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Chole masala

You'll need

500 gm (2½ cups) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water, drained 2 tbsp ghee 1 large onion, finely chopped 25 gm ginger (about 5cm), finely grated 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tsp garam masala 1 tsp ground chilli large vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped 2 tsp amchur powder (see note) 750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock or vegetable stock To serve: coarsely torn coriander and thinly shaved red shallots   Masala powder 1 cinnamon quill 4 cloves 1 tsp black peppercorns 3 cardamom pods 1 dried red chilli 1 fresh bay leaf 1 tbsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp ground turmeric   Kulcha 400 gm (2 2/3 cups) plain flour 1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 2½ tbsp ghee


  • 01
  • Combine chickpeas and enough cold water to cover generously in a saucepan (do not salt water), bring to the boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low and simmer until just tender (20-30 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  • 02
  • For masala powder, dry-roast whole spices and chilli until fragrant (40-50 seconds; see cook’s notes p210). Transfer to a mortar and pestle, add bay leaf and grind to a fine powder. Add ground spices and set aside.
  • 03
  • Heat ghee in a casserole over medium heat, add onion and stir occasionally until tender (10 minutes). Add ginger and garlic and stir until just tender (1 minute). Add garam masala, ground chilli and masala powder and stir until fragrant (1 minute). Add tomato and stir occasionally until tomato breaks down (3-4 minutes). Add amchur powder and chickpeas and stir well. Add stock, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas are tender (2 hours). Transfer 1 cup chickpea mixture to a food processor, pulse to a coarse purée, then return to pan, stir to combine and season to taste.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for kulcha, combine flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add 230ml water and a large pinch of salt and mix to combine. Turn onto a work surface and knead until a smooth soft dough forms. Place in a bowl, cover with a tea towel and set aside to rest (20 minutes). Divide into 10 balls, then working with one at a time, rub with ½ tsp ghee and stretch into a 12cm-diameter round. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add ½ tsp ghee and kulcha, fry until golden and puffed (2-3 minutes), then turn and fry until cooked through (1-2 minutes). Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with remaining ghee and kulcha.
  • 05
  • Top chole masala with coriander and shallot and serve with kulcha.
Note Amchur powder is made from dried green mango and has a lovely sour taste. It’s available from Fiji Market, Herbie’s Spices and other spice shops; if it’s unavailable, substitute a little tamarind water to taste.

This recipe is from the April 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

A dollop of plain yoghurt and some green chillies would also make nice accompaniments to this lovely tangy chickpea curry. Kulcha is a leavened flatbread that is popular in India and Pakistan and typically eaten with chole. The curry can be made a day ahead, but the kulcha needs to be made on the day of eating. You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead to soak the chickpeas.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Sweet English cider.

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