Slow fire cooking - Chhole

It always happens when I attempt at  re-creating the popular street food at home. DH says it is good, but lacks the punch that they have in them. I always get away saying , “Ohh u really miss the dirt and filth that is served along with the food, but I know that what he means is the technique or maybe the approach.
Nevertheless, I am still not giving up making some of this dishes at home. 
Also , I was intrigued by the story of slow fire cooking on a travel show. The dhaba owners without divulging any details of the recipe put emphasis on the fact that they never pressure cooked their chanas for the chhole. Come to think of it that they make such huge quantities that they would never have the pressure cooker to accommodate them. Well, they also hinted that they make all their masala at home.
Off to my recipe. I washed and soaked the chanas overnight and in the morning, I changed the water and let it stand for another 30 min.

Ingredients (Serves 5)
200 gm Chickpeas (chanas) to be soaked overnight
3-4 whole cloves
1” cinnamon stick
4-5 peppercorns
1 large Black Cardomom
2-3 bay leaf
3 medium  onions paste
4 medium tomato pureed
2 tspn ginger paste
1” ginger finely grated (optional)
2 tspn garlic paste
2 ½ tspn red chilly powder
1 tspn turmeric powder
½ tspn Punjabi Garam masala (optional)
1 tbsp (heaped) Dry Mango powder)
2 tbsp  chopped coriander
Oil for cooking
Salt to taste
Dry roast the below ingredients and make grind to make masala, this was just enough for the above quantity1 tspn cumin powder
4-5 cloves
1” cinnamon stick
5-6 peppercorns
2 tspn coriander seeds
½ tspn Nigella seeds( optional) I added this as I have fallen in love with the flavor
a tiny piece of mace
2 red chillies (I didn’t add as I added the red chilly powder later)


1) The soaked chickpeas will make up approximately 3 cups. Add 7 cups of water in a large pan along with the chickpeas, whole cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, black cardamom, 1 bay leaf, 1 tspn salt, 1 tspn oil. Let it cook on slow to medium flame, for couple of hours (it took mine 2 hours). Having read stories of 6-8 hours of cooking time without pressure cooker, DH was really watching the gas meter. But I guess the quantity is key. Keep watching for the water level which should always be above the chickpeas.
2) In a separate pan, heat some oil, add the cumin seeds and bay leaf, once the aroma is released, add the onion paste and sauté until it is cooked, oil seperates.
3)Add the  tomato puree and the ginger and garlic paste. Saute again till the tomatoes are well cooked.
4) Now add turmeric powder, red chilly powder and the cooked chickpeas along with the broth that it was cooked in. Add salt as per taste.
5) Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Let it simmer until all the flavors are absorbed, about 15-20 minutes more.
6) Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with parathas or bhature


Sumee said…
Oh My.. you have lot of patiece.. :o) That looks delicious chat kinda chole.. May be slow cooker would be helpful? Just a thought. I don't own one, but have heard meat cooks really nice in those. So why not chole. :o)

Popular Posts