Every once in a while, you discover something that surprises you and makes you so happy that you walk around the whole day like a giddy drunk person, with a smile that refuses to go away plastered over the face……like a movie you were dying to watch a few years / months ago appears on TV on the day you are home alone with “absolutely nothing to do”, a call from someone who has been reading your blog…a real call that says nice things about you….the top you were screaming out of fits miraculously and you “haven’t done anything to lose weight”…..i could go on and on and am sure you’d mind…but you get the drift??
So forever I have tried to make chole and rajma and sometimes it turns out better than the last….. K doesn’t like any of the above mentioned….so I cant rely on his feedback either when I venture into this area….and then came diwali and P my neighbor / friend…actually more friend…neighbor is incidental….sent us a bowl of the “most awesome chole” she’d made for diwali…..K just walloped it and I was amazed…since this doesn’t happen very often and I was anyways on the lookout for “the recipe” I bugged her with my book in tow a few days later and as she wrestled to put her toddler to bed, I extracted the recipe out of her….. The usual “some onions, a little ginger garlic” was met with “how many onions?? Big, medium or small…… how much Ginger-garlic? Chopped or whole or paste” such are the ways of food bloggers…can’t help!!
I made the chole on Sunday with puris (yes I know I have been deep frying all the way to heavy hip hell) but some things in life are just meant to be…I don’t think I would be posting this so enthusiastically if I’d had the chole with say bread….it turned out great….and here I am with the recipe…..kind courtesy P. and the puris did puff up, but lost shall we say steam by the time i got down to taking the pictures!! the recipe is as narrated so may seem long drawn….once the masalas are on hand its actually very simple….and yes i did walk around the whole day like a giddy drunk person, with a smile that refuses to go away plastered over my face…
1 cup dry kabuli chana soaked overnight in enough water
Boil the soaked chana with about 3 ½ to 4 times the water with the following
2 tsp salt, a big pinch of hing (asafetida), 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger, 3 cloves garlic, 1 large bay leaf, 2 small sticks of cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1 black cardamom (or 2 green ones)
Set all of the above in a pressure cooker, after 2 whistles on high flame, reduce the flame to min and let it simmer for atleast 40 minutes (this is essential for the chole to be real soft). when the times up, another 2 whistles on a high flame, switch it off and wait for the pressure to release and the cooker to be opened.
Meanwhile grate separately 2 medium onions (or chop finely) and 2 medium tomatoes
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil, splutter a few cumin seeds, add the grated / chopped onions and 1 tspn of ginger garlic paste till light brown over medium heat. Add the grated tomatoes and cook till it changes colour or till you get rid of the raw smell. Add 2 heaped teaspoons of any chole masala, 1 ½ tspn of dhania powder, a pinch of pepper, ¼ tspn garam masala (I didn’t, this is optional) and ½ cup of tea decoction (for the colour). Cook for a few minutes till well blended and the masalas are well cooked. Drain the chole (reserving the water), add to the masalas and sauté till well blended. Add the water a little at a time, sautéing till it is absorbed or the gravy is the consistency of your liking. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with puris or bhatura. Also goes well with jeera rice.