Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Recipe of the month: Poori and Punjabi Chole

I've posted a Poori - Dum Aloo recipe before. Pooris are not something I make very often because these calorie-ridden, deep fried flatbreads are a guilty indulgence that will literally weigh you down! But me and hubby love them so much that those rare occasions that I make them turns into a special occasion 😊

After I got married, my initial attempts to make pooris invariably ended up in disaster (pooris not puffing up/collapsing too quickly/soaking up too much oil/becoming like papad) but after I started following the method I've mentioned here, I've never had any such issue. I make pooris when I have guests at home too because I'm confident that I won't be battling any poori demons!

One of the most common side dishes I make with poori is chole. Me and hubby both love chickpeas and at any given point of time, my pantry always has at least two cans of chickpeas. We use it in hummus, salads, dry side dishes, gravies and biryani. Usually the chole that I make is no fancy affair. I use store-bought Chole Masala and like I mentioned, I use canned chickpeas (it makes life so much easier!). These short cuts contribute to the chole being ready within 15-20 mins flat. However this time I wanted to take a break from my usual recipe and do something different. I always get inspired when I look at my masala dabba (which is a compartmentalized spice box and the heartbeat of any Indian kitchen). I have always wanted to make the authentic style of Punjabi chole so armed with my precious masala dabba, I got cracking! maybe it would be wrong of my to say that I ended up making something authentic because neither am I Punjabi nor am I capable of faithfully sticking to a recipe! I always incorporate some of my own changes however minor they may be 😊 From the original recipe, I doubled the amount of chickpeas, blended a portion of the chickpeas to thicken the gravy, reduced the amount of dry mango powder and incorporated sugar. Me and hubby  thought the final product was delicious and was of ideal consistency for dunking the hot pooris. 

This recipe is not only vegetarian but also vegan-friendly. It doesn't contain garlic either so it is ideal for people who do not like or eat garlic.

Poori and Punjabi Chole 

Preparation Time: 60 - 90 min (if you are soaking & cooking the chickpeas yourself then +9 hours)
Recipe level: Intermediate
Serves: 4
Recipe category: Main course/North Indian
Recipe level: Intermediate
Recipe Source: Poori from amma & atthe; Punjabi Chole from Veg recipes of India


For Poori:

2 cups whole wheat flour (I use Pillsburry chakki fresh atta)
2 tbsp semolina (chiroti rava or fine semolina) Optional
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Sugar, a pinch
1 cup water (approximately)
Oil for deep frying 

For the Punjabi Chole:

3 cups cooked chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans, Kabuli Chana)
2 medium-sized red onions, chopped
2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp ginger, finely minced/grated
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp dry mango powder/amchur powder
1-2 green chillies (depending on spice level) slit vertically
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste

Spices to be dry roasted and ground into a fine powder:
4 black cardamoms
1 inch cinnamon
5-6 peppercorns
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 and half tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 and half tsp coriander seeds/dhania
1 and half tsp fennel seeds/saunf
2 dry red chillies


For Poori:
  1. In a bowl, add the wheat flour, semolina, salt, sugar and oil. Make a well in the middle and gradually add the water little by little kneading continuously to form a uniform dough. The poori dough should be firmer than chapathi/roti dough (if you make it too soft, they soak up lot of oil and if you make it too hard, you get broken sides).
  2. After kneading, keep the dough aside for 10 mins. You can start making them immediately if you are pressed for time. Make lime sized balls and start rolling out the pooris. My trick during rolling is to smear a little oil on the rolling board. You may have to do this a few times between batches but trust me, it helps. I do not dust the pooris in flour while rolling. I roll them on the oiled board into a small circle of uniform thickness (not too thick - not too thin) and spread them out on a plate or a sheet of parchment paper. Do not stack the rolled out pooris on top of the other.
  3. Heat oil in a pan/kadai. The oil should be the right temperature to get perfect pooris. Cut a tiny bit of the dough and put it in oil. If it raises to top immediately, your oil is ready and you can start frying your pooris. If smoke is coming out of oil, then that means it is too hot and not suitable for frying.
  4. Gently drop the rolled out pooris (one by one) in the hot oil. They should fluff up if done properly. 
  5. Give them a flip over and drain them on absorbent paper towels

For the Punjabi Chole:

1. Wash and soak the chole (chickpeas) in ample water overnight. In a pressure cooker add the chole, enough water and pressure cook until done. The chole should be soft when you mash it with a spoon.  Reserve the cooking liquid for later. 
Or if you want to take the easy way out (like me) just use canned chickpeas 😛

2. In a pan, dry roast all the spices mentioned above on low heat till fragrant. Stir intermittently so they don't burn. Once they are cooled, grind them into a fine powder.

3. Now in a large pot, add the vegetable oil. Once the oil becomes hot, add the chopped onions and slit green chillies. Fry till they become transparent. Add in the ginger paste.

4. Once the raw smell of the ginger disappears, then add the chopped tomatoes. Add a little salt so that the tomatoes gets cooked fast.

5. Add the garam masala, red chilli powder, amchur powder and 80% of the freshly ground whole spice mixture to the onion-ginger-tomato mixture. Sauté for a few minutes. You can add a little water so the spices don't burn.

The reason I am not advising to add all of the freshly ground whole spice mixture at once is that depending on the strength of the whole spices you are using, it might overpower the dish. Taste the final dish and if you feel more is needed, add accordingly. 

6. Now add 21/2 cups of the cooked chole with some of its broth (the cooking liquid/canned liquid). You can add more broth if you want more gravy. Blend the remaining 1/2 cup of chole with a little water to a coarse paste and add this paste into the gravy. This step is optional - the reason I do this is to add more body to the gravy as I like chole to have a slightly thicker consistency. Add the sugar and salt to taste. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Note that the chole tends to thicken further after you take it off the heat. 

7. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve the Punjabi Chole hot with kulchas, bhaturas, pooris, rotis or rice along with sliced onions and lime wedges. 

  • If you roll out the pooris too thin, you might end up with minute holes which on frying, prevents the pooris from fluffing up
  • The fine semolina or chiroti rava makes the pooris slightly crisp. You can omit this if you don't have any.
  • Make sure that the oil used to fry the poor is is fresh and hot but not smoking. 
  • If you have a wooden rolling board, cleaning it is a bit of a pain. Take some flour and dust the board before washing. This helps to remove some of the traces of oil. After that, wash 2-3 times with hot soapy water.
  • It is important to use ripe red tomatoes in this recipe otherwise the gravy may turn out too tart. If you think that may happen, either reduce the amount of tomatoes or cut down/eliminate the dry mango powder or leave out the lime wedges while serving. 



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  2. That looks SO delicious. Love indian curries especially the vegetarian ones.

    PS: I am hosting a Bits of Brit giveaway currently(open to Singapore residents only), so I really hope you will enter:

  3. Fried bread. Yum. So not on my diet, yet so delicious looking!

  4. Hi Megha... This is officially my favorite chole curry... Made this last week and loved it!!!


  5. its so mouth watering! thanks for the step by step recipe!chowringhee satyaniketan


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