Pindi Chhole (Dry / Sukhe)

I love chhole, and this dry one is among my favourites. Since my daughter prefers this one, and my son this one, I alternate between the two. 'Pindi chhole' as the name indicates is a native of Rawalpindi in Pakistan. The punch in this recipe is due to the use of roasted and powdered 'anardana' (Dried pomegranate seeds), and 'jeera' (Cumin seeds). The anardana add a tinge of sweetness along with the much loved 'khathai' or slight sourness, and I prefer this to the use of amchoor (Dried mango powder). The other difference is that pindi chhole has a dark, almost blackish colour due to the addition of a tea bag while cooking the chickpeas or garbanzo beans. It also adds a subtle flavour to the chhole.

Note: The original recipe is generous with the use of whole spices such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and dried mango powder, but I use only 1 or 2 of each depending on availability. I do not use mango powder at all as I prefer the perky flavour of pomegranate seeds.

Pindi Chhole or Chana Pindi
(Chickpeas - Rawalpindi style)

2.5 tbsp - pomegranate seeds / anardana
2 tbsp - cumin seeds / jeera
4 cups - chickpeas / garbanzo beans / kabuli chane - soaked overnight, drained.
2 tbsps. - coriander powder / dhania
1 tsp. - red chilli pwd.
1 tbsp - roasted spiced garlic flakes / grated garlic

2 - green chillies slit
15g - ginger julienned
1/4 cup - vegetable oil
2 medium - onion chopped fine
2 medium - tomatoes chopped fine
1 lemon - cut into wedges
3 tbsps - coriander leaves chopped
1 tbsp - tea leaves tied in a small clean white muslin cloth.

1. Wash the drained chickpeas and cook for 4 whistles in the cooker with enough water alongwith the tea bag. Cook for another 5 minutes on reduced fire and remove. Set aside for the cooker to cool off. Discard the tea bag, and reserve the liquid, and chana.

2. Dry roast anardana and jeera and pound the mixture coarsely. Set aside.

3. Heat oil. Add the onions and fry till transparent. Add the anardana - jeera mix and fry till the onion turns black and the mixture dry.

4. Add chilli powder, spiced or plain grated garlic, salt, a pinch of turmeric, and coriander powder. Add the tomatoes and fry mashing the mixture with the back of a ladle or a pav bhaji masher.

5. Add the chickpeas alongwith the liquid and cook till the liquid evaporates, mixing occasionally.

6. Remove from fire and mix the ginger. Squeeze a little lime if you would like it tangier. Adjust seasonings to suit your taste. This is a medium spicy serving, and the green chillies are only for the garnish.

Garnish with lemon wedges, slit green chillies and coriander and serve. This dry chhole serves as a good starter if taken in small helpings with drinks. Tastes yummy with rotis/parathas.

Related entries:
Akbari chhole

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