As I have mentioned in my first version of Chana Masala, I make this preparation in several ways to break the monotony and obviously to enjoy the health benefits. I am very happy to post the second version, an authentic Punjabi version. This recipe is very close to my heart and I am surely disclosing some secrets of my kitchen here…. Have I aroused your interest now in reading this post?
As we all know any preparation when it is made by two different people using the same ingredients has a different taste. In this recipe some ingredients that I have used are used by everyone but some are surely new.
I personally like my Chana cooked very soft , made in low oil and with a perfect balance of spices. I like it slightly tangy, medium spicy and enjoy eating it with rice. And yes, I surely enjoy the crunch of raw onions with this combo.
It was a while ago that I had cooked the Chana last, S reminded me that I had not cooked it in ages… so this ever obedient wife soaked the Chana for weekend…I thought suits me fine, I do not have to stand in the kitchen for a long time on a holiday.
I let the Chana soak overnight and then started cooking it in the morning. I have used Kachari to tenderise the Chana naturally. I had heard about Kachari in Sanjeev Kapoor’s show and since then I was in hunt of this ingredient. Ideally it is used to tenderise the meat but can be used for Chana too as it takes a lot of time for them to get cooked otherwise. Kachari is a fruit and in dried form is powdered and used.
The other variation which I have done is boiled the Chana with a few ingredients which adds a flavor, deepens the color, increases the nutrient value and aids in digestion of these ‘Sholay’ sorry Chhole…..read the method for that
So lets hit the complete list of ingredients
2-1/2 cups of Kabuli chana (approx 4 handfuls)
2 potatoes cubed (optional)
1 small stick cinnamon
2 Black cardamom
1 tsp tea leaves
9-10 dry amla
1/4 tsp kachari (alternately, you can also use soda bi carb)
3 onions (make a paste)
3 tomatoes (pureed)
7-8 garlic pods
1-1/2 inch piece ginger
oil for cooking
3-4 bay leaves
1 tsp white pepper pwd
2 tsp red chili pwd
1 tsp turmeric
3-4 tsp coriander pwd
2 tsp roasted and powdered Cumin
1 tsp roasted and powdered Ajwain / Carom Seeds
3-4 tbsp Anardana pwd*
1/4 tsp garam masala (optional) I did not add
Wash the chickpeas and soak it in overnight with 1/4 tsp Kachari powder and then boil it in the same water ( to retain nutrients) with this mix and also add salt to taste.
This mix contains tea leaves which helps to deepen the colour, dry Indian gooseberry (Amla), cinnamon stick and Black cardamom. Tie all ingredients in a cloth (make a potli) and put it along with the chickpeas in a pressure cooker, remove the potli after cooking. Amla adds it’s flavor, helps in digestion and is the richest source of Vit C. One can notice the difference in colour after cooking. See below..
Add crushed ginger garlic paste followed by the tomato puree. Cook till the oil separates and then add all the spices and salt to taste. I must tell my friends that the Anardana (dry pomegranate seeds) used here impart tanginess and it’s taste is very different from Amchoor. It imparts that perfect tanginess which is subtle and surely add that authentic punjabi flavour, people who have used this will agree to me on this and if you have not used it till now please do not wait, use it!
Add the potatoes, mix, cover and cook till done.
Add this to cooked chickpeas and add some water, boil on simmer flame for another 10 minutes.
Serve this with Poori / Paratha / Rice / Kulcha / Naan.
Sending this as my entry to EC’s MLLA-19 the brainchild of Susan
to Arundhuti’s Gourmet affair as this was made with lot of love on S’s demand.