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Monica Bhide

Chick Peas - Chole (Channa Masala)

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i usually use *badshah* or *mdh* brand chole masala. other good ones are *shaan*.

a trick to using the one you might not like too much, enhance it with garam masala, chilli powder, turmeric powder and amchur powder (dry raw mango powder).

regarding kasuri methi - I usually use a heavy pinch or two right after cumin has heated up nice. I usually take time to crush the leaves in between the palm of my hands. If you like to see the leaves whole (presentation preference - doesn't do much difference for taste), add it a little after you have added onions and don't crush them. Just give them a minute to lend the flavor before you add the tomatoes.


I forgot to mention garlic/ginger minced (or paste) right after the cumin stage....

can someone (moderators - help) please add the following line just before the add garam masala part

*add 1 tbsp garlic + 1 tbsp ginger (paste / chopped)

and add 2 heavy pinches of kasuri methi lightly crushed between your palms)*

thank you in advance

Edited by liv4fud (log)

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Beautiful liv4fud, great pictorial (wish I had some right now)! BTW, what is bhatore?

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excellent work liv4fud, keep up the good work. :)

Edited by M65 (log)

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puris and bhature are different kinds of bread albeit fried. Puris are unleavened while bhatura dough is allowed to ferment a bit.

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thanx for the clarification delhi girl

do you have times on fermentation? any additives? special prep method?

addition of yeast??

it would be really helpful

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Bhature are leavened only very slightly in what is fundamentally a sourdough method.

I'm giving three methods of making the bhature dough. What can I say, my relatives are all Punjabi who adore fried food! :raz:

First is the regular, every-day method. This is how my relatives usually make bhature. Then I'm giving the purists version, and then the quick and dirty method.

The amount should yield about 8 bhature.

2 cups white flour (maida)

1 cup semolina (sooji)

1/2 teaspoon soda bi-carb

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup yogurt (preferably slightly sour) at room temperature

Mix together all ingredients, adding enough warm water to bring the dough to a softish consistency that will let you roll it out easily with just a little flour added to the surface on which you roll out the bread. Knead. Set aside in a covered bowl in a warm place at least 3-4 hours. (As chole bhature is often a breakfast food for Punjabis, it will often be left overnight and cooked in the morning).

Form into eight balls, and roll out. Bhatura are usually very slightly larger than puris (though of course this depends on the size you make your puris!) - I've never actually measured them, but at a guess I'd say about 10 cm across. They are also rolled out to be just a tiny bit thicker than puris.

Then, of couse, fry one at a time. Fry till each side is JUST beginning to turn golden - they should be a slightly lighter color than puris.

The purists method:

Mix together only the semolina and the yogurt. Cover, and allow to remain at (warmish) room temperature for 8-10 hours. This forms your starter. It should have risen very very slightly. Now mix together the starter with the flour, salt, sugar, etc, and leave to rest as in the instructions above. Roll out and fry in the same manner.

The quick and dirty method:

(because you're skipping the fermenting step, the taste is slightly inferior. However, this is useful if you live in a very cold house, or don't have time to let your dough sit around)

Substitute self-raising flour for the white flour and omit the soda bi-carb. Mix together with the remaining ingredients listed above, roll out, fry, etc.

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puris and bhature are different kinds of bread albeit fried. Puris are unleavened while bhatura dough is allowed to ferment a bit.

Puris are generally wholewheat and Bhaturae usually white flour.

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That recipe seems to me to use the spices in inordinately large amounts?........

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Reviving this thread (there are actually two chole threads but this one seems to have a bit more meat to it).

I love chole / chana masala at the Punjabi taxidriver take-out places in New York, and would love to replicate it. I tried this recipe:


And it's fine, but nowhere near as unctuous and delicious as the stuff from the taxidriver place steamtables. Maybe because this is a Delhi recipe, thus from India, even though it's called Punjabi Chole? The taxidriver places in New York are, I believe, Pakistani.

I realize that the Punjab is divided between India and Pakistan anyway, and this recipe is vegetarian so could be eaten by people of most religions and backgrounds... but I wonder whether anyone has any tips for a chole recipe closer to what I get at places like Lahore Deli and Punjab Grocery & Deli in Manhattan?

Some things I noticed that are lacking in this recipe that others use:

- garlic (or garlic-ginger paste)

- dried mango powder (amchoor) - though dried pomegranate seeds (anardana) are used instead

- lemon juice

- tamarind paste

- methi leaves

- fennel seeds

Any recommendations? I did use nice dried chickpeas, didn't pressure-cook them... but the chickpeas weren't the problem I don't think. The recipe just came out somewhat spicy and one-dimensional. I don't mind spice, but it just didn't have that mouthwatering, meaty fullness that the cabdriver delis have in their chana. Thanks for any tips.

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Thanks percyn, this is interesting. I wonder whether this would give me the result I'm seeking, though.

Perhaps the chickpea chaat served at the Pakistani delis here is not actually chole, but another chickpea preparation?

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Should it ideally use Western style garbanzos, Indian style black garbanzos (kala chana; the ones used to make chana dal, but not split), or what?

Edited by Will (log)

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I believe Western style garbanzos are identical to regular Indian / Pakistani chana, not split, and that is what is meant to be used.

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I realize I'm singlehandedly and boringly keeping this thread alive... but I made Soba's adaptation of the Jaffrey chana, details on the Dinner thread.

Although much better, it still doesn't have the umami-ish more-ishness of the cabdriver takeout stands! I'm suspecting some processed or artificial ingredient. Maybe simply some MSG? Their chickpeas are creamier - could they be canned? I can't stand canned chickpeas, but my dry ones are still coming out a bit grainy, maybe I need a pressure cooker.

Next time I'm going to try tempering the oil with Delhi spices rather than a panch phoran - cinnamon, cloves, a few split green cardamoms, cloves, bay leaf. And maybe return to the garam masala, but added at the end rather than with the sauteed spices in the middle.

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First off, which is the recipe you used? Because your picture on the dinner thread looks fantastic!

Secondly, try cooking the chick peas with a bit of baking soda - it makes them much softer (good trick when making hummus bi tahina from scratch)

Thirdly, as for Delhi vs Panjab vs Lahore/Pakistan: Chole is a Panjabi dish, from a region that you noted is split over two countries. The plurality if not majority of Pakistanis are Panjabi, and Lahore was the cultural capital of Panjab before partition (and arguably remains so). What's served on the Indian side is more than likely going to be the same (with exceptions for variations amongst individual cooks) as on the Pakistani side. Regarding Delhi, a LOT of "Delhi" food is Panjabi, given Delhi's proximity to that region, as well as Panjab->Delhi immigration.

Finally, given my rudimentary knowledge of Hindustani, chole and chana masala are just two names for the same thing, and that's the same preparation that every Pakistani joint serves.

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My latest try was SobaAddict70's adaptation of this one from Smitten Kitchen. Soba used a panch phoran and left out the paprika and garam masala, as did I. I also used ghee instead of oil, and doubled the quantity. Finally, I added some squirts of ketchup at the very end to up the umami.

I use the baking soda trick. It definitely helps, and it also keeps the skins intact I think.

My thinking about getting to the Punjab style via Delhi is along the lines of yours. There are a lot more recipes and websites the deal in Delhi and North Indian cooking than Lahori and Pakistani cooking, at least in English. And Jaffrey is from Delhi.

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Panch phoran is definitely neither a Delhi/UP or Panjabi thing, for what it's worth.

Shame about the recipes, as Lahori cooking is my favorite of the North Indian styles.

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Yes, I realize the panch phoran was a diversion into Bengal I shouldn't have taken in my quest for Pakistani chole but it was too intriguing not to try.

Next I may try tempering with North Indian whole spices instead - bay leaves, green cardamom pods, cinnamon, bay leaf and cloves. And I think omitting the garam masala is definitely a mistake, though it should probably go in at the end rather than being sauted with the other spices.

I have just discovered this page, which seems like it might have some promising leads for a real Delhi chole:


Whether this gives me the precise taste I'm seeking is another matter. I may want to try the MDH commercial masala powder that is frequently mentioned.

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The problem with the commercial masala powders it that they are SOOO salty.

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Slight detour - most of the Lahori sites go on and on about murgh chana masala, so I tried this recipe for that - however, using the leftover chana masala from the Soba/Smitten Kitchen prep. Pics in the Dinner thread. Obviously it departs from the original recipe because it adds prepared chana masala to a new masala, but I thought what the hell. And it was unbelievably delicious!

While I was making this, I realized during the prep that I was making something very similar to one of my favorite Julie Sahni recipes, fragrant chicken braised in yogurt (dahi murghi). I might like this recipe even more, and it's actually easier as well. Just note that the "curd" in the ingredients list is the yogurt referred to in the preamble, and you're supposed to save the chopped chiles for the garnish. I really enjoyed the fresh chile, cilantro and julienned ginger garnish in this dish - you don't encounter that so much with curries.

ANYWAY... I'd never recommend that anyone actually follow this method and make two entire separate curries and then combine them, it's way too much work. And ALSO, although delicious as hell, the final product resembled dahi murghi way more than the chole I get at the Pakistani cabdriver stands.

So this might have been a diversion, though a most worthwhile & tasty one... highly recommended...

Edited by patrickamory (log)

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I just started playing around with making channa masala, and made two batches during the past week.  The first batch was a bit of a disappointment as I used canned garbanzo beans.  The beans were rather firm, and I had read that soaking dried beans would give a softer texture.  That seemed to be the case with the second batch.


The other thing was the tomatoes.  I used canned as they were handy in my cupboard, but I only had Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies on hand.  "Why not give 'em a try," I thought, and they worked out just great, adding a very slight smokiness to the dish and just the right balance of heat, eliminating the need to use additional peppers.  Heat was also supplemented with dried Aleppo pepper, rather than a more typical (according to recipes I've seen) cayenne.


When I return from vacation, there will be more experiments.


Comments and additional suggestions are welcome.

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