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Chick Peas - Chole (Channa Masala)

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My kitchen smells like my moms today! I am making her recipe for Chole or chick peas. We have two methods: the easy way and the lazy way

First chickpeas are soaked overnight

Next they are cooked in a pressure cooker along with cinnamon stick, black cardamom, peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves -- until tender. Set aside

Easy way - Make a gravy with ginger, onions, tomatoes -- cook it down until the oil separates from the gravy. Add red chilies, salt, turmeric (if you wish), freshly ground coriander seed powder, garam masala powder, dried mango powder and a large tablespoon of tamarind (yes tamarind) pulp. Add the chick peas and mix well. Leave to cook for another 15 minutes

The lazy way -- In a large skillet.. heat some oil. Add thin slices of ginger and a (paste made with water) tablespoon or two of red chilies, tumermic, coriander powder, garam masala and salt to taste. Let is sizzle add the chole and cook it for a few minutes and you are done

Secret ingredient - I love Roopak's Channa Masala and usually add a heaping tablespoon full for extra flavor

So how do you make yours?

I am going to add the recipe for Bhatura .. the bread to go along with this in a minute.. as soon as someone tells me how to get my head to stop pounding!

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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I make mine just like yours (easy method), I love them with tamarind. I have never tried the channa masala, I'll have to try that out, thanks!

My MIL makes hers with tea leaves wrapped up in cheesecloth. I am not a fan, personally.


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I make mine just like yours (easy method), I love them with tamarind. I have never tried the channa masala, I'll have to try that out, thanks!

My MIL makes hers with tea leaves wrapped up in cheesecloth. I am not a fan, personally.

my mom adds brewed tea to hers to get a darker color. I am with you on this one.. not a big fan

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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Monica, this is one of my favorite dishes and I've never been able to replicate it. Anyway, do I have to use a pressure cooker or can I simmer the chickpeas for several hours? And do you have a formal recipe that I can use?

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Monica, this is one of my favorite dishes and I've never been able to replicate it. Anyway, do I have to use a pressure cooker or can I simmer the chickpeas for several hours? And do you have a formal recipe that I can use?

It will take a long time without a pressure cooker... you could simmer it. I would say use the canned ones if you dont have a pressure cooker. Chickpeas take a long time to cook. Yes I do have a formal recipe.. I will PM that to you today :biggrin:

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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I didn't know whether to put this under the Saag or Soul Food thread, since it could fit equally well there. Because my favourite way of cooking chickpeas is hariyali style - in a thick spinach gravy.

I picked up the recipe from a Nita Mehta cookbook (she's like a cheaper version of Tarla Dalal - not particularly fancy, but good basic stuff that works), in fact her Low Fat cookbook, since the recipe uses only a little oil so that's another bonus. Its also an excellent recipe to make for a large bunch of people, since its either a dhal or a veggie dish, depending on how you look at it, and it is such a totally satisfying dish that I've seen even the most dedicated meat eaters spooning it in.

Here's a rough recipe (and this is really one of those forgiving dishes where you're fine following the general outline, minor differences don't much matter):

Pressure cook chickpeas along with some salt and a couple of black cardamoms (but if you don't have time, you can use canned ones and forget about the cardamoms). How soft you want them is up to you - I like them quite mushy.

Take some bunches of spinach, the more the better since the gravy is so good, and clean and chop the leaves, though you really needn't bother about the chopping since its all going to be pulped anyway. Pressure cook them briefly along with some nice big onions and plenty of ginger-garlic paste (use fresh and grated ginger and chopped garlic if you like, I'm sure you're a better person than me), and just a little water. Once its all wilted, including the onion, pulversive into a thick green sauce in a blender.

In a large karhai or deep saucepan heat just a little oil. Pulverise some nice big tomatoes and add the puree to the oil. Cook till the pulp is thick, then add a couple of tablespoons of channa masala and a teaspoon or so of chilli powder and salt. Stir a bit and then add the channa and fry in the tomato-spice mixture for a bit. Then lower the heat and add the spinach sauce to the channa and cook for a bit and that's it. Totally delicious and you can refrigerate it and it just gets better.


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Ok, as promised, here is my first attempt at channa masala. Please, be gentle.

3 cinnamon sticks, about 3-4 inches long

3 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon black mustard seed

1/2 tsp nutmeg

4-5 green cardamom dehusked

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1-2 tsp ground corriander

1-2 tbs red chile pepper

1 tbs ginger paste or about a 3/4 inch of fresh ginger finger pureed

5-6 cloves mashed well (I use a garlic press)

1 large yellow onion chopped

4 -6 cups chicken or turkey stock, or water.

2 cups dried chickpeas

3 curry leaves

*note* all spices are approximate, please adjust to your tastes.

Chop onion, and break cinnamon stick into very small fragments with a mortar and pestle.

You can bruise the other spices in a similar manner but not the cumin seeds or the curry leaf.

Take a few tablespoons of fat of your choice and cook the chopped onion until almost translucent, then add the rest of the spices, except the curry leaves, and brown them in the oil for a couple of minutes to release the flavors.

Add some stock, or water if they start to stick.

In a crock pot, (you can use a nice dutch oven or a pressure cooker) add the water and chickpeas, then the spice mix. add a couple curry leaves and let simmer overnight.

When almost tender enough add the rest of the ingredients:

6 oz can tomato paste

13.5 oz can coconut milk

5 curry leaves chopped

Salt to taste and adjust seasonings.

Let simmer for another hour or so until the peas are tender, and the sauce is the consistencey that you want.

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Chhole or Spiced chickpeas are a favourite with my children. Now I cook them in a slow cooker. Rinse the dry yellow chickpeas, also add some black chickpeas (extra nutrition and fiber), and a handful of chana dal for creaminess. Put them all in the slowcooker with 4 times water and let it cook overnight. There is no need to presoak.

In the morning I do the saute, as usual. I normally do not add turmeric pdr so that the color comes out dark brown. Tamarind and mango pdr are a must. So is cinnamon and garam masala. I have to start using all these ready made spice mixes that are now available. Makes life easy. I use tea bags if tamarind is not available and has to be substituted by lemon.

Enjoy them with tandoori roti.



Author - 'Recipes with a Spice - Indian Cuisine for Balanced Nutrition'


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Nice site -- although the link focuses on Channa dal and not chickpeas.. did I miss something?

right!couldn't decide whether to post on the legumes thread,the recipe request or this one.finally picked this and as the man says

But you can substitute chana dal for garbanzo beans in just about any recipe.

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  • 1 year later...

Inspired from the series by AHLeung, this is my try at a pictorial journal.

This is not an exotic recipe - just something a college going apartment sharing guy would do...

(though years of research - by usually mom's went into dumbing down the recipe for the supposedly intelligent kids...:cool: )


* 16 oz can of Garbanzo beans - drained, washed and ready to use

* chopped onions/shallots/scallion about 2 cups

* garam masala (store bought)

* chole masala (store bought - you can use just this also)

* turmeric powder

* ground red pepper (cayenne)

* fennel seeds

* cumin seeds

* dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)

* oil

* salt

* cinnamon stick (.5")

* cilantro to garnish

* Start by sauteeing the onions

gallery_35162_2589_86005.jpg using about 3 tbsp of oil.

let the mixture reduce to about a quarter of its original and remove


add another 2 tbsp of oil and cook cinnamon, cumin, fennel till they are brown (careful of burning) aroma is good indication also

add garam masala (to taste - about 1 tbsp), turmeric powder (.5tbsp), cayenne (to taste) and chole masala (about 2 tbsp) and cook for a minute


Now add the onions back in the mixture, along with the same amount of tomato paste and add about twice the amount of water and bring to a boil

Once it comes to boil add the garbanzo beans and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes or so. gallery_35162_2589_86847.jpg

(it tastes better with dry beans that are resoaked and boiled - but in the words of alton brown, that would be another thread...)

This is usually served with puris which is an unlevened, fried Indian bread.

I am serving this with some rice (plain) along with papaddum and mango pulp gallery_35162_2589_145247.jpg offcourse garnished with cilantro...enjoy

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What, no bhature? Shame. :raz:

Joking aside, I usually serve my chole with rice as well. Partly because I'm lazy :wink: , and partly because it ends up so heavy when serving bhature.

Which brand of chole masala powder are you using? (I don't use a bought powder, the one brand available locally is not one I like).

Also, for the benefit of anyone who wants to follow your recipe, could you specify how much kasoori methi you're adding, and at what stage?

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