All of us grow up eating certain foods that remind us of our culture and region that we grow in. For a Punjabi it is a steady diet of Ghee or White Butter laden Paranthas of every kind, Rajma, Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani and Choley Bhature with some Lassi.
I am ashamed to say that I am a Punjabi who cannot make Paranthas so I resort to bullying the other Punjabi friends I know here in Perth to invite me to their house so I can have some amazing Paranthas in huge amounts.
Thankfully everything else I can make. This week I decided I will make Choley Bhature which is a dish I absolutely love as it brings back some fond memories. During school holidays when we went to Delhi my aunty who lived in Pahad ganj would treat us to these amazing Choley Bhature from Sitaram. I still dream about those days when getting fat was not scary at all.
Bhature is puffed flour puris and Choley is a tangy Chickpea gravy. The combination of the hot fluffy Bhatures and the chickpea gravy works really well. I reserve making this for special occasions or for weekends only. Not because it is hard to make but because it is heavy dish and you cannot do much after eating it.
This dish requires prep work atleast a day in advance. Also there are so many different ways to make it that it can scare a novice who wants to give it a try. As usual I have tried the basic concept of easy and simple cooking. And because I did most of my preparation a day in advance the entire meal was ready under an hour.
For the chickpea gravy:
Soak 3 cups white chickpeas for 6-8 hours in water with 1 big Elaichi (Black Cardamom pod)
You can soak them overnight if you wish and boil them the next morning. I soaked them in the morning before I left for work so I could finish most of the stuff on the same day.
Some people also like to add 1 black tea bag or 1 dried Amla (Indian gooseberry) to give the Chickpeas a dark colour. I skipped this because I did not have them in my pantry.
For the Bhature ( made 14 Bhature )
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp fine Semolina ( sooji/ rawa)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Soda bicarbonate
2 tbsp Curd mixed with water to knead the dough
Mix all the ingredients together and leave them overnight or 6 – 8 hours in a bowl covered with cling wrap to let the dough rise and ferment. The beauty of the Bhatura is the sourness that the Curd gives it.
Ingredients for the Gravy:
2 medium sized Onions finely sliced
2 – 3 medium sized Tomatoes
2 -3 Green Chillies
freshly Chopped Green Coriander
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
1 1/2 Anardana powder ( dried Pomegranate) OR Chat masala OR Amchur powder (dried Mango powder)
2 Bay Leaves
7 – 8 Cardamoms
1 stick of Cinnamon
8 black Peppers
2 tsp Caraway seeds
2 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil to saute the Onions
Boil the Chickpeas in some water till half cooked. If you are using a Pressure cooker give it around 10 – 12 whistles. Throw that water away (I used to use the water then read an article about that water can be harmful so have started to throw the water in which I boil any types of beans/pulses)
In another pan add the Coriander seeds, Cloves, Cardamoms, Cinnamon Stick, Bay leaves, Peppers and Carraway seeds seeds and dry roast them. Transfer them in a mixer and grind them into fine powder. The aroma of the dry roast is intoxicating.
Add oil in a Pan and add the Cumin seeds, Ginger garlic paste and chopped Onions and saute till translucent and the raw smell has gone.
Blanche the Tomatoes in hot water and puree them with the green chillies.
Add the dry spice mix in the Onions, red chilli powder and a little Salt. Once the oil starts to seperate, add the Tomato puree and cook till the oil starts to leave the pan.
Add the Chickpeas and cook on a low flame for 30 minutes. Because we are eating them with Bhature don’t add a lot of water. The gravy has to be a little dry. If you are serving it with rice you can increase the quantity of water.
Garnish with freshly chopped Coriander once done.
For the Bhature.
Using the dough – roll out small disc shaped or elongated shaped Puris .
You can use some dry flour while rolling the dough to ensure it doesn’t stick to the surface. Now fry these discs in really hot oil.
Leave them on a tissue paper so the excess oil drains out. Serve them with the Choley and some thinly sliced Onions, Lemon wedges and maybe some mixed pickle. The way the Bhature soak up the tangy gravy is amazing. The only way you can know the taste is by actually making this dish.
Your stomach might not thank you for such a heavy meal but your taste buds would be happy. My taste buds almost did a bhangra ..Balle Balle !!!!!