As a child, I was constantly intrigued by new recipes. The first time I saw the recipe for chhole masala on TV, I knew I had to make it. I must have been all of 12 years old. Shift to my hostel life and one Sunday I decided that I wanted to make a dish for the entire hostel – and chhole it was! This is probably the first recipe I learned to make and can literally make blindfolded! I can’t call this recipe a Punjabi Chhole recipe or even a Chana Masala – it’s just my chhole. I used to make it with homemade chhole masala but that recipe was lost. Now, I prefer to use Badshah Chhole Masala.
The best part of this is the garnish. I don’t remember where I first saw this, but from the time I started making chhole, I’ve loved garnishing it with onion rings lightly pickled in lime juice as they just start going blush pink. The texture of the onions completely changes and they become so damn delicious as they soak in the curry juices.
You eat this with either fresh chapattis or rice – I obviously love the latter – nothing beats a good Chhole Chawal!
Chhole - Chickpea Curry
A simple chickpea curry for a cool night!
Put the soaked chickpeas in the pressure cooker and cook with the 4 cups of water, salt to taste, and 1.5 tsp of the chhole masala.
Put the tea bag into this mixture and pressure cook for four whistles.
In the meanwhile, in a kadhai (or wok) put oil and add the minced onions. Cook well till slightly golden and then add the ginger, garlic, green chilli paste.
cook well till the onions and paste are golden brown. Then add the turmeric and chilli powder.
Saute well and then add the tomatoes. Mix this well and add a little water - and keep sauteeing till oil leaves the sides of the kadhai.
At this point, add the cooked chhole (strain the water and keep aside). Mix the chickpeas well with the masala and then add the water - use how much you need depending on the consistency you want.
Add the rest of the chhole masala and salt to taste. (remember you put salt in the chhole while cooking). Cover and cook till you get the consistency you require. Taste for a good balance of salt and spice.
Now, top with the onion rings pickled in the juice of the half lime and chopped coriander. Serve hot with chapattis or basmati rice.