This is one of the most popular street food dishes in Punjab, India, and it's found on almost every street corner. Chole means chickpeas, which are cooked in a spicy and tangy masala made with tea and tamarind. The chole are served with the softest, fluffiest bread called bhatura to help you scoop up every last bit, but even if you don’t make the bread, you can enjoy this in a big bowl with a dollop of cooling yogurt or sour cream.
Recipe courtesy of Hari Ghotra
For the Chole
- 400 Grams can of chickpeas (about 14-15 ounces)
- 2 black teabags in mug with boiling water poured over
- 5 cm piece tamarind (about 2 inches), soaked in about 100ml boiling water (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 Tablespoon ghee
- 1 Teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 4 cm piece ginger, grated
- 2-3 green chili peppers, sliced lengthways
- 400 Grams can of plum tomatoes (about 14-15 ounces)
- 1 Teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
- 1 Teaspoon turmeric
- 1 Teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- 2 Teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed
- 1/2 Teaspoon black salt
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 Teaspoon garam masala
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 heaped teaspoon amchoor or chaat masala
- Fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped for garnish
For the Bhatura
- 250 Grams self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 Teaspoon yeast
- 1 Teaspoon sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2-3 Tablespoons yogurt
For the Chole
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds. Once they sizzle add the sliced onions and cook for 5-10 minutes until they turn golden.
Stir in the sliced garlic and keep stirring until it starts to change color. Add the ginger and sliced chili peppers.
Fry for a minute and then add the tomatoes and tea water before sieving in the tamarind water. Leave this to simmer away and cook down until the tomatoes and onions start to combine to create a thick masala.
Add the chili powder, ground coriander, cumin and turmeric. Stir for a few minutes until the masala is aromatic and thick.
Drain the water from the canned chickpeas and place into the masala. Add a little water and leave to cook on a gentle heat for 5-10 minutes.
Sprinkle in the black salt and leave to cook for about 5 minutes.
Keep an eye on the pan and stir every few minutes. Add more liquid if required.
Check the seasoning and adjust if required. Make sure the chickpeas are nice and soft and the sauce is thick.
Add the garam masala and a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice and sprinkle over the amchoor.
To serve, top the chole with sliced red onions, fresh chopped coriander, sliced green chillies and a sprinkle of amchoor or chaat masala.
For the Bhatura
Add the yeast, sugar, salt and yogurt in to a roomy mixing bowl.
Mix everything together, using your fingers. Once mixed through, start to add a little milk if required so you end up with a soft dough. Knead the dough to firm it up.
Once the dough is ready, put a little oil on your hand and wipe over the top of the dough to stop it drying out.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for an hour.
Heat oil in a wok (karahi) or a wide frying pan.
Roll out a small ball of dough - make sure it's not too thin so it gets nice and fluffy.
Check the oil is hot by dropping a tiny bit of dough in - this should sizzle and rise straight away.
When the oil is ready, gently slide one bhatura into the oil and move it around gently with a slotted spoon. Once cooked, it will begin to fluff up and float - they should be creamy in color, and very light and fluffy in texture.
Remove from the oil and set on some kitchen paper.