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How to make Cholay? Chholay, Chole Chickpeas, Garbanzo beans

Cholay is a North Indian dish made from Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans in Untied States.

 

What type of Chickpeas are used?

In India, there are several varieties of Chickpeas. Only Kabuli Chana is used for these recipes. Kabuli Chana is named after a city in Afghanistan. These are white pearl color large chickpeas.

 

What are popular Cholay recipes?

There are three basic recipes. I have also added my version Cholay - Restaurant .

 

Pindi Cholay

This recipe is named after its place of origin, Rawalpindi. The final dish is whole black colored chickpeas that are fried in a mixture of spices. Basic characteristics follow:

1. Black color is result of powdered Amla (Indian Gooseberries) used during pre-soaking and cooking. Nowadays, it is common to use tea leaves.

2. The sour taste is derived from Anar-daana, Pomegranate seeds 

3. Almost dry, no gravy.

4.The Pindi Cholay are normally served with Basmati rice.

Cholay Pindi

 

Chikkar Cholay

This dish originated in Lahore. Chikkar in Punjabi means Mud. The beans are cooked till they start to crumble resulting in a gravy of mud like consistency. The whole beans are like pebbles being submerged in the mud. In reality, about 30% of the beans are crushed and added back in to give the muddy consistency.

1. The sour taste is derived from using Dahi (yogurt).

2. Thick gravy made with mashed cooked beans.

3. Yellowish color.

4. Served with Bhatura or deep fried Poori as a breakfast item.

Cholay - Chikkar

 

Amritsar Cholay

This dish originated in Amritsar.  Limited amount of gravy. The key is the softness of whole beans.

1. The sour taste is derived from dried raw sour mangoes (Amchoor).

2. Yellowish color.

3. Served with Bhatura or Naan.

Cholay - Amritsar

 

Pre-soaking and Par-cooking

Pre-soaking

In United States, you can buy canned Garbanzo or Chickpeas. The canned beans are not tender enough for these recipes and need to be cooked further. The canned beans are also presoaked before cooking by the manufacturers.

 

The dried beans must be soaked in plain water at room temperature for a minimum of eight hours or over night. The pre-soak water is always discarded.

How to presoak Garbanzo beans?

 

Par-cooking

Add a minimum of 3 cups of water to one cup of pre-soaked beans. Bring it to a boil and cook on medium heat for about an hour till the beans are tender.

Normally, no spices are added to this water. The exception is Pindi Cholay. Add Amla powder or tealeaves to the water to give the beans their unique black color.

Nowadays, it is common to cook beans in the pressure cooker at 15 PSI, for about 16 minutes with natural drop of pressure. The water is added submerging the beans and topping it by about 2".

 

Dominant Spices

Cumin seeds

Carom (Ajwain)

Cinnamon

Cloves

Black Pepper

Cayenne Pepper

Sea salt or un-iodized salt.

Whole Fenugreek seeds.

Dried Ginger (Saunth)

Fresh Ginger

Garlic

Onions

 

Turmeric powder and tomatoes are seldom used.

Souring agents such as Anar-daana and Dry sour mango powder (Amchoor) are commonly used. Lime, lemon, and tamarind are not common.

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