Monday, August 15, 2011

Easiest Chhole Ever

'Easy' is a relative word, and so I should start off by qualifying that this is the easiest of all the chhole recipes that I have tried.

After having tried several chhole recipes, it also happens to be my most favorite in terms of taste, so with a very high taste to effort ratio, it is also the 'Best Chhole Ever' in my world. There is absolutely no chopping involved. Dried garbanzo beans are soaked and cooked, and then mixed with some flavorful dried spices. Simple and delicious. If anyone remembers the old 'bawarchi' site, that is where I got this recipe. The accompanying description by the contributor said that his mother learned to make it from a street vendor near their house in Delhi. Street, vendor, chhole, delhi, conjured up an image of something truly delicious and authentic in my mind, and the recipe did not disappoint.

The link has changed twice since, but this is where the original resides now. I use a lot less oil than specified, and it still seems fine to me.

Even if you like the usual chhole with onions and tomatoes, I recommend you give this a try, if only to compare and decide.




1 cup dried garbanzo beans
1 tea-bag
1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon red chili powder (cayenne)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango powder)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon chhole masala (or chana masala)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 Tablespoon (or less) oil
pinch of cumin seeds (optional)


Soak the garbanzo beans in a large bowl with plenty of water for 8-10 hours. Rinse and drain them when you are ready to cook. You can cook them in a pressure cooker with the standard three-whistle regulation that you might be using for dal, or you can cook them over a stove-top, which could take 45 minutes to an hour.

I use a pressure cooker, with a small pot inside with the beans. To the garbanzo beans, add one tea-bag (remove label if it has one), one bay leaf, and enough water to cover the beans completely. A little extra water doesn't hurt. Let the pressure drop on its own, and then drain the beans in a large sieve or colander, making sure you save the cooking water.

Measure out all the dry spices in a small bowl, and mix them all with the warm beans to distribute them completely.

Heat the oil in large pan or wok. Add the cumin seeds (if using) and when they start to sizzle, add the beans and stir together. Add the cooking water a little at a time, and keep stirring gently until you have enough to form the gravy (sauce).
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