The best Choley, also known as Channa Masala, is found in the busy dhabas around Amritsar’s beautiful Golden Temple. Here, this quintessential Punjabi dish is ladled up alongside fluffy bhaturas with enough oil to give any cardiologist a heart attack, but swap the bhaturas for brown rice if you’re feeling virtuous.
For Choley/Channa Masala:
1 cup Chickpeas/White Channa, soak in water overnight
4 Onions, chopped fine
1 tbsp Garlic, chopped fine
1tbsp Ginger, chopped fine
4 Tomatoes, chopped fine
2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Cumin Seeds/Sabut Jeera
1 Black Cardamom
1 small stick of Cinnamon
½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Coriander Seeds Ground/Dhania Powder
1 tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves/Kasoori Methi, crushed
2 tbsp Ground Cumin Seeds/Jeera Powder, roasted in a pan
3 tbsp Dried Pomegranate Seeds/Anardana
2 tbsp Ghee
Chaat Masala, to taste
4 cups Flour/Maida
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp Salt
2 cups Curd/Yogurt
½ cup Milk
Oil for deep frying
Pour the chickpeas and the water they’ve been soaking in into a pressure cooker. Add __ cups more of water and salt, and cook in the pressure cooker for 45 minutes.
Heat the ghee and add garam masala, cumin and garlic.
When garlic starts to brown, add the ginger and onion and let the mixture brown before adding the chopped tomatoes.
Cook this mixture until it starts to brown and leave oil, then add the chilli powder, salt and dhania powder.
Strain the chanas, reserving the water in which they were cooked.
Add the chanas to the tomato mixture and mix well. Give 2-3 boils.
Add kasoori methi and then add the roasted jeera powder little by little, until the mixture starts to turn a deep-mustard/brown.
Then add water according to your preference for how much gravy you want. If you want a darker colour and stronger flavour add more jeera powder, but cautiously.
Give 3-4 boils.
In a pan, add the anardana and ¾ cup water. Boil, sieve and pour into the channas. You do not need to pour the full amount - pour in small increments, mixing and tasting after each interval.
Once you have added the anardana water to the channas, lower heat and let this mixture simmer for about 10 minutes.
Pour into a serving dish. Top with some sliced onions, tomatoes and green chillies before sprinkling with chaat masala.
Sieve maida, baking powder and salt. Knead in curd until well-combined. Then add milk and knead again.
Finally, add the ghee and knead vigorously for 10-15 minutes until dough forms.
Shape the dough into a ball and put into a big bowl.
Pat with ghee, cover with a muslin cloth and put in the sun for 2-3 hours.
When ready to fry the bhaturas, pour the oil into a karahi and heat.
Prepare the bhaturas while the oil heats. Break off small pieces of the dough and form into small balls before rolling these out into a flat, chappati-like shape with a rolling-pin.
Check if the oil is ready by dropping a small piece of dough into the karahi. It should sizzle and immediately rise to the surface. If it does not then let the oil heat a little more.
Once the oil is ready, drop in the bhaturas one at a time, flipping over until beautifully golden on each side.
Serve hot with the channas.