Main Courses, Vegetarian

Chole

Cooks in 4 Hours, 00 Minutes Difficulty Easy 1 comment
Savory, spicy, chole. Perfect for brunch, lunch, or dinner!

Puri Chole or chole bhature are so Punjabi that I feel like you’re back in Punjab with every bite I take.

No matter which part of India you go to you can find puri chole. The puri is chewy, crispy, and the perfect vehicle for chole. The beans themselves are a work of art. Savory, spicy, hearty, and a feast for the palate. I love puri chole with plain raita, sirke da pyaaz, followed by a cup of ginger tea, and an afternoon of shopping. After all, a girl needs her strength for such strenuous work.

Anyone that knows me would say that I’m more carnivore than omnivore but chole lays waste to that argument. Garbanzo beans are hearty and have a good chew to them unlike many beans which can be chalky in texture. Mix that with the onions, tomatoes, and aromatic spices, and it’s no shock that this dish leaves me full and satiated.

I’ve come across recipe after recipe that has a 45 minute cook time. The truth is that they can’t be made well in such a short amount of time. Think of chole as you would chili. Can I make chili in 45-60 minutes, sure, but it’s not going to result in anything fabulous. If you want really great chole take the time to make them properly. I make chole one of two ways: over mediumw heat on the stove on a Saturday when I’m lounging about the house, so that Sunday brunch will be a hit. Or in a slow cooker over night and the next day while I’m at work, so that when I get home dinner will be ready to go. That said, cooking this dish in a pressure cooker will speed it up quite a bit.

The most common mistake made when cooking chole is cooking them on a high heat the whole time to speed up evaporation, which defeats the purpose of slow cooking. You’re slow cooking the dish to stew the veggies and beans versus just trying to boil off the water asap. The other mistake is rushing the masala and having a burnt or bitter masala. I wish Indian food was as fast as some of my favorite Thai dishes are, sadly that’s not the case. Indian food requires precision, patience, and only gets better as you practice the art of layering flavors.

I prefer to use canned garbanzo beans to reduce the prep time and hassle, but you can easily use dried beans and soak them overnight. I also like to do the spoon test when I make this dish. What that means is that you just spoon a bit of the liquid into a normal spoon and look for rings. If the gravy is done it is homogeneous and thick. If the gravy isn’t done it separates, the masala sinks to the bottom and on the top is a layer of water and oil.

When I make chole I make a huge batch. It lasts in the fridge for up to a week, and is incredibly popular, so I use it as an excuse to invite company over. Plus, once I’ve done the heavy lifting of making the chole all I have to do is make fresh puri and raita when I decide to serve it. Most Indian meals are a multitude of dishes. A normal dinner is roti, sabji, daal, a meat dish, raita, salad, and a sweet dish – and that’s not considered a huge meal. What I love about puri chole is that that’s it. All you serve is puri chole with raita and pickles onions. It’s perfect! And what you need to put people into a blissful food coma. Lastly, I like to use the chole on chaat as well, gives it the perfect savory kick.

As a kid, I remember thinking that the lights in the kitchen never actually turned off. I watched as food was constantly being prepped for the next day. Meals started cooking hours and hours before they were served. It was normal to be served breakfast and then watch the household staff start working on lunch, dinner, and the next day’s treats. Sigh..it was a good life. Other than the chicken-orange whisky, that was awful, but that’s a story for another time. A time when I have plenty of mouthwash handy. I can’t think of the story without tasting that awful concoction from hell. Thank goodness blogs don’t have smell-o-vision, it would be unpleasant for all of us. With the lovely chole comes the smell of chicken-orange whisky.

Useless Fact #76: We don’t really use the term dessert in India, we use the term sweet dish. To top it off most people in Delhi and Punjabi don’t say “sweet dish” they mash it together so it sounds like “Swedish”. I think I was at least 10 before I figured out that we didn’t call dessert “Swedish”. 10 years of my life, wasted, assuming that Indians had a creepy love for the Swedes. I mean, they’re a lovely people, but to call them dessert…that’s just odd.

Chole

0 from 0 votes
Course: Main CoursesCuisine: PunjabiDifficulty: Easy
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

4

hours 
Total Time

4

hours 

15

minutes

Ingredients

  • 45 oz of garbanzo beans (just under 3 lbs)

  • 3 tbsp oil

  • 1 tsp black mustard seed

  • 3 tbsp whole cumin seed

  • 4 medium onions, chopped

  • 2 Indian bay leaves

  • 2 dried whole chilies

  • 4 tbs ginger, minced

  • 1 Serrano pepper, coarsely chopped

  • 1 tsp red chili flakes

  • 2 tbsp coriander seed, ground

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 6 tomatoes, chopped

  • 10 cups water

  • Salt to taste

Directions

  • Prep:
  • If you’re using canned beans rinse and set aside. If you’re using dry beans thoroughly wash and soak over night in a large bowl.
  • Masala:
  • In a large pot heat oil over medium heat.
  • Saute mustard seeds for 1 minute.
  • Saute cumin for 1 minute.
  • Saute onions until golden brown, approximately 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
  • Saute bay leaves and dried chilies for 1 minute.
  • Saute ginger and Serrano for 2 minutes.
  • Once your onions are golden brown add in chili flakes, ground coriander seed, and turmeric, saute for 1 minute.
  • Saute tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes have broken down and incorporated into the onions like a hodgepodge mix, approximately 10 minutes.
  • Make sure to consistently stir to avoid sticking. If your masala starts to stick add in small amounts of water to deglaze the pot.
  • Cook:
  • Mix in your garbanzo beans and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add in 8 cups of water, cover and cook on medium heat for 1 hour.
  • Stir in remaining water.
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cover and cook until homogeneous a slightly thin chili like texture. Approximately 2 hrs.
  • Serve:
  • Garnish and serve hot with puri, raita, and salad.

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Nutrition Facts

8 servings per container


  • Amount Per ServingCalories686
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 15.8g 25%
    • Saturated Fat 1.8g 9%
  • Sodium 59mg 3%
  • Potassium 1792mg 52%
  • Total Carbohydrate 108.9g 37%
    • Dietary Fiber 30.8g 124%
    • Sugars 22.1g
  • Protein 33g 66%

  • Calcium 17%
  • Iron 68%
  • Vitamin D 1%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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