Amritsari Chole

I have tasted Chole prepared by quite a few of my Punjabi friends and each one was different from the other. Though each one was extremely tasty, yet it lacked that ‘something’ which makes the Chole found in the dhabas in the North a class apart. I always wondered if it was the vegetable oil that they used that gave it it’s distinct taste and flavour. It was by chance that I got to know from my dear friend Simran Kaul that it is Anardana ( dried pomegranate seeds) which takes Chole to the next level. The other is a tadka / seasoning of garlic, green chillies, chilly powder and garam masala which adds flavour to the Chole.

Ingredients:

1 cup Chickpeas soaked overnight.

Potli:
2 tsps tea leaves
2 dry red chillies
2 cinnamon sticks of an inch each
6 cloves
6 cardamom
2 Bay leaves
Tie all the above mentioned spices in a muslin cloth. This is referred to as a Potli.

Choley Masala:

To be ground together to a fine powder.

1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Anardana
1 tsp Kasoori methi
1/2 tsp Black salt
1 tsp Coriander seeds
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Chilly powder
1/4 tsp Dry Mango powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala

For Chole Gravy

To be ground to a paste:

3 onions
3 tomatoes
1 inch piece of ginger
6 cloves of garlic

Seasoning:

4 tsps of Ghee
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1 tsp Chilly powder
4 green chillies

Other ingredients required:

4 tsps Ghee
3 tsps oil
Salt
Coriander leaves for garnishing.

Method:

Pressure cook the Chickpeas with a little salt and the Potli in enough water for six whistles on a medium flame or for ten minutes in the Instant pot with natural pressure release.
Once cooked discard the Potli. Reserve the stock or water in which the Chickpeas have been boiled.
Heat a mixture of four spoons of Ghee and three spoons of oil . Drop in the ground paste of the gravy to make Chole and roast it till the oil separates. Drop in the Chole masala, and roast for a couple of minutes. Add the Chickpeas and the reserved stock or water in which the Chickpeas have been boiled.Simmer on a very gentle flame for half an hour. This releases the flavours . Mash a tablespoon of chickpeas for thickness. Finally heat the Ghee for seasoning in a pan. Drop in the garlic cloves and roast to a golden brown. Drop in the green chillies, garam masala and chilly powder. Immediately pour the seasoning into the chole to avoid burning of the spices. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with Basmati rice, Kulcha, papad, lime pickle and a bowl of salad.

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