Chhole masala is the curry of chickpeas cooked in Indian spices. It is immensely flavorful and is a favorite side dish across all age groups and cultures!
Chhole masala, as we call it, is an integral part of Indian cuisine. This dish is highly popular in northern part of India and usually served with the famous Indian ‘Bhatura’ or ‘Puri’, which is a fluffy deep-fried Indian bread made of all-purpose flour. Chhole, which is the name by which chickpeas is known in our country, is such a common recipe that it hardly gets its due respect. This dish is really a winner in terms of the health quotient it carries and the immense flavor which reminds me of the Sunday brunch of my childhood.
The word ‘childhood’ brings back many memories instantly! (Does it happen to you too?) And at this time of the year, there is only one thing which I can think about – Durga Pujo – the five day long celebration of goddess Durga’s arrival with her four children. We worship her with all our devotion and faith and enjoy these five days forgetting all our worries and stress. Any Bengali, in whichever part of the world they live, always wait for these five days of the year.
Well, I got little carried away with the childhood memories! Let me come back to my today’s recipe – chhole masala. If you like chickpeas, you will surely gonna love this. The usual bland taste of chickpeas is perfectly enriched by all the aromatic spices and it will definitely take a permanent place in your family menu!
- Chickpeas – 2 cups
- Onion – 2, medium
- Tomato – 5, large
- Ginger – 2 inch piece, grated
- Garlic – 8 to 10 cloves, minced
- Lemon – 1, cut into 4 wedges
- Black cardamom – 1,
- Green cardamom – 5,
- Cloves – 5
- Cardamom – 1 inch stick
- Dry red chili – 2
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Coriander powder – 2 tsp
- Cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Red chili powder – 1 tsp
- Garam masala – 1 tsp
- Dry Mango Powder – ½ tsp
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil – 4 tbsp
- Coriander leaves – handful for garnish
- Soak the chickpeas for 8 hours and then boil in salted water them till tender. Drain and set aside.
- Slit the tomatoes and boil them in water till tender, approximately 10 minutes. Drain out the water and let it cool to handle. Once cooled down, peel and deseed the tomatoes and puree in a processor.
- Finely chop the onions and keep all whole spices ready.
- Heat oil in a skillet/wok. Add the whole spices – black and green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon and dry chilies. Saute till aromatic.
- Add the ginger and garlic and stir. Saute on low heat for a minute. Tip in the chopped onions and fry them on medium heat till golden brown.
- Add in the pureed tomatoes and sprinkle the sugar. Sugar will help balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
- Cook till the raw smell of tomatoes are gone and all waters have almost evaporated.
- In a small bowl, mix the powdered spices – turmeric, cumin, coriander and red chili – with couple of teaspoons of water and make a smooth paste.
- Add the spice paste to the fried onion-tomato mixture and stir on a high heat. Add the dry mango powder and half teaspoon of garam masala now and reserve the remaining half for later.
- When the spices starts separating the oil, add in cooked chickpeas. Keep stirring to coat all the chickpeas with the spice mixture.
- Add a cup of water – preferably hot – and bring it to boil. Check the seasoning and adjust if needed.
- Now cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes to let the chickpeas soak in all the wonderful aromas from the spices.
- After 10 minutes, uncover the pan and give few quick stirs on high heat. Check the consistency of the sauce and boil off some water if it’s too watery.
- Sprinkle the remaining garam masala and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice and few more lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!