Chole (Tangy Chickpeas With Tomatoes and Black Tea)
Chana masala, or chickpeas with spiced tomato gravy, has regional variations all over India; chole is a related, but specifically Punjabi, dish from northern India. It’s ubiquitous at snack shops and often served alongside bhatura, a puffed fried bread. While chole is traditionally made with dried chickpeas, canned chickpeas streamline cooking on a weeknight. Chole has numerous versions, but it is characterized by a rich, tangy flavor from black tea and amchur powder, which is made from green mango.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1 ½tablespoons kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 2teaspoons ground coriander
- 2teaspoons kashmiri chile or other mild red chile powder
- 1teaspoon ground cumin
- ½teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder)
- ½teaspoon fennel seeds
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼teaspoon plus 1 generous pinch of hing (asafetida)
- Pinch of ground cloves
- ¼to ½ teaspoon ground cayenne, depending on preference (optional)
- ¼cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, ghee or butter
- 1large onion, minced
- 1teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more if necessary
- 1tablespoon garlic paste or minced garlic
- 1tablespoon ginger paste or minced ginger
- 1to 2 inches peeled ginger root, cut into julienne
- 2bird’s eye green or red chiles, slit
- 1cup strong black tea
- 4(15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained, or 6 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1(15-ounce) can unflavored tomato sauce or tomato purée
- 1small bunch cilantro, leaves only, for serving (optional)
- Flatbread, such as bhatura, chapati, roti or naan, for serving (see Tip)
Step 1In a small bowl, combine the methi, coriander, chile powder, cumin, amchur, fennel seeds, cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon hing, cloves and cayenne, if using.
Step 2Warm ¼ cup oil, ghee or butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent and starting to brown, 10 minutes.
Step 3Reduce the heat to medium, add the ginger and garlic pastes and the green chiles, and stir to combine. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine into a fragrant paste, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the tea and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the chickpeas and tomato sauce. Let the mixture come to a bubble, then reduce the heat to maintain a very low simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced and slightly darkened in color and the flavors have mellowed slightly.
Step 4In a small saucepan or skillet, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, butter or ghee over medium-high heat. Add the julienned ginger and a generous pinch of hing, and cook, swirling the pan, until the ginger sizzles and the mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir the mixture into the chickpeas. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Top with cilantro and serve with flatbreads.