One of the best chana masala recipe that you can make. This chole masala is made with freshly powdered spices, onions, tomatoes, herbs making the chickpea curry taste like the ones you get on the streets of Delhi.
¾ to 1teaspoonamchur powder(dry mango powder), optional and only to be added when you do not have dry pomegranate seeds
2 to 3green chilies- slit
1 to 1.25cupswateror the stock in which the chickpeas were cooked
1.5 to 2tablespoonsoil
spices for chole masala powder
3 to 4black peppers
1medium sized tej patta(indian bay leaf)
½teaspoondry pomegranate seeds
1 to 2kashmiri dry red chilies
some chopped coriander leaves(cilantro leaves)
1medium onionsliced or chopped
1medium tomatosliced or chopped
1limeor lemon, sliced or quartered
soaking and cooking white chickpeas
Rinse and soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight. Add enough amount of water as the chickpeas increase in size after soaking it. Rinse the soaked chickpeas.
To give a dark color to the chickpeas, traditionally dried amla (indian gooseberries) are added. These also give a faint sourness to the stock. If you do not have dried amla, then add 1 black tea bag.
In a pressure cooker add the chickpeas along with the 3 to 4 dried amla pieces or 1 black tea bag. Taj tea bags work very well. Then add water
Season with salt and pressure cook the chickpeas for 12 to 15 whistles. The chickpeas should be cooked well and softened. The chickpeas should be soft when you mash it with a spoon. The chickpeas should not give you a bite when you eat it.
In a pan, take all the whole spices for the chole masala powder mentioned above and on a low heat begin to roast them.
Stir often and roast the spices till they get extra browned. Don't burn them. You have to go beyond a point roasting them even after they become fragrant and they get more browned than what is the norm usually.
Let these roasted spices cool and then grind them finely in a coffee grinder or in a dry grinder.
By now the chana will be cooked. You will see a darker brown shade in the safed (white chana). Remove the amla pieces which would have softened by now or the tea bag from the stock.
making chole masala
Heat oil in a pan or kadai. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till their raw aroma goes away.
Then add chopped onions and saute till the onions turn translucent or light brown.
Add tomatoes & saute them till they soften and the oil starts to leave the sides of the masala.
Then add the powdered chole masala that we ground, along with the red chili powder, turmeric powder & garam masala powder (optional).
Stir the dry masala and then add slit green chilies
Add the cooked chole. Stir well.
Add salt. Then add about 1 to 1.25 cups of the stock in which the chana was boiled. You can also add water instead.
Stir and cover the chana.
cooking chole masala
Simmer on a low to medium flame. You can also cook without the lid.
The gravy will thicken and reduce. Mash a few chickpeas. This will help thicken the gravy.
Simmer till you get the consistency you prefer. The consistency of this chickpea curry is not thin, but medium consistency or dry.
Ifyou have not added dry pomegranate seeds while roasting the spices, then you need to add amchur powder (dry mango powder) now. Stir the gravy well.
Garnish it with coriander leaves & ginger julienne.
Serve the Punjabi chana masala with kulchas, bhaturas, pooris, rotis, along with sliced onions, tomatoes and lime.
This Chickpea Curry also tastes good with steamed rice or jeera rice.
If you don't have amchur (dry mango powder) or dried pomegranate seeds then add lime or lemon juice toward the end.
You can also use canned chickpeas and add them once the tomatoes are sautéed.
You can skip making the chana masala powder from scratch and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of packaged chana masala powder instead.
Cooking chickpeas in the pan or pot then:
You have to take enough water in the pot while cooking the chickpeas. It takes a lot of time though. For 1.5 to 2 cups of soaked & drained chickpeas, you can take about 5-6 cups of water.
Adding a pinch of baking soda in the water along with salt, also helps in the cooking process and the chickpeas become really soft when cooked.
You can add about 1 teaspoons of salt. A little less salt is also alright. I usually add less salt.
Cover the pot and cook the chickpeas. If the water starts to become frothy, then remove the lid and cook chickpeas for some minutes. Remove the scum if there is any while cooking the chickpeas.