Channa Masala also called chole, is one of the most popular dishes in northern India. I remember it was my ma's favorite dish to make when we had friends for dinner or a picnic planned.
Time: Overnight (soak beans), plus 35 minutes with a pressure cooker, or 1 hour without.
2 c. dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 - 2 bay leaves
1/2 onion chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
4 - 5 Tbsp. fresh pomegranate seeds
1/2 Tbs. garam masala
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
4 - 5 c. water
salt to taste
I make it just how I remember my ma making it, the garbanzo beans we usually got from an Indian grocery store. Soak around 2 cups of the beans overnight, so it's tender in the morning and easy to cook.
An Indian household will not survive without a pressure cooker. :) It's common to cook all the lentils, and curries in a pressure cooker. If you are walking the streets of an Indian residential neighborhood, the chances are you will hear the whistle of a pressure cooker.
So back to the chole! Next day, I drain the soaking liquid from the garbanzo beans and rinse. I add place the garbanzo beans in the pressure cooker with 4 cups of water (a ratio of 2:1, water to beans). I pressure cook this for maybe for 1-2 whistles (about 10 minutes). Set aside. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can let it boil in a pan for 30-45 minutes till it's tender and feels done! (test it with a fork)
In a separate pan or skillet, heat the oil on medium-high and add some bay leaves and cumin seeds, then add onions and sauté until translucent. Add minced garlic (2-3 cloves). As the onion turns golden, add the tomatoes, green bell pepper (one full chopped) and pomegranate seeds (4-5 spoons).
Bring vegetables to a simmer, then cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add the garbanzo beans with their liquid, this should be moist and stew-like, but not soupy; add a little more water, if needed.
Last- add the secret ingredient to all the Indian curries- Garam Masala!
My favorite brand is MDH, you can find it at most Indian grocery stores. You will need 1/2 tablespoon of Garam Masala, add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, salt to taste, and 1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder.
Let it all simmer for 10 minutes or so, keep stirring and add water as needed, I like mine less soupy!
Stir in the cilantro, serve on its own in shallow bowls or over a hot cooked grain like quinoa or rice. Yogurt on the side is perfect for completing the meal.
Here are some photos of the process:
Soaked beans ready for pressure cooker.
Beans in the pressure cooker.
Bay leaves, onion, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds.
Sautéed Onion, add tomatoes (2 tomatoes).
Green capsicum- 1/2 if it's a big size, pomegranate seeds.
Add garbanzo beans to the mixture and add water as needed.
MDH-the Garam masala brand
Add garam masala, salt, turmeric, coriander powder.
Let it simmer.
Just how I like it! let me know if you try the recipe and have any questions.
Deepali and Nanu