Punjabi Chhole (Garbanzo Beans in Dry Curry Sauce)
This is probably quite a common recipe that you’ll find in many sites, but that’s exactly the specialty of this dish too. There are so many versatile ways that Indians make this dish and each one has it’s unique distinct taste. And it goes by so many names..Chana Masala, Chole Masala, Punjabi Chole. Punjabi Chhole is the name given to this dish as made in Punjab, a Northern state in India. The uniqueness of this type of Chhole is that it is usually drier than other gravy dishes, and it also has a darker color. It has an added tang to it from the amchur or dried raw mango powder that is the main ingredient in the chana masala.
Girish surprised us one weekend evening after mom and I returned home after a long road trip. Mom and I were both exhausted, thinking of bringing take-out, only to get home to an apron-clad father and son in the kitchen dicing onions (something that’s despised by all of us) and grinding masala (spices). It was so cute! They served Punjabi Chhole and Potato/Egg curry with steaming hot rice and chapathis.
Here’s the recipe for the Punjabi Chhole that he made:
2 cups garbanzo beans or chick peas (he used 2 cans but you can also soak beans overnight and boil the next day).
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 medium onions (finely chopped)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tspn red chili pd
1 tsp coriander pd
4 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp garam masala pd
3 tsp chana masala pd
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
For garnishing – chopped cilantro, 2 onions sliced into rings, lemon wedge
1. If using fresh beans, soak them overnight, in warm water with 2 tea bags. This adds the dark color that is so typical of punjabi chole. Boil the beans in a pressure cooker with the 2 tea bags.
If using canned beans, drain the water from the can, and soak the beans in water with 2 tea bags, while you cook the remaining steps. This, again, adds the color.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds when the oil gets hot. When it splutters, add the minced ginger and garlic. Now add the chopped onions and saute until it becomes light brown.
3. Add turmeric powder, chili powder and salt to taste. Add garam masala, chana masala and fry a little more.
4. Take the chopped tomatoes and the canned diced tomatoes and puree them in a blender. Add this puree to the masalas and onion-garlic-ginger paste in the pan. Fry this mixture well, until you start to see oil leaving the sides of the paste. Add some chopped green chilies.
5. Now take the soaked/boiled chole, remove the tea bags and add the beans into the pan, add very little (1/4 cup)water and stir well. Cook this for about 8-10 minutes. It helps to mash the beans (chana) a little, so the mixture binds well. Cook till it gets a little dry.
6. Garnish with onion rings, lemon wedges and chopped cialntro. Enjoy with hot chapathis/naan/puris.
Verdict: This Punjabi chhole was finger-licking good!