Punjab is famous for its rich culture and appetising cuisines. Chole bhature is one of the Punjabi food dishes that contains bold textures, hearty ingredients and flavourful spices. The rich and tasty dish is popular not only in India but all across the world.

Chole bhature will never disappoint you even if you are a non-vegetarian or you do not belong to North India or if you are a foreigner coming from some different country. The dish is prepared everywhere using special spices which offer distinctive flavours of the Punjabi food. Chole is prepared using chickpeas and mixed in whole and ground spices. The pure ghee, ajwain and degi mirch tadka deepens the deliciousness. A staple in Punjab cuisine, this dish is best to be eaten with bhaturas. These two accompany each other like a dream in which you feel like indulging completely. Bhatura is different from poori – made with maida and curdled milk rather than wheat flour and water. Although the soft and slightly fermented bhatura is much larger than a poori, you cannot eat just one because it is that yummy. This dish should be your go to when you are craving for some delicious, spicy and filling food from Punjab.

We can easily make chole bhature at home and they will taste as good as commercially prepared ones. This will make you know exactly which ingredients and how much of each is going into your food. Here is the fabulous recipe:

Chole:

Serves: 4-5

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

Chole: 2 cups

Bay leaves: 2

Cinnamon stick: 1

Water: 5 cups

Salt: 1 tsp

Wash chole thoroughly and soak them for three hours. Take a pressure cooker and put all the above ingredients together. Give one whistle on high flame and then turn off the flame. Allow the pressure to release on its own.

For masala:

Chana masala: 2 tsp

Red chilli powder: 1 tsp

Garam masala: ½ tsp

Salt: ¼ tsp

Black salt: ¼ tsp

Amchoor: 1 tsp

Kasoori methi: 1 tbsp

Coriander powder: 1 tsp

Chat masala: ½ tsp

Anardana powder: ½ tsp

Mix all these masalas properly in a big bowl.

Method:

After the pressure of chole releases from the cooker, open the lid and add one teaspoon of baking soda. Boil the chole on low flame for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Turn off the flame. The chickpeas will become soft. Remove whole spices (cinnamon stick and bay leaves). Add the prepared spice mixture to the boiled chole and mix well gently.  For tempering, heat one tablespoon of pure ghee. Add half teaspoon of ajwain. When it starts to crackle, add one teaspoon degi mirch. Turn off the flame. Mix in this tempering in prepared chole. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Bhature:

Serves: 4-5

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minute

Ingredients:

Maida: 2 cups

Milk: 1 cup

Fresh yogurt: 1/3 cup

Baking powder: 1/3 tsp

Salt to taste

Oil for fying

Method:

Give a boil to milk on high flame. Turn the flame low and add yogurt slowly and gradually mixing well. In few minutes whey and paneer will get separated. Turn off the flame and let it cool. Take maida in a big bowl. Add salt and baking powder. Mix well.

Mix in whey and paneer simultaneously in equal amounts, kneading the maida dough. Add slowly and keep kneading. Make a soft and stiff dough for bhaturas. Keep the dough covered for three to four hours to ferment it a little. Then heat oil in a frying pan. Knead the maida dough again and make medium size balls (the size you take for parathas) out of it to make bhaturas. Roll the balls one by one in oval shape, putting some oil on the rolling board and rolling pin.

Deep fry bhaturas one by one flipping from both sides until golden brown blisters form on both the sides.

Tips:

Soak chickpeas not for more than three hours. Give only one whistle on high flame. Otherwise, the chickpeas will get overcooked in the next stage of slow-cooking.

When you are mixing dry ground spices in a bowl, rub them with your fingers while mixing so that no grain of the spices should be left and all the masalas get well-mixed with each other.

While boiling chole without lid on low flame after one whistle, add only baking soda and not baking powder to soften them. Also boil chole in a big pot because after adding baking soda, a fizz forms that raises up the chole water and the pot should be big enough not to allow the chole water to run out of it.

In tadka, do not use refined oil. Use only pure ghee to give an authentic flavour.

If you want to add boiled potatoes in chole, just cut a boiled potato in four to eight big pieces depending upon the size of the potato. Sprinkle the prepared masala mixture which we added in chole, on potatoes. Then add these spiced-boiled potatoes in chole. Give a stir.

For bhaturas, add only baking powder in maida because baking soda turns the bhaturas in little yellowish tint. So, avoid adding baking soda.

Serve the dish with onion salad and mango pickle for the best taste.

Chole bhature is not only popular in India but its flavours have spread all over the world. It is one of the easily available foods from roadside dhabas to good restaurants of Punjab and other parts of Northern India. The lip-smacking dish is also offered at many Indian authentic restaurants abroad.

Next time you want to eat Punjabi food, do not forget to make chole bhature and serve it with onion salad and mango pickle.