500 gms chickpeas, soaked overnight in water
2 medium-sized onions, blended into a paste
3 medium-sized tomatoes
4-5 garlic cloves, pound in a mortar and pestle
1-inch ginger pound in a mortar and pestle
1 black cardamom
2 tsp fennel seeds
¼ inch nutmeg
2 tsp cumin seeds
3 to 4 cloves
1-inch cinnamon stick
2 tbsp garam masala, can be store-brought
½ tsp turmeric powder
3 to 4 tbsp mustard oil
¼ tsp amchur or dry mango powder or ½ tsp anardaana or dried pomegranate seeds
1 black tea bag, non-stapled one
Salt to taste
5 slit green chillies (optional)
¼ tsp red chilli powder (optional)
1. Soak chickpeas in water overnight, at least for 8 to 10 hours at room temperature
2. Pound the garlic and ginger and keep it aside. I like to pound them instead of blending because this helps retain the natural oils released.
3. Heat a pan, add mustard oil and heat it. Mustard oil has a high heating point and needs to be heated well to remove the raw smell. Heat it on medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Now, add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for about 1 minute on medium-high heat.
5. Then add the onion paste and sauté until it turns slightly golden in colour.
6. Next, add the tomato paste and mix them well. At this point, add ½ tsp turmeric powder and salt. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes until the oil begins to separate.
To boil chickpeas
1. Drain the water in which the chickpeas were soaked overnight. Wash and rinse the chickpeas.
2. In a pressure cooker, add the chickpeas and fill them with 4 cups of water or until the chickpeas are submerged in water. Add one black cardamom and a teabag. Do not worry; the tea leaves do not lend any taste to the chole. They only turn the chole to dark brown in colour. I use it for colouring purposes. Alternatively, you can make a muslin bag cloth, tie 2 teaspoons of loose tea in a small muslin cloth and put it in the pressure cooker.
3. Add salt to taste.
4. Pressure cook for 3 whistles on medium-high heat. Turn off the heat and keep the chole aside. You may remove the muslin cloth bag or tea bag at this point.
To dry roast the whole spices
Warm a pan and add cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon stick and roast on a medium flame for about 4 to 5 minutes. Then, put them in a blender to make a fine powder. Keep it aside.
To cook chickpeas
Add the onion-tomato paste to the chole and also the garam masala powder and ground spices powder.
Cover the pressure cooker with the lid and cook it for 1 whistle on low to medium heat. This step allows the chole to absorb the spices well. Once done, turn off the heat and add amchur powder. Anaardaana (dried pomegranate seeds) is commonly used, but I used amchur powder since I did not have it handy. They both add a slightly tangy flavour.
Note: Do not cook after adding amchur powder. You can also use a teaspoon of lemon juice instead.
Garnish with freshly chopped green coriander leaves and onions. Serve hot with puris (deep-fried Indian bread) or steamed basmati rice. Cooked chole masala is best served after 6 to 7 hours as the rest time allows all the spices to be absorbed well.
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