Akbari Chhole

Why Akbari, not Jahangiri? Well the book has got Jahangiri Chhole, Sultana Chhole and more Mughals prefixed to chhole! Whatever the style – my husband gives it an ungainly epithet – ‘bofors’ (I know thats tasteless but you guessed why!!). A nutritionist friend of mine suggests that repeating the process of soaking and changing the water twice in between, and using fresh water for cooking pulses almost eliminates the gaseous content in any kind of pulses.

I generally make chhole by habit and not actually following a book or a recipe. But, I am blogging – and trying to get the measurements scrupulously correct. I had purchased this chaste Hindi recipe book some years back – it is a pleasure to read – complete with Lucknowi adab, and tehzeeb!   (For those not familiar with India – Lucknow is a city in Uttar Pradesh, famous for its Nawabi culture, people who mind their ‘Ps’ and ‘Qs’, and the beautiful rhythm and lilt in the Hindi spoken there) .

The book is titled “daalen aur kadian” (Pulses and kadhis/curd based gravies) , is authored by Sudha Mathur, and published by Pustak Mahal for those interested. The pictures aren’t great but you cannot resist making a recipe when you read the way its been written!

This time the chhole was made self-consciously, each condiment being counted and thrown in precisely as the book said it should! I did not have paneer and was not in mood to go about making it – so that’s missing – other wise I have more or less made an effort to stick to the recipe.

This is how it goes. Shall try and do justice to the way the book is written!

Recipe: Akbari Chhole

Ingredients: (Samagri)

Kabuli chana / Chickpeas – 1 and 1/2 cup
Chana dal / Bengal gram – 1 cup (I used only 1/2)
Soda-bi-carb – 1/4 tsp. (I did not use it)
Salt – to taste
Red chilli powder – 3/4 tsp.
Tea leaves – 2tbsp.
Dry ground Dhania / Coriander – 2tsp.
Onion – 1 big
Ginger – 1/2″ (I am a little generous with this one – 1″)
Garlic – 3-4 pods (I used 2)
Green cardamom – 4 (me 2)

Black cardamom – 3 (me 1)
Bay leaves – 3 to 4
Tomato – 1 big
Potato – 1 big
Green chillies – 3 – 4 (me 1)
Finely chopped coriander leaves – for garnish
Tamarind extract – 1/2 cup
Oil – 2tbsp.
Kala namak/black salt – 1tbsp.(me-1tsp.)

Tie the tea leaves in a clean muslin cloth. Put it along with the drained chhole, soda,salt, chana and fresh water and cook in a pressure cooker for 4 whistles. Reduce flame and cook further for 15minutes and put off fire.

Grind the onion,ginger and garlic into a fine paste.

Heat a tbsp. of oil and fry the whole spices. Add the paste and fry till pink.

Add the dry coriander powder, red chilli powder, roughly chopped tomatoes and some of the liquid from the boiled and cooled chhole.

Cook till the moisture evaporates. Add the boiled chhole and chana and cook on low heat.

Pour the tamarind extract and black salt and mix well. It should be a thick gravy.

Fry the potato wedges (I m/wd them). Add to the chhole and mix. Garnish with green chillies and coriander. If you like it tangy, squeeze half a lime over it.

Serve with toasted bread, bhaturas, naans, kulchas or pulao.

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Have your say

  1. Love that first pic…

  2. This looks so delicious. I love chickpeas, and your pics have left me quite hungry.

  3. Wow.. Very well explained step by step.. Akbari chhole..
    Mouth watering pic too :P!!
    nice blog dear !! Bookmarked :)!!

  4. Jayashree – you and Jayasree of my experiments in Kailas kitchen remind me of Thomson and Thompson of Tintin ;). Thanks!

    Vegeyum, Arcy – thank you both!

  5. Loved the detailed, step by step explaination. Very tempting pictures

  6. Gimme any gravy based on Chole I would devour whole heartedly :)…Lovely step by tep instructions 🙂
    Welcome to my blog! 🙂

  7. Thanks, Jayasree and Bharathy! Yes, chhole is my fav. too esp. with toasted bread!

  8. Which thokku did you refer??the tomato-garlic one with the karikku dosa or the vengaya thokku??
    Yes I heard the grand sweets ppl sell all the thokku items..should get one soon…:)
    Preparing thokku at home is a real pain,esp demanding more time and energy, spurts out while boiling leaving a mess as well!..:)..still the HOME MADE makes the real dif u see..
    Attempt only if you have patience..(bcoz I am losing this now a days n have decided not to fret anymore with these he he)

  9. hello sunshinemom, thanks for visiting my blog. oh my oh my you have a very nice blog here. You have a nice collection of recipes,nice photos & nice step by step instructions.

  10. Thanks Trupti for the appreciation! Boosts my resolve to try and post as many recipes as days of the month!

    Bharathy, I left a comment in reply – hope you saw it. I make thakkali thokku like my mom. Only wanted to know how much time vengayam takes! I suspected that it will take time, and as you said – yes! homemade stuff makes a lot of difference!

  11. Awesome picture of Akbari chole!

  12. That is delicious! Tamarind in chhole is something new, something I am willing to try!

    cheers, ts
    The Spice Who Loved Me

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