Pindi Chole, with a twist
Traditional / authentic pindi chole are made using anardana (dried pomegranate seeds), for a bit of tang & flavour – no tomatoes. I twisted the recipe a little and added a couple of tablespoons of yoghurt, cooked down completely to add texture – something I picked from the Madra Rajma recipe of Chamba (Himachal Pradesh).
**Even though this may be a lengthy recipe to read, it IS a simple one to work with :)
Soaking: 4 – 5 hours / overnight
Prep: 20 – 25 minutes
Cooking: 25 – 30 minutes
Ingredients to make Pindi Chole
1½ cups white / kabuli chana (chickpeas / garbanzo beans)
¼ cup chana dal (split chickpeas)
3 cups water – for soaking
2 tsp cooking oil, preferably cold-pressed (kachi ghani) mustard oil
½ tsp carom seeds / ajwain
5 – 6 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger – finely chopped
½ stick cinnamon
1 black cardamom
1 star anise
4 – 5 cloves
8 – 9 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp asafoetida / hing
2 large onions – roughly chopped
Soaked chickpeas + water
1 cup of tea leaves water (1 tsp black tea leaves brewed in 1 cup of water)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp cooking oil, preferably cold-pressed (kachi ghani) mustard oil
2 tbsp anardana powder
½ tsp caraway seeds / shahi jeera
½ tsp cumin seeds / jeera
½ tsp carom seeds / ajwain
¼ tsp asafoetida / hing
½ tsp amchur powder (dried mango powder)
3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
½ inch piece of ginger – finely chopped
3 – 4 green chillies – slit (or as per taste)
2 tbsp yoghurt
1 tsp homemade garam masala – adjust to your taste
½ tsp chole masala – adjust to your taste
Salt – as per taste
Method of making Pindi Chole
Soak kabuli chana for at least 5 - 6 hours, preferably overnight. If short on time, use warm water – soak for at least 2 - 3 hours.
An hour before cooking, add chana dal to the soaking kabuli chana, continue the soaking process.
Add 2 tsp cooking oil to a pressure cooker. In case using cold pressed mustard oil, bring the oil to smoking point, allow it to cool a bit and then add the carom seeds, ginger, garlic, whole spices. Sauté for a few seconds, till the aromatics and spices begin to release their oils & flavour.
Add onions, sauté for a couple of minutes till the onions turn translucent. Add soaked kabuli chana & dal along with the water they have been soaking in and the tea leaves water. Add salt to taste.
Bring this mix to a boil and close the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook for about 12 - 15 minutes – the chickpeas should be cooked to a point less then al-dente, as we will be cooking them further for a few minutes in part 3.
Allow the boiled chickpeas to cool for at least half an hour – the mix should be at room temperature before the next steps.
Strain the chickpeas & dal – retain the water. Remove the bay leaf, in case you wish to. Leave the other whole spices in the mix.
Part 3 – magic!
Add 2 tbsp cooking oil to a kadhai. In case using cold pressed mustard oil, bring the oil to smoking point, allow it to cool a bit and then add the anardana powder, shahi jeera, jeera, ajwain, asafoetida, amchur powder, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Sauté for a few seconds, till the aromatics and spices begin to release their oils & flavour.
Add yoghurt. Cook the yoghurt and spices on a medium low flame, till the yoghurt is completely cooked and darker in shade – the mix should not have any white from the yoghurt left, as seen in this image. This is an important step as uncooked yoghurt will dilute the flavours.
Also cooking the yoghurt completely reduces the tang that it would add to a recipe, just in case your teeth feel sour at the thought of anardana, amchur and yoghurt in one recipe! ;)
At this point, it may look like a lot of oil in the kadhai – this recipe calls for it.
Add the boiled chickpeas and dal to the mix, no water. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the water that the chickpeas have been boiled in. We do not need more water, as this is a dry-ish recipe.
Cook this mix on medium low heat, stirring at regular intervals, till very little gravy is left.
Add garam masala & chole masala. Adjust salt to taste – go easy on the salt yet as this is going to still cook down.
Continue cooking till the oil starts to separate and the chole are almost (not completely) dry.
Garnish with ginger juliennes & chopped green chillies. Serve hot.
The perfect accompaniment to Pindi Chole are bhatura and kulcha.
Don’t forget to serve onions pickled in vinegar (sirke wale pyaaz) for a couple of hours, along with!
You could also serve Pindi Chole with this instant carrot and green chilli pickle.
Do take a look at the other big plates & mains recipes / other recipes and simple Indian meal ideas.
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