Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chole or Chana Masala

Chole means chickpeas in Hindi, but it is also the name of the very popular chickpea stew that is served all over India. Some people also call it 'chana masala'.

The way my mom has always made it is with a lot of tomatoes, more than one would find in restaurants. And we just love it that way. My sister even adds tomato paste, and I must say I love hers the best. It's a family favorite, this one. And it's especially good with proper pav -- soft bread roll -- and that's how it's traditionally served in India. 

We were having guests over a few days ago, so it was the perfect excuse to make my own pav, and it came out amazingly soft (my dad would be proud).  The whole meal is so easy and such a treat!

Serves 4

3 tbs canola oil
300g (2 large) onions, diced
1 tbs garlic, grated
1 tbs ginger, grated
1 - 2 serrano chilies, chopped finely
400g (14 oz) tetra packed chopped tomatoes
460g / 3 cups / 16 oz cooked chickpeas
Fresh cilantro, for garnishing
Sliced red onion and lemon, also for garnishing

1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbs chole/chana masala powder

If you don't have chole masala:
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala

1. In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil and brown the onions, stirring occasionally. Then add garlic, ginger, chilies and all the spices. Cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes and cook for 7 - 10 minutes, until most of the water from the tomatoes have evaporated. 

2. Add the chickpeas to the tomato mixture, along with salt and around 1 cup of water, depending on how thick or thin you like it. Cover and cook for 7 - 10 minutes, until thick and no longer watery. If too watery, mash some of the chickpeas, as they thicken the gravy nicely.

3. Garnish with red onion, cilantro and lemon. Enjoy with pav or any other kind of bread. 

Makes 12 rolls

5 cups (675g) all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tbs sugar
2 cups (425g) warm water
3 tbs canola oil
1 tsp salt
Butter for the tops of the buns

1. In a large bowl, proof yeast with warm water and sugar until active and bubbly, about 3 - 5 minutes.

2. Add the flour, salt and oil and knead until smooth and elastic, about 7 - 10 minutes. Cover with a tea towel and keep in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. 

3. Grease a large dish or a sheet pan with oil. Carefully divide the dough into 12 balls. Place 1/2 inch apart in the dish. Cover with a tea towel and proof for 45 minutes. 

4. Preheat oven to 200C or 400F. Once warm, bake rolls for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden. A digital thermometer inserted in the center should read at least 97C. Immediately rub the butter over the tops of the buns. Cool for 15 - 20 minutes before eating. 

Notes: This bread is deliciously soft on the first day, but slightly less soft the next day, so try to enjoy on the day it's made. 


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Ashley, if you click "read more," you'll see the recipe! Let me know how it turns out!



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