Chole - Pahar Ganj Style
Chole Bhature for Delhites is equivalent to Fish and Chips for Britishers. There are so many different recipes of Chole, each one with a distinctive taste. My favourite is from a small take away place in Pahar Ganj, a locality of Delhi. This shop reminds me of Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip take away in Guiseley, West Yorkshire. Like Harry Ramsden’s place this started in early 50’s as a small business and today they serve several thousand helping each lunchtime. Their premises remain very small but instead of 2 cooks making the bhaturas there are probably 8, the maximum its space would allow! The service remains fast and no one waits for longer than 20 minutes, time enough for a sale of a glass of lassi!
The recipe for the chole is a family secret. Many people have tried in vain to produce the same quality of chole. Like others I have attempted and I think this version is as close as I will get. For friends who haven't been initiated to the real thing this recipe is well worth, for chole bhature enthusiasts.
I must confess it is by mistake I get the credit for this dish, it should really go to a friend’s wife Ramal, who inadvertently prepared this style of Chole while I was overlooking.... Though I have put down the various ingredients separately one cold use Shan's Chole masala powder.
Ingredients for Chole:
- 2 tins Chick Peas (800gms with water)
- 1 pinch Hing (Asafoetida)
- 1 tsf Coriander powder
- ¼ tsf Chilli powder
- ½ Salt (may need more if not using tinned Chick Peas)
- 1 tsf Cumin powder
- ½ tsf Black pepper corns
- 10 Cloves
- 6 Black Cardamoms
- 2 inch Cinnamon
- 1/8 Nutmeg
- 2 Bay leaves
- ½ tsf Turmeric
- 1 tsf Garlic powder
- 1 pinch of Soda powder
- 2 teabags
- 4 tbsf Oil
- Grind cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves and nutmeg.
- Heat the oil in a wok.
- Add hing as soon as it starts to sizzle add the above ground cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves and nutmeg as well as turmeric, chilli powder, cumin and coriander powders. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add all the chick peas along with its water.
- Add the salt, tea bags and soda powder.
- Bring it to a boil, ensuring that it doesn’t spill over by continuously stirring.
- Lower the heat and cover the wok and let it cook for 1 1/2 hours intermittently stirring so that it doesn't catch at the bottom.
- Serve with Bhaturas or as a side dish with main meal.
Ingredients for the Bhatura recipe:
- 150 gms of plain yoghurt.
- 1/4 tsp baking powder or 1/4 tsp baking soda.
- 1½ cup (450 gm) White flour.
- 1 tsp Salt.
- 1 tsf Sugar.
- 1 tbsp butter.
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) warm water.
- 200 gms of Paneer crumbled.
- ghee or vegetable oil for deep frying.
- In a bowl mix yogurt, sugar, salt, flour, butter and baking powder into a dough and cover with a damp cloth and leave it in a warm place overnight.
- Next day the dough should be ready, just knead it again with hand so it becomes smooth. You may need to add a bit more flour if it is too soft.
- In a wok heat some oil for deep frying.
- Take a small amount of the dough shape it into golf ball shape and size.
- Flatten it and stuff a small amount of crumbled paneer and reshape back into a ball then roll it into a 6-7 inch circle. At the Pahar Ganj shop they do this step by hand.
- Put the flattened pancake in the deep fryer (ensure the oil is hot). Cook till the bhatura is slightly golden and puffed up.