Pindi Chole Bhature


Each  Indian household has their own secret recipe for Chole Bhature. I too cook chole in different masalas. We love this dish but do not prepare it very often as it is quite rich & heavy. Way back in the seventies, Mona Food on M.G.Road, Pune was the talk of the town for their excellent Chole Bhature. It was a restaurant which had an open dhabba style clean kitchen & we could see the experienced cooks boiling the chickpeas to perfection in huge pressure cookers. The masalas were ground in large grinders & the chole was prepared in large dekchis. The aroma of the masala with the right amount of spice used to tempt every shopper & passerby who did not intend to eat, would definitely dine or pick up a parcel !  There used to be a lot of hustle & bustle & people would await their turn for a table patiently or some would not mind standing & eating on the street. Pune is a relatively  clean city even today. People would line up patiently await their turn The bhature dough used to be kneaded by hands in huge bowls & the dough used be rolled into  super large bhaturas. People would stop by & watch the bhaturas tossed in the air & then elegantly with a flourish immersed in the hot oil which would puff up immediately. The entire process was so enjoyable & the chole bhature used to be bursting with flavor. People would feel  thoroughly satisfied after relishing it. They were generous with the portions as well as other accompaniments like wedges of lime, slices of onions, cucumber pickles & fried green chillies. They had amazing cold flavored milk in glass bottles & also some lovely mithais. Mona Food still exists with a different management but they still live in their past glory & try to cash in on their Chole Bhature which is no longer the same. The place is an enclosed restaurant & the prices are high. I have tried to recreate the same magic but it is still not the same…after all I do not know their secret recipe. I feel the person who fed us all  used to cook with great passion & lots of love. J I just can’t wait to share this wonderful recipe, so without much ado let us prepare & enjoy this great Punjabi dish..
Ingredients  for Chole :
2 cups Chickpeas (Kabuli Chana, Garbanzo)
2 Onions (finely chopped)
1 tbsp. Tea leaves
1 tsp. Kasuri Methi (dried Fenugreek leaves)
Salt to taste
4 tbsps. Vegetable Oil
To make paste in a blender :
2 tbsp. Coriander pwd.
2 tbsp. Cumin pwd.(dry roasted)
1tsp. Red Chilli pwd.
½ tsp. Turmeric pwd.
1 tsp. Garam Masala pwd.
½ tsp. Chaat Masala pwd
1 tbsp. Pomegranate seeds pwd. (dry roasted Anardana)
A pinch of Cinnamon pwd.
A pinch of Clove pwd.
1 tbsp. fresh Ginger (grated)
5 cloves fresh Garlic
1 tbsp. Tamarind pulp
2 small pieces Stone Flower (Dagad Phool)
½ bunch fresh Coriander leaves
1/3 cup fresh Mint leaves
¼ tsp. Granulated Sugar
For Garnishing :
3 Green Chillies (slit & fried)
2 med. Tomatoes (quartered & lightly fried)
Chopped fresh Coriander leaves
1 Onion (sliced into rings
2 fresh Limes (quartered)
Preparation of Chole :
Soak the chickpeas overnight or for about 4 to 6 hrs. Tie the tea leaves in a muslin cloth to form a bundle. Pressure cook the chickpeas with 6 to 8 cups of water, salt and bundle of tea leaves upto 7 to 8 whistles . Let the chickpeas rest in the cooker till it cools down completely. The chickpeas will be soft & completely cooked. Drain the cooked chickpeas & reserve the cooking liquor. Discard the bundle of tea leaves. Heat oil in a wok or a deep pan till hot. Add the chopped onions & saute till light brown. Then add the paste in the blender, kasuri methi & saute till the rawness disappears. Use the masala liquid from the blender when you add the cooking liquor. Add ½ of the reserved cooking liquor & let it come to a boil . Now add the cooked chick peas & the remaining cooking liquor, salt to taste, stir well. The gravy should be sufficiently thick. Let it settle for a while for the flavors to meld. Garnish with fried green chillies  quartered tomatoes & chopped coriander. You may also serve raw sliced onion rings & quartered limes. Serve hot with bhature or rotis, naan, parathas, phulkas….
Ingredients :
3 cups Maida ( Refined flour)
¼ cup Rava (Semolina)
½ cup Curds (slightly sour)
½ tsp. Baking pwd.
1 Egg (lightly beaten)
¼ tsp. Sugar
Salt or to taste
Sufficient water to make dough.
Vegetable Oil for deep frying
Method :
In a sufficiently large bowl,  sieve maida with baking pwd. To this add semolina & mix together with salt. Dissolve sugar in curds. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the beaten egg, curd mixture & combine lightly. Add a little water at a time & knead to a soft pliable dough. Keep aside for an hour. Heat oil in a wok till sufficiently hot. Test by sliding in a tiny pinch of dough.The dough should sizzle & rise immediately in the hot oil. Reduce the heat. The oil should not be smoking hot. Roll out discs with small balls of dough, the size of your palm or depending on the size of your wok. Gently slide the disc one at a time & keep basting gently with the oil from the wok so that the bhature puffs up like a poori. Gently flip the bhature to fry on the other side. Fry till light golden brown & slightly crisp. Drain the bhature completely using a slotted spoon.While doing this reduce the flame so that the oil does not burn in the wok. Increase the flame again to med. while sliding in the next bhatura. Transfer the drained bhatura on an absorbent paper. Fry all the bhaturas this way. Serve hot with pindi chole.
Tips & Variations :
Substitute with amchur pwd. instead of tamarind pulp, if you wish.
If using Chole Masala pwd. then do not use cinnamon & clove pwd.
Do not use cooking soda while boiling chickpeas; pressure cooking makes the chickpeas tender & do not open the cooker immediately.
If you like less tangy chole then reduce on anardana, chaat masala, tamarind pulp & tomatoes.
If adding tomato puree or paste do use a pinch or two of sugar as it cuts out acidity & gives a glossy finish to the prepared chole.
To get dark chole use stone flower, cinnamon & cloves & eliminate the tea leaves.
If you want soft bhaturas then eliminate the semolina.
Addition of baking soda makes the bhatura absorb oil & turns it soggy. So please avoid it.
If using tinned Garbanzo, drain the liquid, wash well & use in cooking.
Pindi chole is tastier if soaked dried chickpeas and fresh spices are used.
If you wish, you can heat a little oil or homemade ghee & add grated ginger & temper the chole on top before serving.

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