Friday, 23 March 2007

Weekend Lunch Series: Amritsari Chhole & Bhature

Chhole Bhature, the classic Lunch. One of my most loved combinations to make on weekends. Savoring the taste of the smooth, tangy sort of the bhatures with the spicy Chholes, with some onions on the can't beat it. So, just what are the different types of chhole? According to newest blog friend, and I think a kindred spirit, in many ways......there are her own on.

"Pindi Chhole/Amritsari chhole type 1: Close cousins these are.
The former takes its name from the city of Rawalpindi, and is a delicacy thats often made during weddings/parties/special occassions. The chhole used in Pindi chhole recipe are kabuli white chhole (bigger than usual white chhole-but regular white chhole will work too). Cook the chhole with lil' salt till soft-drain all water and then cook 'em in the sauce/base prepared as follows:
Saute onions, ginger and garlic (just a lil') after spluttering jeera and dhania (a pinch each) in hot oil/Ghee works better for aroma, tomatoes are optional (i add them for enhancing color), cook and then mix with nutmeg powder (half spoon), anardana, tamarind pulp (adds tang and color), a stick of cinnamon, badi elaichi (broken) and badiyun khatai/dagad-phool/star anise-add a lil' water/just enough to coat the chhole. Cook for 2-3 minutesand then add the chhole. Cover the pot and cook on low heat till done. Garnish with sauteed bay leaves. This recipe sometimes is also prepared with bits of paneer added. Goes well with breads. Anardana and imli are key, so is ghee. For color and the khushbu :)"

"Amritsari Chhole type 2: The variety without tadka. No oil! The sort that street vendors make to go with their kulchas/bhaturas or even rotis/aloo-parathas. Quick to make-just cook chhole with a pinch of haldi and mash them a bit as you cook. A potato could be a welcome addition as it thickens the gravy, as is tomato (for color). Add ground roasted jeera, imli (just a dash), hardly any turmeric still and garam masala if you want. Top it with chopped onions, mirchi and tomatoes and serve :). Street food at its best. Though some street vendors sell variations of the home style chhole, with more garlic n' onion, no tomatoes-to go with rice. "

there you have it.....straight from the Punjabi Kudi's mouth.....!!

Here is my recipe:
  • Canned chickpeas -or regular ones, soaked overnight and cooked fully.
  • 1 big- black Elaichi
  • 1 tsp- Aaamchur powder, Anardana Powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp- Chhole masala of your choice.....any good brand will do.
  • 1 tbsp - Ghee ( essential for that typical flavor)
  • red onions- chopped, Jalapenos- chopped
  • Fresh ripe, tomatoes - I used Roma tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
Cook the chanas in the pressure cooker along with the badi elaichi for flavor. I also cook the canned chickpeas once more in the pressure cooker after rinsing and draining them well. This makes them extra soft. Add enough water to cook them, when done. Retain the water...this will help your gravy.
In a pan, heat some ghee, add the chopped onions and jalapeƱos, let them add the tomatoes. Simmer for a bit till the oil leaves the sides of the pan. Add the chickpeas, along with their water,discarding the elaichi. Bring to a boil. Add the masalas, the anardana,aamchur will really bring out the flavors so don't skip them! Add lemon juice, or a little bit of tamarind for a substitute. Have a taste and simmer some more. Serve hot with Bhatures and Sliced onions on the side.


I take the easy way out with these bhatures...I use ready made, dry Pizza Crust Mix, add a tiny bit of sour yogurt for a little tang, and knead the dough according to directions. Keep the dough for half an hour to an hour. Roll into small puris and deep fry as usual. These Bhatures are really soft, and best when served hot with the Chhole. Alternatively, you can cook them like Parathas and saute them in oil for a healthier version.

Enjoy....and have a wonderful weekend. See you all on Ram-Navami- Monday.

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