This week, my posts will be dedicated to Delhi, the city which I call “home”. I relocated to the National Capital in the summer of 2008, when I landed a job in a newspaper office in ITO. Delhi, I must tell you, doesn’t make you feel at home instantly. But trust me, once you have lived here for a year or so, you don’t want to go away. It was the same with me. I lived alone. Knew hardly anyone except my office colleagues. Worked erratic hours that left me with no time to socialize. In short, I felt lost in this big, strange city. I had just about packed my bags to go back to Kolkata when, all of a sudden, my life changed. I fell in love. First with Harsh. Then with the city. Eventually, Harsh and I got married and thus, Delhi became my “home”. He used to take me to unexplored places around the city on our dates and tell me about Delhi and its ways. Sometimes we would visit Paranthe Waali Gali in Chandni Chowk, and sometimes we would explore the narrow lanes of Paharganj. So Chhole Bhature and Chaats played an important role in my love story. Both with Harsh and with Delhi. I’ll begin my tribute to Delhi with Paharganj style Chhole Bhature. Here’s the recipe:
250 grams Chickpeas (Kabuli Chana) (washed and soaked overnight)
1 large potato
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom
1 large onion (grated)
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1 medium tomato (pureed)
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2+1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2+1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon Kasoori Methi powder
1/4 teaspoon+a pinch Garam Masala powder
2 tablespoons ready made Chhole Masala
1+1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri Laal Mirch powder
1+1/4 teaspoon Anardana powder (or amchoor powder)
Salt (to taste)
3 tablespoons refined oil
1 teaspoon ghee
2 cups refined flour (maida)
1/2 cup semolina (sooji)
2 tablespoons yoghurt
1 sachet fruit salt
2 tablespoons oil
100 ml warm water
1 teaspoon salt
Oil (to deep fry)
Put the soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker and add about a litre of water. Put salt, teabags, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black cardamom and cloves, place the lid and pressure cook till the chickpeas are soft. Discard the tea bags and the whole garam masalas. You will see that your chickpeas have got a nice, dark color. Retain the stock.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a pan and add asafoetida and cumin seeds. Fry till they turn light brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute. Then add the grated onion and cook till it turns translucent. At this point, mix in the pureed tomato and fry till oil separates. Remove a tablespoon of this paste and keep aside for preparing the potatoes. Add cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, chhole masala, Kashmiri laal mirch powder and kasoori methi powder to the pan and mix well. Add the chickpeas along with the stock and stir to mix it with the spices. Cook on high flame and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Let the Chhole simmer on low heat and cook till the water reduces. Now, check for salt and add some more if need be. Add anardana powder and mix well.
To prepare the potatoes, peel and cut a large potato into 4 quarters. Put these in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from water and let cool. Pierce each quarter with a fork and deep fry on low heat till the pieces are golden from outside and well cooked inside.
Now in a separate pan, heat half a teaspoon of oil and add the tomato-onion paste that we have kept separately. Mix in 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder, 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder, a pinch of garam masala powder, 1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri laal mirch powder and salt to taste. Mix well. Stir in the potato pieces and let the masala coat them. Add a cup of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer till the spices have been absorbed by the potatoes and the water has dried up. Add 1/4 teaspoon of amchoor and mix well. Sprinkle some finely chopped coriander leaves on the potatoes and keep aside.
Spiced potatoes are an important part of Delhi-style Chhole, so be patient while you are cooking them.
Transfer the Chhole to a serving dish and place the potato quarters on top. Drizzle a teaspoon of ghee over it. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with Bhature.
To make the Bhature, take 1/2 cup semolina in a bowl. Add yoghurt and fruit salt and whisk well. Leave aside for 5 mins. This step is for quick fermentation.
In a separate bowl, combine together refined flour, salt and oil. Add the semolina-yoghurt mixture and mix well. Add water as required and knead into a soft dough. Coat with a teaspoon of oil and keep in a warm place to rise for 15 mins.
Divide the dough into balls and roll out into 1/4 inch thick circles. Deep fry in hot oil till fluffy and golden on both sides. Your Bhatura should look like this from inside
Serve hot with Chhole, sliced onions and pickles.
Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂