Friday, February 20, 2015

Chole aka Chana masala ( Chick peas in tangy tomato-onion sauce)

Chole or Chana masala is one of the popular Indian dishes  both at home and abroad. There are very few Indians  who are not familiar with this dish. Almost all Indian restaurants abroad have this dish on their menu. It is a very non-controversial dish that is simple and delicious. The primary ingredient in this dish is chickpeas, and chick peas is rather inexpensive. The yield of this dish is good and gives more bang for the buck. It is also easy to make. There are several versions of Chole: Amritsari Chole, Punjabi Chole etc based on regional influences. This dish could be made slightly dry or with lots of sauce. Either ways you make it, it tastes great. It is usually paired with bhature ( puffed bread made with yogurt based dough) or pooris ( puffed whole wheat bread) You could pair it with rice, bread, roti, naan, dinner roll or even tortillas! My version is very simple and quick.

Servings: 4-6


Garbanzo beans/Chick peas ( Kabuli Chana): One 15 oz can
( you could also use 1 cup dried chick peas soaked overnight and then cooked to required level of tenderness).
Cooking oil: 1 + 1 tbsp
Jeera( cumin seeds): 1/2 tsp
Onion: 2 medium, chopped.
Garlic: 6 small cloves, chopped fine
Ginger: 1 inch piece, chopped fine.
Green chillies: 4, chopped fine
Tomato paste: 2 tbsp ( can also use 2 fresh medium sized tomatoes).
Chole masala: 1 tbsp ( I use Everest or MDH brands)
Red chili powder: 1/4 tsp
Kasoori methi( dried fenugreek leaves): 1 tbsp
Tea decoction : 1 cup
Salt: as per taste
Sugar: 1/4 tsp
Water: 2 cups
Chaat masala: 1/4 tsp ( I use Everest brand)
Cilantro ( coriander leaves): 2 tbsp, chopped.


Heat 1 tbsp cooking  oil in a sauté pan. Add jeera( cumin seeds). Sauté for 30 seconds.

Add the garlic, ginger, sauté for a minute.

Add in the chopped onions and sauté until the onions sweat. Add in the green chillies. If using fresh tomatoes, you may add it now. If using tomato paste, DO NOT ADD at this stage. Once the fresh tomatoes wilt a little, turn off the flame and let the mixture cool down. Once cooled take it in a blender/food processor and pulse it to a fine paste. Keep it aside.

Making tea decoction : seep 2 tea bags in one cup of hot water for 5 mins. Remove  and discard the tea bags.

Rinse and drain the chick peas and keep aside.

Heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in the same the pan. Add the ground paste and saute for 2-3 minutes.

Now add the tomato paste ( if you have not used fresh tomatoes earlier). Sauté for 4-5 mins on medium flame until the tomato paste starts leaving oil.. Add the Chole masala powder, red chilli powder and mix well.

Add the rinsed and drained chick peas, kasoori methi, salt, sugar, tea decoction and mix well. Add water as needed to achieve the desired level of thickness of the sauce. Cover and let it simmer for 15 mins.

Garnish with  chaat masala and chopped fresh cilantro( coriander leaves).

Serve hot with bhature/ poori/ roti/ jeera rice/ peas and carrot pulao/ plain rice or just bread.

Chole served with Bhature

Chole served with peas and carrot pulao

Enjoy! I am bringing this to Angie's Fiesta Friday! Aunt Juju@cooking with auntJuju and Tina@Mademoiselle Gourmande are this week's co-hosts.

Cooking made easy:

If you don't have time, you can skip the blending of the onion-ginger-garlic-tomato-green chilli mixture. Grinding it gives the dish a nice creamy sauce.

The tea decoction gives the dish the classic blackish color and a nice taste.

Another trick to make the sauce thicker and creamier is by taking 1/2 cup of the drained Garbanzo beans( chick peas) and mashing them using a pestle or potato masher.  Mix this into the sauce with the rest of the chick peas.

Tip for healthy living:

Garbanzo beans or chick peas is a great source of protein for vegetarians. It also provides carbohydrates and is rich in dietary fiber. It is packed with magnesium and potassium and is cholesterol and trans-fat free.It also provides anti-oxidants to the body.It is also rich in iron and is a low glycemic index food, therefore great for diabetics.