Chhole Bhature.

“I love to take something ordinary and make it really special”.- Ina Garten.
That is life to me in a nutshell..Taking the ordinary, the grimmy, gritty, non savoury bits and turning it into one big delicious  concoction..
And as I write this, I cant help but think of my cook.. a woman of 32 who comes in daily to make my family’s regular lunch khaana..Come rain or sun, she is at my home way before I even get up..looks at me with a big grin plastered on her homely yet happy face and asks ” bhabhi coffee bana du?” …knowing fully well that I brew my own coffee coz I am mortally afraid of having a bad cuppa coffee first thing in the morning and my day turning into a disaster! Yes . I agree… I am paranoid. ( aren’t we all)? 
Anyways coming to Mira, she reaches home at 7 having finished cooking for her own family of 3 grown up kids, sent her hubby off to work and walked 30 mins to reach here! 
She tells me she had her first child by the age of 16…As I look at her aghast thinking may be she is trying to tell me of her abusive husband, she takes a look at my face, laughs and intuitively says “he takes care of me..he dropped me here on his bike today coz my legs were aching”…. I smile a relieved smile… Good. Love and happiness exist everywhere. So does Optimism and hope. Rich people should remember that when dealing with the help… 
What I am trying to say here rather without making a point is she epitomizes the ordinary life turned special for me.. In other parts of the world, what happened to her would be called statutory rape. Here, in this big melting pot called India , its called normal. She was married and a mother by the age of 16! I still cant fathom that life…but such is the state of the nation of billions.. No one really gives a shit. 
Sorry… bad mood. Injustice of any kind gets me into one of these moods… 
May be its time for a second helping of that nectar from heaven….coffee!! 😉 
Another thing that I instantly think of while talking about the ordinary special equation is the humble, the ubiquitous, the almost daily breakfast affair in so many homes “Chhole Bhature”.

For the uninitiated Chhole or Chick pea is a high in protein legume that when cooked right can take you into a parallel universe where vegetarian and homely food can become sublime!
I will show you how to do exactly that ..and devour it with some wonderfully easy accompaniments of Bhature or Puri, Buttermilk and salad… 
Chhole Bhature are enjoyed all over India , although I believe every place in India has its own version of what makes the best Chhole… there is Amrtisari Chhole, Punjabi Chhole, A chhole preparation from Orissa and Bengal using potatoes..a particular Bihari preparation…I don’t know what I should call this… 
May be we call it ” My Way Chhole”. Simple. 
Most Indians enjoy it as a hearty breakfast or snack… or if you are like me you may have it for lunch.. But the fact is if you are a true blue Indian, there is no fixed time to have this yummilicious curry….Its easy and quick..and lip smackingly good …
Lets take a look  at how you should make this… 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • Chhole or Chick pea  1 1/2 cup                              
  • Dried Indian Gooseberry or Amla 3-4
  • Tea leaves 2 tsp
  • Onion chopped fine 3 large
  • Ginger 2 1 inch
  • Garlic 8-10 cloves
  • Tomatoes chopped 3, tomato quartered 1
  • Green chillies 2 chopped, Chillie split 1
  • Ginger Julienne  for garnish
Spices:
  • Cumin powder 2 tbsp
  • Coriander powder 3 tbsp
  • Anaardaana Powder 1 tbsp
  • Red Chillie Powder 2tbsp (acc to taste )
  • Kasuri Methi 1 tbsp
  • Aamchoor powder 1 tsp
  • Salt acc to taste
  • Garam Masala Powder 1 tsp
  • Dried red chillie 1
  • Tamarind Paste 1 tsp
  • Hing a pinch
  • Fresh Coriander leaves for garnish .

Method: 

  • Start by soaking the chhole overnight in 4 cups of water. 
  • Drain and boil it a pressure cooker with the amla and tea leaves tied in a muslin cloth in it, add salt and a little pinch of turmeric with it. make sure its cooked well.
  • Remove the muslin cloth bag when done. 
  • Make a paste ( grind) the ginger , garlic and chopped green chillie finely.
  • Take a cauldron, add some oil and let it heat.. once hot, add some cumin seeds and let it splutter.. 
  • Add the chopped onions and brown them lightly before adding the ginger garlic chilly paste and cooking for a further 2-3 minutes till the raw smell leaves. 
  • Add the powdered spices ( except garam masala , kasuri methi ) and cook for 1 -2 minutes…. 
  • add the chopped tomatoes and cook well till  the masala starts leaving oil at the sides… Add the tamarind paste.
  • Add the kasure methi ( crush it) and cook for 1 more min. 
  • Now add the cooked chhole to the masala with a little of the cooked water and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the garam masala and keep adding water a little at a time and letting it simmer.. 
  • I let mine cook for almost 20 minutes till the gravy is thick and the chholes are coated gloriously with it and your home smells like masala heaven!
  • In a small pan, add a little oil, add the pinch and let it bubble .. now add the quartered tomato and the slit green chilly in it till the tomatoes are singed and the chilly smells pungent.. 
  • Add this on top of the prepared chhole…  Give a stir before serving..
  • Garnish with Chopped coriander , some chopped onion and wedges of lime!!
  •  Perfect with Puffed fried puris or Bhatures, some cold buttermilk with boondi and a simple green salad….
Drain and boil in three cups of water with salt, tea leaves and dried amla tied in a piece of muslin cloth till tender. – See more at: http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com/recipe/Masaledaar-Chholay.html#sthash.HheG5mm9.dpuf

  • Chickpeas (kabuli chana)
    1 1/2 cups
  • Dried Indian gooseberry (amla)
    3-4
  • Salt
    to taste
  • Tea leaves
    2 teaspoons
  • Onions
    3 large
  • Ginger
    2 one- inc
  • Garlic
    8-10 cloves
  • Green chillies
    2
  • Tomatoes
    4 medium
  • Fresh coriander leaves
    1/4 bunch
  • Cumin seeds
    2 tablespoons
  • Oil
    4 tablespoons
  • Coriander powder
    3 tablespoons
  • Red chilli powder
    1
  • Pomegranate seed powder coarsely powdered
    1 tablespoon
  • – See more at: http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com/recipe/Masaledaar-Chholay.html#sthash.HheG5mm9.dpuf

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