Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chhole - No Onion, No Garlic

Speaking of Chhole reminds me of the lady with whom I stayed as a Paying Guest. When I first joined the corporate world as a Fresher, I was sent on an 'On The Job training' to an all new place. It was just few months after my marriage and a great oppurtunity not worth missing. Due to the support of my in-laws and the ever-supportive and loving Abbas by my side, I was all set to take a leap into the corporate world. Living away from family was unknown to me till then. It changed my life 360 degrees. Financial independence and no guardian to be answerable to, taking your own decisions, it was an experience of its kind. We were a group of six gals living in the same PG. We would sing, dance, study, wash clothes, go out together. Our take home was in 4 digit figure then. We succumbed while paying aunty the rent which at times was more than half of our poor salary. But we had fun for the entire 4 and a half months. Needless to mention how I missed being with Abbas and family.

We used to get a glass of milk every night after dinner. We would wait with our normal sized glasses and the caretaker would appear with a huge jug of milk and the smallest glass ever made by mandkind. She would pour milk from the jug into that measuring glass (in front of our hungry eyes and sinking hearts) and then pour into our individual glasses. We would drink it blessing aunty! Chicken was served once a week, and you would not be able to spot the chiecken pieces even with a microscope. Chhole was the only thing worth its salt. It was served once a week and I would wait for it. One day I 'maskafied' the caretaker saying the Chhole was very delicious. She proudly said I made it today. I asked for the recipe. She said the normal "Onion+ginger+garlic+tomato+saute" recipe. Only thing that caught my attention in her recipe is that she made a paste of a handful of boiled chick peas and added it to the gravy which gave it an excellent texture. I have been following that ever since...
Back from memory lane...
Puri or Luchi finds its place on our breakfast table on weekend mornings. It is generally accompanied by Chhole or Ghugni or Alur Tarkari. This is a Niramish Chhole meaning there is no onion or garlic used in this dish. Its my own recipe inspired by some Bong Niramish dishes and PG aunty's Chhole. Whenever I'm in no mood to chop onions, I go the Niramish way. If you taste the outcome, you wouldnt mind the absence of garlic or onion.

Chickpeas - 1 cup
Potatoes - 1 medium sized, cut into small cubes (optional)
Tomatoes - 2 medium sized, finely chopped
Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 1 large broken into 3-4 pieces
Bay leaves - 1 or 2
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - to taste
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Suagr - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Baking soda - a pinch

For garnishing:
Coriander leaves - handful, finely chopped
Lemon juice - 2 tsp
Chhole masala / Garam masla / Bong bhaja masala - 1/2 tsp

1. Soak chickpeas in 3-4 cups of water mixed with baking soda. Let it sit overnight.
2. Pressuer cook the chickpeas and potato cubes for 3 whistles. I generally keep the flame on high for the first two whistles and cook on low flame till the 3rd whistle goes.
3. Drain the water and keep aside. If you have lexcess of water, you may store it and may be use while making dough for Puri or Roti.
4. Take a handful of the boiled chickpeas and make a paste of it.
5.Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, red chillies and bay leaves.
6. Add ginger paste, you may lightly cover with a lid coz the oild would start spluttering making the surrounding a mess.
7. Add chopped tomatoes and saute till they are nicely smashed and oil starts oozing out from the sides.
8. Add the boiled chickpeas, potatoes, chickpea paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder, salt, sugar and combine.
9. Add a cup of water and boil till you get the desired consistency. (Please note that the gravy thickens if it is allowed to stand and consumed at a lter time)
10. Remove from heat. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves, lemon juice and any of the spice powder mentioned in the garnish section and combine.
11. Serve hot with puri or luchi or any Indian bread.

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  1. Very interesting chole, cant wait to try soon..

  2. Ye mere kaam ka chiz hai..specially when its in Niramis way

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