Saturday, January 22, 2011

Panjabi Chole/Garbanzo beans in rich onion tomato spice gravy

Punjabi Chole is one of our favorite dishes. As a newlywed, I used to make bhatura (fried bread) to go with the chole but over the years replaced the bhatura with chapatis (flat Indian bread) - the bhatura, although delicious, is a calorie and cholesterol bomb.

My chole has also come a long way. I used to make it by simply sautéing onions and tomatoes with the three basic Indian spices - turmeric powder, chili powder, and coriander powder. Although it was delicious, the chole lacked the deep brownish color that I would see in restaurant chole. I read somewhere that adding tea bags while simmering the chole could give it a brown color, but that didn't appeal to me .

So I stuck to my recipe until I discovered Anita's blog. I love her blog and the way she writes. Her recipes greatly reduce the complexity and are what most Indians make and eat at home. Her Punjabi Chole looked awesome, so I had to give it a try - and I loved it. As it was a bit spicy for me, I played around with the spices. And yes, like Anita says, when you add the spices to the chole, the whole kitchen DOES smell like heaven. While I was making the chole, my older one, who always comes to the kitchen to see what's for dinner, says, "it smells so delicious mama". Thank you Anita!

I use canned Garbanzo beans for the recipe, if the cans are unavailable then soak about 1 1/2 cups of chickpeas overnight.

Adapted from A Mad Tea Party
Serves 4-6 hungry people
  • 822g(the big one) of Garbanzo beans
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 4 green chilies chopped
  • 1" fresh ginger chopped finely
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1-2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1/2 cup of water

For the masala:
  • 1-2 tsp roasted coriander powder or coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp anardana (pomegranate seed) powder or amchoor powder
  • 1” cinnamon sick
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 6-8 black peppercorns
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 whole dry red chillies


If using dried Kabooli chana (garbanzo beans), soak them over night. Pressure cook them with salt till they are tender. If using cans, drain the can in a colander and rinse it thoroughly.

Roast all the ingredients for the masala except roasted coriander powder and anardhana powder (roast the coriander seeds, if using coriander seeds along with the other spices), in a low flame till they turn a bit brown. Be careful not to burn it, so keep tossing the pan, till the spices turn a dark brown color. Once slightly cool, grind it to a fine powder in a spice grinder/coffee grinder, you could also use a motor or pestle to powder the spices.

Heat the oil in a pot and add the chopped ginger, when it sizzles add the chopped onions and green chilies. Saute it till the onions turn a pinkish brown color. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute it further till the tomatoes break down and turn mushy. Add the round spices, chili powder, tamarind, season it with salt and saute for a minute or so. This is the point where your kitchen smells like heaven. Add around 1/2 a cup of water, let it simmer for a minute or two. Add the garbanzo beans and mix till all the spices and the gravy coats every bean. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Let it simmer for a few minutes on a medium flame. At this point if the gravy thickens add some more water. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with bhatura, puri, chapati, parathas or nans.

Also, on a different note, I am trying to organize and change the look of my blog, so please be patient with me. Thanks.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I know, I know, it's 2011. I last blogged in 2009. Where did the years go? Although I read recipes from my favorite blogs, I haven't had the time to do some myself.

The past year/years have been hectic, my little one is almost 4 and goes to play school. But there's so much to do when he's in school. Also, a temperamental oven and a traveling husband(who is my critic and taster) have meant that I haven't been able to experiment a lot in the kitchen.

But my new year's resolutions for 2011 includes a return to my blog. First, I need to get a new oven...