All of us grow up eating certain foods that remind us of the culture and region that we grow up in. For a Punjabi, it is a steady diet of Ghee or Butter laden Paranthas of every kind, Rajma, Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani, and Choley Bhature with some Lassi.
This week I decided I will make Choley Bhature which is a dish I absolutely love as it brings back some fond memories. During school holidays when we went to Delhi my aunty who lived in Pahad ganj would treat us to these amazing Choley Bhature from a popular shop called Sitaram.
Bhature is puffed flour puris and Choley is a tangy Chickpea gravy. The combination of the hot fluffy Bhatures and the chickpea gravy works really well. I reserve making this for special occasions or for weekends only. Not because it is hard to make but because it is a heavy dish and you cannot do much after eating it.
This dish requires prep work atleast a day in advance. Also, there are so many different ways to make it that it can scare a novice who wants to give it a try. As usual, I have tried the basic concept of easy and simple cooking. And because I did most of my preparation a day in advance the entire meal was ready in under an hour.
Ingredients for the Bhature
2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp fine Semolina ( sooji/ rawa)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Soda bicarbonate
3 tbsp Curd mixed with water to knead the dough
Mix all the ingredients together to make a smooth dough and leave it overnight or atleast 6 – 8 hours in a bowl covered with cling wrap to let the dough ferment.
The beauty of the Bhatura is the sourness that the Curd gives it. During summers leaving it for 2 - 3 hours should be ok.
For the Bhature:
Divide dough into 7 to 8 equal parts, and let the dough balls rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a Kadai/wok on medium-high heat. Oil should be sufficiently hot, if you drop a piece of dough into the oil it should come up briskly. That's when the oil is ready to fry the bhatura.
Roll each dough into a circle or oval shape, it should neither be too thick nor thin. Add the rolled bhatura to hot oil and press gently with a ladle, until it starts to puff. Fry both sides until brown.
Transfer to tissue paper to drain oil. Serve bhatura with chole! Serve them with the Choley and some thinly sliced Onions, Lemon wedges, and maybe some mixed pickles. The way the Bhature soaks up the tangy gravy is amazing. The only way you can know the taste is by actually making this dish.
Ingredients for the Gravy
2 medium-sized Onions
2 – 3 medium-sized Tomatoes
2 -3 Green Chilies
Freshly Chopped Green Coriander
2 tsp Cumin seeds
2 tsp Red Chilli powder
1 1/2 Anardana powder (dried Pomegranate) or Chaat masala or Amchur powder (dried Mango powder)
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tsp Garam Masala powder
4 -5 Cloves
2 tsp Coriander seeds
2 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
Salt to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
For the chickpea gravy:
Soak 2 cups of white chickpeas for 6-8 hours in water with 1 tsp salt. With 1 big Elaichi (Black Cardamom pod)
You can soak them overnight if you wish and boil them the next morning.
Some also like to add one black tea bag or two dried Amla (Indian gooseberry) to give the Chickpeas a dark color. I skipped this because I did not have them in my pantry.
Boil the Chickpeas in some water till done. If you are using a Pressure cooker give it 8- 9 whistles.
To the oil in a Pan and add the Bay leaves chopped Onions, Green Chilies, and Saute. Now add the Tomatoes that are blanched in hot water and Ginger Garlic paste to this mixture.
Turn the heat off once the oil starts to separate and grind the masala into a fine paste.
Transfer the contents into the same pan and add the Chickpeas to the masala.
Add all the dry powders and mix well.
Add 1 - 2 cups of water and let the Chickpeas cook in that mixture for a minimum 20 minutes. Because we are eating them with Bhature we want the gravy to be a little dry. If you are serving it with rice you can increase the quantity of water.
Garnish with freshly chopped Coriander once done.
Your stomach might not thank you for such a heavy meal but your taste buds would be happy. My taste buds almost did the bhangra ..Balle Balle !!!!!