Chole Bhature- The Popular Food Duo
Happy Vaisakhi my friends!
The best thing about Indian culture is that it is amalgamation of several cultures. We enjoy different celebrations at different times of the year which keeps us bonded to our roots. Holi was Hindu festival which we celebrated on 24th march and now it is Vaisakhi tomorrow. It has long been celebrated throughout Punjab as the Sikh New Year and spring harvest festival. This day also has religious significance, as it marks the anniversary of the establishment of the Khalsa Panth (the community of baptized Sikhs).
Sikhs around the world have brought the tradition of celebrating this auspicious day with Nagar Kirtan, more commonly referred to as a parade, to various cities. Vancouver and Surrey BC, host one of the largest parades in the world each year. Check one of my old post to see vaisakhi parade pictures.
Nagar Kirtan is a lively community celebration which differs from a traditional parade as it has a religious and sacred meaning attached to it. The Punjabi word, nagar means town and kirtan means singing of religious hymns. So Nagar Kirtan literally means going around the town singing sacred hymns.
The streets on Vaisakhi day are jam packed with people and there is lots to see–people wearing colorful traditional outfits (mostly saffron), beautiful music, bhangra and gidha (punajbi folk dances), turban tying contests, decorative floats, speeches from politicians, hymn singing , religious devotion and, above all, good food. Local residents and businesses set up tables on the street and graciously offer homemade food and drink to passersby. it’s a traditional part of the festivities. You can expect to find chole bhature, makki di roti, saag, fritters, sweets, shahi paneer, chaat, ice-cream, and an unlimited amount of dry food samples from mainstream stores.
Since this year’s parade is not happening in Vancouver until 16th of April, I wanted to cook something that has a Vaisakhi feel to it, so today I’m sharing a much loved punjabi meal called chole bhature. It is by far the most popular vegetarian food duo loved by people worldwide. And, It’s not tough to understand why. Chole bhature is a combination of spicy and tangy chickpeas (chole) with deep fried puffed bread called bhatura. There is something about the bhatura which makes it compliment only choley and nothing else. I guess chole (chickpeas) can be tried with any other side, but not bhature.
High in fiber and protein, chickpeas make for a great healthy meal with a salad or yogurt on the side. Of course, Bhature aren’t the healthiest bread but there’s nothing wrong in treating yourself to an awesome meal once in a while. Chickpeas are made in million different ways but punjabi chole are buttery in texture, and the gravy is thick and darker in color. The dark color is attributed by adding dried gooseberries or pomegranate skin or tea leaves. Dried gooseberry and pomegranate skin produces better color and taste results but since they are not available in the grocery markets everywhere hence tea leaves is the best alternative. You can add tea bags or tie loose tea leaves in a muslin cloth and throw them in while boiling chickpeas. This way they will take the color and flavor of the tea, so it’s best to stick with black tea.
Coming to Bhature, here is my gluten free version which has fetched me many complements. No, it probably wouldn’t win in a side-by-side taste test with original bhatura, but it does a fair job of coming close.My daughter says that I don’t have to make all-purpose flour bhature separately for them as the gluten free tastes wonderful. It is perfectly crispy on the outside and soft inside, a perfect bread for mopping up spicy and hearty chickpeas. if you haven’t tried this meal yet, go and try and I bet you’ll be hooked for life.
Don’t let the long ingredients list scare you we are making three things for a complete meal.
A popular combination of Punjabi chickpeas and puffed deep fried bread.
- 1 1/2 cup white chickpeas
- 1/4 cup Bengal gram daal (increase up 1/2 cup if you want the gravy to be of coating consistency and cook for 15 minutes before adding chickpeas)
- 1 two inch cinnamon stick
- 2 big black cardamom
- 5-6 cloves
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 2 tea bags
- 1 large onion, 3/4 cup ground
- 4-5 green chilies, chopped
- 30 g tamarind soaked in 1/4 cup water or anardana (pomegranate) powder as per your taste
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp. amchur powder (dry mango powder)
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp kasuri methi
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Bhature (recipe follows)
- carrot pickle (recipe follows)
- sliced onion
- ginger sticks
- 1/2 cup gluten free all-purpose flour ( I used white rice flour blend)
- 1/4 cup sorghum flour
- 1 tbsp. milk powder
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- Small pinch baking soda
- 1/2 tsp psyllum husk powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp.unflavored yogurt at room temperature
- 1/4 cup warm water (+/-)
- 1/2 tbsp. oil
- Oil for frying
- 2 carrots, scraped and cut into 1/4" thick and 2" long sticks (about 3 cups)
- 2 tbsp. oil
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp fennel powder
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- For punjabi chole rinse chickpeas and Bengal gram daal in a colander, soak overnight.
- Place the drained and soaked chickpeas in a pot or slow cooker (or pressure cooker) with sufficient water.
- Add black cardamom, cinnamon, salt, cloves and tea bags or tea leaves wrapped tightly in a muslin cloth.
- Bring it to boil and cook on low until soft.
- Discard the tea bags, you can keep the black cardamom and cinnamon in the chickpeas.
- In a large pan heat oil. Add ground onions, cook until golden brown.
- Add ginger garlic paste and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Squeeze the tamarind gently by hand. You may have to scrape the tamarind pulp off from your fingers and add more water if the need be. Discard the squeezed out tamarind.
- Stir in tamarind juice, sugar and all the spices. Cook until oil glistens on top (about 5 min).
- Add boiled chickpeas. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, then reduce to low and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until thickened.
- Stir in chopped green chilies.
- Serve with the above suggested sides. .
- To make Bhature place all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.
- Add yogurt and oil. Use your fingers to rub the ingredients thoroughly together until crumbly.
- Slowly work in a little of the warm water at a time to form a soft dough by light kneading.
- Cover the dough with a wet cloth. Keep it aside for an hour or so.
- While the dough is resting make carrot pickle.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a pan.
- Add the carrot sticks and salt and stir well.
- Cook covered for 5-6 minutes until they have lost their stiffness.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Use the pickle straight away or refrigerate for later use.
- It will keep in the fridge for one week.
- When you are ready to prepare the Bhatura’s, take out the dough from the moist napkin, divide into 3 equal portions and shape into balls.
- Take two pieces of plastic Place one piece of plastic on the rolling board, place your dough ball, dust with sorghum flour, place another piece of plastic on top.
- Roll dough ball into round or oval shape with a rolling pin. you can also flatten the dough ball with your fingers.
- When the oil is hot slide in the bhatura and press gently with perforated ladle so that bhatura puffs up. Flip it carefully and allow to cook for few seconds until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.
- Enjoy with chole!
When you fry the bhaturas, heat should be enough so that the bhatura is cooked properly and puffs like a ball and at the same time the heat should not be so much that the bhatura gets over fried.