The moment I say North Indian food, all sorts of ghee-laden dishes would come up, crowding your mind. Indeed, that’s the case with the ever luscious North Indian platter. The cuisine here, is an exotic mix of rich, thick gravies that carries an interplay of different flavors that makes them all the more appealing.
These highly indulgent, mouth-watering cuisines are a favorite and a much-enjoyed food item across South Asia.
Consequently, one such rich dish that makes the North Indian food a must-have, is the savory Chholey Masala!
Personally, my earliest recollection of the dish are the days when my aunt would make these succulent and simmering, chhole masala along with hot puris. Chhole being tossed in the gravy, which was then bathed in garam masala, red chillies, cumin powder and other spices made this cuisine all the more appetizing.
So, I would ask her about this extremely magical dish, and what she told me and what is known to us all, is that chole masala comes straight from the kitchens of Punjab. It makes up a lavish dish there and is ideal for breakfast, lunch and even dinner.
My childhood memories (like other kids who grew up in North India), are very much imprinted by this delectable dish, full of pleasant aromatic experiences that lingers till today!
Chhole masala is a curried dish that is made up of chickpeas. You’d sometimes come across terms used for them such as Kadala Curry or Channay chaat, however, they are one and the same.
In Sikh history, chickpeas have been mentioned as it was said to be the favorite food of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, when he was small. During his birth, there was a kind queen, named Rani Maini who did not have children of her own.
It is said that she gradually grew so fond of Guru Gobind Singh ji, that she would prepare chole and puri for him and his playmates. She even made a gurudwara at her home, where she served chhole and puris to people. Making this dish, slowly became a custom and this tradition of distributing food is still followed in langars across the country to commemorate Rani’s devotion.
Such was the grandeur of this dish that made up special occasions all the more bright and even lightened up the simple days of those simpletons, who went by their dull, monotonous life as it is.
A look At Chole Masala Dish!
For making all the weddings and special occasions a complete hit, you have to have a choley masala dish on your platter. I recall vividly the time my aunt would call someone over, and how she'd move around the whole house in great hustle-bustle, until chhole masala was cooked. That was the craze of this dish in our place.
So, to be precise a chholey masala dish is a combination of chickpeas along with onions, tomatoes and endless spices. First and foremost, the chhole or chana is kept in a deep bowl, filled with water for around 7-8 hours. Afterwards, they are strained in a strainer and kept aside for a while.
This is followed by pressure cooking the chhole along with a pinch of salt or cooking soda that gives them a light texture. However, this part is skipped sometimes, and chickpeas are cooked more with extra whistles.
Once the chickpeas are soft, oil is heated in a wok. Grated onions and cloves are added in the hot oil, and the onions are fried till the raw smell gets over. Next goes ginger- garlic paste and tomato puree, which again is cooked till the raw smell goes.
Chhole masala, red chilli powder, paprika powder, cumin powder, salt are added at this stage, along with the soaked chole, which is then cooked for about 2-3 minutes. Water is added now, and everything is left simmering for some time.
When the dish gets ready, it is tempered with garam masala, kasuri methi and chopped coriander leaves.
The last step? Well, I don't need to tell you because I’m pretty sure, once the chole masala is ready, you won’t wait for a second and would just go for it!
Major Health Benefits!
The humble dish, chhole masala is blessed not only with a heavenly taste but far greater health benefits. These subtle advantages that they hold within, if duly taken notice of can help achieve various health goals that we all are unable to attain.
One of the major benefits of this wonder cuisine is that it keeps a check on sudden surge in blood sugar levels. It contains starch which slows down the blood sugar levels and hence, leads to a healthy lifestyle.
Well, are you dealing with the problem of eating food ‘sin parar’ ?This happens precisely because you only keep on consuming food which is just sugared and nothing more.
But this problem can be solved to a greater extent, when you have chickpeas, as they are powerhouse of fibres. This will make your stomach feel full, and hence, would stop you from having more of the food items, unnecessarily. It even helps in improving lipid profile and glycemic control.
Protein, a crucial element required for stronger bones, cell building and haemoglobin is found abundantly in chole and thus, it is very helpful for one’s healthy growth.
They are also said to be an excellent caretaker of the heart as they reduce the absorption of cholesterol. Not only this, the presence of zinc in chole helps in the metabolism of glucides and proteins and lowers the instances of constipation related problems.
And the benefit list goes on. So, just remember !
The next time you have a function at your place, just make these extra-luscious, delectable cuisine to not only make your event come alive but also to keep your health in check!
Surely, chickpeas along with its rich gravy help cater any occasion in the best way possible. These extremely delicious chhole masala, spice up the whole event and even serve as a last minute recourse to all ill-timed guests we’ve come across one time or the other. The easy to make and quick dish, though a delicacy of Punjab, is now a legacy owned by the whole country.
Doubtlessly, this super delicious cuisine holds much more within than what we’ve known or ever wanted to know. But there it is, and has always been, waiting and wanting us to explore.