Last year a packed trip to Old Delhi resulted in eating copious quantities of Halwa puri cholay in the sweltering heat of the city for breakfast. I was hooked! All washed down with glasses of refreshing salted lassi. I always find the need to do my visits to India full justice where food is concern!
An Indian breakfast in my mind is always worth waking up in the mornings for. So later in the year during my trip to Mumbai I found myself devouring into Khatte Chole; lightly spiced chickpea curry with delicious bhaturas/ Indian fried bread. This home style tangy stew like dish was cooked at my friends place with piping hot bhaturas. How could anyone resist the aroma of the chole at 9am before heading to the markets to source out local produce.
The stew was light and had a slight tang to it with the heat from the chillies. Dipping the bhatura in the curry every mouthful was moreish. There was also an onion salad and boondi raita to cool down the heat from the dish. After a discussion of the variety of chickpea curries Sunaina aunty let me in on her recipe. A simple recipe but yet so very delicious. It’s an everyday dish and one that is full of flavour. She adds mango powder or Amchoor which lends a sharp tangy flavour to the curry. Indian food is a balance of flavours so chilli, cumin and mango powder all bring together the required heat, warmth and piquant addition to the resultant dish.
I have tried on a few occasions to recreate her version of Khatte Chole and has been an absolute winner! If you are going to eat this, you must do with bhaturas although I also love serving them with puris. Who says breakfast is boring?
Soak the dried chickpeas in plenty of water overnight. Drain them and place in a saucepan with fresh water (about 1.5litres). Bring to a boil, simmer and cook for 1 ½ hours until they are tender.
Drain the chickpeas and reserve 800 mls of cooking liquid aside. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Fry the onions on a medium heat for 5-7 minutes. As they begin to soften and change colour add the whole cardamom pods. Fry for a minute and now add crushed garlic and the ginger. Fry for 20 seconds and add the powdered spices. Stir well and fry the spices for 5-6 seconds as they release their aroma
Add a splash of water if the spices begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. Tip in the tomato and fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes, they will begin to soften. Mash them lightly with the back of the spoon. Add the boiled chickpeas and fry for 4-5 minutes as the masala coats them. Now add the reserved liquid stir well and bring to a boil.
Simmer and cook with the lid on 20-25 minutes. Stir half way through cooking and mash some of the chickpeas lightly with the back of the spoon to thicken the gravy. Garnish with fresh coriander, chillies if using, sliced onions and a sprinkle of cumin powder. Serve warm with puris.