This recipe for chole is part one of a two part recipe of a Punjabi food favorite, chole bhature. Chole bhature can be found at fancy restaurants, street side vendors which line the streets of Bombay (famous for spicy Punjabi food), railway stations and many more places.
Chole is chickpeas cooked in spicy gravy and bhature is the bread – deep fried bread – which is what makes it such an extra special treat. Next week I’ll be posting our video recipe for bhature. In the meantime, you can get in some practice on the main dish.
Unfortunately, my computer crashed this week, taking along with it all the video’s Mummy-ji and I had worked to collect the last two months. So the bhature video will be delayed for a bit until I get another chance to record the recipe. Bhature is a personal favorite of mine, so I’ll record the video as soon as I can find someone to hold the camera…
Chole, like palak paneer, is yet another signature Punjabi dish. It’s packed with flavor from onions and an entire handful of garlic and it uses a fair amount of red chili powder to give it that enticing orange-red color.
Bombay chole in particular seems to have it’s own unique tang and flavor. I’ve had a few versions of chole, either at the temple or at a banquet or taking a chance with a street vendor (I’ve had enough food poisening to teach me not to go to street vendors, but can’t seem to help myself).
Now I might be biased, but I think Mummy-ji’s chole is a cut above them all. Hubby happens to agree with me and he seems to be a chole expert. He says he can eat chole-bhature for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week!
Try it for yourself and see how you like it. After you get a good batch of chole in your repertoire, you’ll be ready for next weeks bhature video just in time to make a tasty Diwali feast.
See another Chole Recipe
Spicy Indian Chickpeas
15 OZ/400G DRY CHICK PEAS (OR 45 OZ. CANNED CHICKPEAS)
2 CUPS WATER
4 MEDIUM ONIONS
1 HANDFUL OF PEELED GARLIC CLOVES (OR 1 HEAD OF GARLIC, PEELED)
10 CURRY LEAVES (OR 2 SMALL STEMS)
2 INCHES FRESH GINGER, PEELED (OR 2 TEASPOONS GINGER PASTE)
6 TBSP. OIL
4 SMALL TOMATOES
1 TSP. TURMERIC
1.5 TSP. SALT
1 TBSP. GARAM MASALA
½ TSP. RED CHILI POWDER
If you are using canned chickpeas instead of dried chickpeas, you can skip the first and second step, but give the chickpeas a good rinse.
1. OVERNIGHT SOAK
Rinse the dried chickpeas thoroughly two or three times, then soak them completely in water (about 2 cups) and soak overnight. You can use more water if needed, to make sure the beans are completely submerged.
2. BOIL THE BEANS
In the morning, boil the beans either in a pressure cooker for five whistles, or in a covered pot until you can press one of the beans easily with your fingers (which should take between 10 or 15 minutes). Once they are done, keep them aside and keep the water they were cooked in for later use.
3. PREP THE INGREDIENTS
While the chickpeas are boiling, roughly chop the onions and peeled ginger. Add them to a blender along with a handful of peeled garlic cloves. Add just enough water to help the mixture blend, about a spoon or two and blend the mixture for 30 seconds until it becomes a smooth paste.
4. COOK THE PASTE
Heat the oil in a pot and add the onion and garlic paste. It tends to splatter, so keep it covered while you finish prepping the other ingredients.
5. MAKE TOMATO PUREE
Roughly chop 4 small tomatoes and blend them into a smooth puree.
6. ADD THE SPICES
Add the turmeric, salt and garam masala to the paste and cook for another 5-7 minutes while stirring every 30 seconds. You want all the water to evaporate from the paste and you know it’s done when a bit of oil separates out from the paste.
7. ADD THE TOMATO PUREE & THE CHICKPEAS
Add the tomato puree. Use some of the water from the chickpeas to get any tomato puree left in the blender and add it to the pot. Add the chickpeas and the liquid. Give it a stir and boil for 10 minutes, or if you are using a pressure cooker, for 5 whistles.
*If you are using canned chickpeas add 2 cups of fresh water.
This dish goes great with chapatis. When served along with bhature, a deep fried bread, it is known as chole bhature.