Thursday, December 9, 2010
Until I tasted my friend M's chhole. The best that I had ever had.
And while I do have a couple of 'friends' who blatantly proclaim that recipes are not for sharing, I am fortunate to have many more like M who don't just share the recipes but also the specific brands they use and the small tips that make all the difference to the ultimate taste.
Take a look, looks absolutely lip-smacking doesn't it?
Green cardamoms: 6
Black cardamom: 1
Cinnamon: 1" stick
Black pepper: 10
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Coriander seeds: 2 tsps
Garlic: 10 cloves
Ginger: 1.5" piece
Green chilli: 1
Lightly toast all the above except ginger, garlic and green chillies for 2 mins on a very low flame. The objective here is to not roast but simply warm the dry spices. Then grind all the ingedients to a smooth paste, using some water as required. This masala paste can be kept in the refrigerator for about 10 days.
2. Bouquet garni:
black cardamoms: 2
green cardamoms: 4
cinnamon: 1" stick
cloves: 8 nos
tea bag: 1, optional (I don't use one as I don't like my chhole to be black, I much prefer the vibrant orange)
Put all of the above into a small square cheesecloth or a net and secure with a kitchen twine.
Making the chhole:
Onions: 2, finely chopped
Bay leaf: 1
Tomato paste: 2.5 tbsps OR Tomato puree: 5 tbsps (brand - Leggo's or Heinz)
Masala paste: 2 tbsps
Chickpeas/garbanzo beans: 3/4 cup
Salt to taste
Chicken curry powder (MDH brand) OR Chhole masala (Everest brand): 1 tsp
cumin seeds: 2 tsps, roasted and powdered
onion: 1 small, finely chopped
corainder leaves: 2 tbsps, chopped
Soak the chickpeas in plenty of water overnight or for about 8-10 hours. Drain and wash thoroughly.
Add 1.5 cups of water, slip in the bouquet garni and pressure cook for atleast 5-6 whistles. If you don't use a pressure cooker (really?), you could also cook them in a slow cooker or boil them in a thick bottomed vessel till soft.
Heat oil in a wok and add in the bay leaf. Let it sizzle for half a minute and then toss in the chopped onions alongwith a pinch of salt; fry till the onions turn limp.
Now add 2 tbsps of the masala paste and fry till the raw smell disappears, about 5 minutes. If the masala paste starts to stick to the pan, sprinkle a few drops of water.
Next put in the tomato paste, salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Stir fry till the oil separates from the mixture.
Then add in the cooked chickpeas (discard the bouquet garni) and the chicken curry masala and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and let the chickpeas simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally and adjusting the amount of water as per your preference. It might seem way too long but trust me on this - the longer you cook chhole, better the taste. In fact, I transfer everything into my crockpot and let it simmer away for about 3 hours.
Just before serving, stir in the roasted cumin seed powder and garnish with some finely chopped onions and coriander leaves.
Puris, bhaturas, rotis or rice....enjoy them with just about anything!
Sharing this with Priya who is hosting MLLA # 30, event started by Susan.
It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!