Monday, December 10, 2007


The Punjabi beans like Kabooli Chana and Rajma entered my mom's kitchen when Kapoor aunty became my Moushi's neighbor. My moushi (maternal aunt) who used to live in the same neighborhood as ours, imported all those authentic Punjabi recipes to our home. I almost always followed Kapoor Aunty's Chhole recipe religiously because I thought not doing so would be blasphemy! But later, I thought I need to at least try the other recipes.

I will give Kapoor Aunty's recipe in the end. but before that let me talk about the other recipes that I have tried so far. I must say I liked each and every recipe. Probably because as Anjali says here that every self-respecting Indian loves Chhole! Though I have made Chhole from the recipes by other cookery experts, I am partial to Kapoor aunty's recipe because it brings back a lot of nice memories.

I tried Tarla Dalal's recipe from "The Pleasures of Indian Vegetarian Cooking". That recipe resulted in an awesome dryish chhole. They were a big hit at our annual Diwali potluck party last year.

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe for masalaydaar chhole from "The Khazaana of Indian cooking" had the advice of using tea leaves in a muslin cloth just like Kapoor aunty used to use "bouquet garni". This version resulted in amazingly deep brownish chhole that was equally delicious.

Madhur Jaffrey had two chhole recipes in her book "World Vegetarian". The first one was Moglai Chhole that had yogurt in it which I had never seen in Chhole before. They tasted very well indeed. and the other was "Paraati Chana" from Delhi that included Kabooli chana and chana daal. Equally yummo!

I tried Smt. Kamalabai Ogale's "Chhole" given in the Punjabi section of her most beloved Marathi book about Maharashtrian cooking "Ruchira - Part1". (She has given a few recipes of different states like Guajarat, Punjab, Bengal, and South in the same book). I don't think I have failed in making anything from Ruchira be it authentic Maharashtrian dish or any other regional dish.

I had scribbled a recipe from Mangala Barve's famous book "Annapoorna" which I had borrowed from my friend's mom for review when I was in school! :-)If I remember correctly that recipe called for Dalda and some whole spices. I had made that one when I had invited my school friends for a sleepover! (Thanks mom for letting me enter the kitchen and let me cook my way!). This recipe was good too.

But the one recipe which I loved the most (other than Kapoor aunty's of course!) is Suvir Saran's "Kwality's ke Chhole" from his book "Indian Home Cooking". I had made these chhole for Gudiya's birthday party. and they were super duper hit! If I am not following Kapoor aunty's recipe, I generally follow Mr. Saran's recipe. It is a sure winner and a crowd pleaser!

and now some American Desi accompaniements to go with Chhole-

1) I keep hash brown patties in my freezer. So once chhole are ready, I thaw the hash brown patties on the griddle. I serve chhole on top of the patties, use my multi-purpose chaat chutney (generally frozen), and we have an impromtu chhole tikki ready. Sometimes I also drizzle little bit of yogurt on top too.

2) For making an impromptu bhatura to go with the chhole, one can technically deep fry the readymade flour tortilla in the hot oil till they balloon up. I try my best to avoid deep frying so I mentioned about just the theory, though the practical never happens in my kitchen! :-)

And finally, here is Kapoor Aunty's Chhole recipe.

Punjabi Chhole (Serves 8)


2 cups Garbanzo beans/Kabooli chana

2 cloves

1" Cinnamon

½ kg onions, roughly chopped
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
A bunch of Coriander Leaves/Cilantro, roughly chopped
1 1/2"Ginger
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp Red chili powder
1 tsp Garam masala (Preferably homemade)
2 Tejpatta
1/2 tsp Anardana

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tea bag or 1 tsp tea leaves wrapped in a muslin cloth and tied with a thread.
1/4 tsp Baking soda

Oil 1/4 cup


1. Soak garbanzo beans along with cloves and cinnamon overnight. Next morning, drain the water. Get rid of cloves and cinnamon.
2. Add baking soda, and the tea bag. Pressure cook for about 4-5 whistles.
3. Grind onions, cilantro , ginger, garlic. Keep it aside.
3. Grind tomatoes separately to a coarse paste. Keep it aside.
4. Heat oil in a big saucepan. Add bay leaves.
5. Add onion paste. Fry till the oil leaves the masala.
6. Add tomato paste. Fry well.
7. Now remove the tea bag from the cooked garbanzos and add them to the saucepan.
8. Add 1 cup water, turmeric powder, chili powder, garam masala and salt. Bring to boil
9. Roast anardana lightly and crush them in mortar and pestle. Add to the saucepan.

10. Garnish with cilantro.

11. Serve with lemon wedges.

Note -

1. It's always preferable to make the chholay in an iron kadai/dekchi/wok

2. The original recipe has a lot of oil. I generally use 1 tbsp max.


1. I read the word "bouquet garni" first time in the wonderful articles "Cook in with Jiggs Kalra" published in Times of India by Jiggs Kalra. More about Mr. Kalra, read here.

2. More about Tarla Dalal, read here.

3. More about Sanjeev Kapoor, read here .
4. More about Madhur Jaffrey, read here.

5. More about Ruchira, read here.

6. More about Annapoorna, read here.

7. More about Suvir Saran, read here.

I would like to send this post to Anjali's (of Anna Parabramha) Chhole Mela.


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