Chole pronounced as – “CHOW-LEI” also known as Chana originating from India. Chole Masala is one of the most popular dishes, and each region has its own way of making it. It is basically chickpeas in a curry. Also known as Chana Masala.
The main ingredients for the dish are – onion, tomato, chickpeas, dry mango, coriander, ginger, garlic, green chilies, cumin, garam masala, or special masala called -‘chole masala’. Boiled chickpea is simmered in tomato gravy along with the spices. Garnish the dish with a handful of Cilantro and a bit of Kasuri Methi(Dried Fenugreek leaves). Dash of lemon will surely bring out the flavors of the dish well.
Which garam masala to use?
You can use any store bought garam masala, or can be made on at home using roasted coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper that is ground together to get the masala. Bay leaves, star anise can be added while preparing the masala to richen the aroma.
Nevertheless, you can also use chole masala that is available in market to save time and quicken the process. I prefer Everest chole masala that is readily available.
How do we make Chole Masala?
First, soak the chickpeas overnight. The next day, it is cooked in pressure cooking until chickpeas are soft. 4-5 whistles would do. OR pressure cook in the instant pot for 25 minutes. [Simpler way you ask? Use canned chickpeas to avoid the soaking process, and cook instantly! ]
You can makes this in 2 different ways. One is cooking chickpeas in pureed tomato curry. Another is to cook chickpeas in a chunky tomatoey paste. You can make it either way. Your preference. I make it both ways.
Heat a deep bottom pan, add oil. Saute ginger, garlic, onions, cumin until aromatic. You can also add bay leaf, cinnamon stick now.
Add red chillies. Saute onion until translucent and next add tomatoes and for a while. When tomatoes are soft, take them out of the pan, and blend it. Skip the whole spices while making a paste.
This puree along with spices is used as a base for the curry. It is further sauteed along with the whole spices and cook until the puree thickens.
Saute onions along with whole spices until translucent. Add tomatoes and cook till it is soft.
Next, add all ground spices. Roasted cumin powder darkens the color of the curry. Mix well.
Lastly, add boiled chickpeas and required amount of water. Adjust salt and other spices as need. Simmer the curry for atleast 15-20 mins for getting the flavor.
Garnish and serve along with rice or flatbread of your choice.
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Vegan Chole Masala
- 1 cup chickpeas or 2 ½ cup canned chickpeas
- 1 bay leaf
- 1- inch cinnamon stick
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp oil flavorless preferred
- 2 bay leaves
- 1- inch cinnamon stick
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 small onion
- 2- inch ginger
- 1 tsp garlic paste or 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1-2 dry red chilies // adjust based on your taste
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder optional
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
- 1½ tsp chana masala
- 2 tsp jaggery or coconut sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp crushed fenugreek leaves
- handful of cilantro
- salt to taste
- water for soaking and cooking
- Wash and soak chickpeas overnight or 8 hours. Add 5 cups of water for soaking. Drain the water the next day, and wash chickpeas again
- Pressure cook chickpeas along with water(2 cups of water), cinnamon, bay leaf, and salt for 4-5 whistles. Check for readiness by pressing chickpeas between your fingers. It should be soft and get mushed easily.
- Next, in a pan, add 1/2 tbsp oil, saute onion, tomatoes, red chilies, ginger and garlic. When the mixture turns aromatic
- Turn off the flame, allow the mixture to cool, and then blend it together.
- Heat rest of the oil in a pan, add bay leaf, cinnamon, cumin seeds, and saute until it turns aromatic.
- Now add the puree and cook the until puree thickens. Add dry ingredients – roasted cumin powder, coriander powder, jaggery, dry mango, garam masala, or chana masala. Mix well
- Add chole along with water (desired amount). Bring it to boil and let it simmer in for 15 minutes. Add salt, and adjust the spice level. Longer the curry is simmered, better the taste. Add crushed Kasuri methi.
- Turn of the flame. Garnish using cilantro
- Add lemon and serve hot.
- Canned chickpeas can be used instead of soaked chickpeas.
- You can also cook the chickpeas without soaking overnight. Boil the water (water to chickpea ratio – 5:1) and pour it over chickpeas. leave it for an hour. Pressure cook as usual
- You can cook all ingredients in a pressure cooker. Cooking time in the cooker almost doubles, as chickpea will take longer to cook along with acidic ingredients.
- If the chickpea that is being used is old, not fresh. Then pressure cook will take longer and may need up to 8-10 whistles.
- You get tomato chunks in the curry when you skip making puree. and add chickpeas directly once tomatoes are cooked. You can SKIP STEP 4 for this.
- If you like dark color in the curry, just dry roast cumin and coriander powder for a while and then add it to the puree.
- The curry tastes the best next day as well. chickpeas get to absorb all the flavor longer it sits in the curry. Refrigerate and use as required.
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