 tsp of coriander powder
1/2 tsp (or more, if you like) of kashmiri red chilly powder
1/2 tsp of chole masala of the Everest brand (and this is the key, IMO)
Soak the chickpeas for 5-6 hours, or overnight, then cook them in a pressure cooker till they are very soft.
In a frying pan, add the badi elaichi,cinnamon and black pepper and fry for a minute or till the aromas are released. Now add the ajwain and cumin seeds , fry till they are light brown (don’t let them burn), and add the onions. Fry the onions till they start to brown. Now add the ginger and garlic and fry again, till the mixture is quite a dark brown (but don’t let it fry till it starts to turn blackish).
Add the tomato puree next, and as it starts to dry, add the dry spices, and fry the mixture till the oil starts to appear on the sides. Add the mixture to the chickpeas in the pressure cooker and boil everything together for 10-12 minutes.
Before serving, you could dress the chole with some finely sliced onion,green chilli, and tomato.
You could serve some tamarind chutney too; it goes very well with this dish.
Potato tikkis, or puris, both go wonderfully well with this curry.
There you have it – a really hearty, flavorful dish that can carry a meal on its own.
One further observation – this curry is always much tastier if eaten the day after it is cooked.