One of my all time favourites vegetarian dish, Chole masala, has it's origin from the northern section of the Indian sub-continent. It is also known by the name of Chana masala.
- Kabuli Chana/White chickpeas - 1 cup, soaked overnight
- Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
- Tomato - 2 large, made as puree
- Green chillis - 2 numbers, cut lengthwise
- Ginger garlic paste - 2 tbsp
- Salt - to taste
- Oil - 3 tbsp
- Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
- Sugar - 1 tsp
- Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
- Kasoori methi - 1 tsp
- Tea powder - 1 tsp
- Coriander leaves - few
Dry spices for masala
- Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
- Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
- Black pepper - 8-10 numbers
- Cinnamon - 1 number
- Cardamom - 1 number
- Cloves - 4-5 numbers
- Dried red chilli - 6-7 numbers
- Bay leaves - 1 number
The chickpeas should be soaked in water overnight. Wash this peas thoroughly. We would need to use a pressure cooker to cook the peas. Use 2 1/2 cups of water for 1 cup of chick peas. Add a spoon of salt. Make a small tea bag out of 1 tbsp of tea leaves/powder, and add this tea bag to the chick peas. Tea powder is used to enhance the colour and flavour of chick peas. Pressure cook the contents on medium flame for 5 whistles.
Five whistles should be enough to get the peas cooked. Allow for the pressure to be completely released. Open the lid, and remove the tea bag and discard it. Move the chick peas to a bowl. Reserve the excess water.
Making the masala
Dry roast all ingredients mentioned under "Dry spices for masala" section of Ingredients list. Roast the contents for at least 1-2 minutes. After about 2 minutes, you should start getting the rich aroma of the spices. Turn off the flame and allow the contents to cool. Grind the spice mix to get a fine powder.
Take 2 tbsp of cooked peas and grind it to a coarse paste. This would be used to thicken the gravy.
Making the chole
Heat 3 tbsp of cooking oil on a pan, add onions. Roast the onion till it turns tender. When the onions start becoming slightly tender, add green chillis and ginger garlic paste. Roast it for 2-3 minutes to get rid of the raw smell. Next add tomato puree and salt as per taste, roast it for around 2 minutes. When the tomato puree is cooked, add turmeric powder, chilli powder, sugar and the finely ground spice powder. Roast this mixture for a couple of minutes.
The masala should be nicely roasted now. Add cooked chick peas, the coarse chick peas paste and the excess water remains we had from cooking the chick peas. Mix everything well. Cook the gravy for about 4-5 minutes on medium flame. Turn off the flame. Garnish with coriander leaves. Chole masala is now ready. You can enjoy this delicious dish with bhatura, puri, naan, rice or just about any main course.