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Monday, July 6, 2015

Black and White Chole Masala

Since last experimenting with black cardamom, Chole has been on my mind.  That deep smokey flavor of black cardamom in a cinnamon broth has been stroking my desire button and finally exposed itself last night.
This wonderful recreation developed inside me.. and in my kitchen...
Serves 5-6
5 oz kala (15cL) chana (black chickpeas), rinsed and soaked 12-24 hours
 5 oz (15cL) chole (white chickpeas), rinsed and soaked 12-24 hours
1 stick cinnamon
1 black cardamom
3 cloves
1 black teabag
1 Indian bay leaf
2 dried red chiles
1 tsp coarse sea salt
5 cups water
2 Tbsp oil
3 slit green chiles (I sliced 1 green Moroccan chile
1/4 tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds)
1 tsp kala jeera (black cumin) seeds
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
1 onion, minced
1/2 inch ginger, grated
5 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 can tomato pulp
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chile powder
1 tsp amchur mango powder (or pomegranate powder)
salt to taste
plain yogurt for garnish (optional if vegan)
chopped cilantro for garnish
chopped green onions
1.  Cook the chickpeas.  Make sure to rinse the chickpeas well and change the water 2-3 times during the soaking period.  Place the soaked chickpeas in a slow cooker with the water, the cinnamon stick, black cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, dried red chiles, salt, and tea bag.  Cook on low for at least 8 hours.  You want the chickpeas to be very well cooked with little resistance when pinched between your fingers.. or smashed against the roof of your mouth with your tongue.  When done, remove the whole spices and teabag.
2.  Make the curry.  Heat the oil in a wok and add the ajwain and cumin seeds.  Cook until fragrant.
3.  Add the hing and turmeric until they fizz, then add the sliced chiles and onions.  Cook until translucent.
4.  Add the ginger and garlic.  The raw smell of ginger should come tickle your nostrils, then leave you with a distant memory.
5.  Add the tomato pulp and garam masala.  Stir and keep cooking on high.  Cook until it all comes together as some sort of thick paste, and oil will seep out.
6.  Add the cooked chickpeas and about half the cooking liquid.  Stir well and add the amchur and chile powder.  Bring to a boil, then simmer.  It will thicken.  Add more of the cooking liquid to thin it out.  I used all of the cooking liquid.  Let simmer for about 10 minutes on low heat.
7.  Taste and add salt if needed.  Adjust the spice as well.  At this point, it was pure perfection.
I served with a mix of basmati and red rice topped with chopped cilantro, chopped green onions (not pictured), and a dollop of plain yogurt.  I also let it cool down to room temperature before eating because the heat is just unbearable these days and I can't stand to eat anything that's a higher temp than my own body temp.

The broth is so delectable, I was gulping it down by the spoonful while putting away the cooled leftovers.  Something magical happens with the tea, black cardamom, and cinnamon that makes an almost sweet smell while the slow cooking is happening.  I was asked if I was making cookies (which isn't completely off.. I've made cinnamon cardamom chile cookies before..)
The kala chana works well here.  I like it's full nutty flavor and texture that is easy to tell apart from its white brother, which is creamier.
Have I mentioned how insane meals like this get me?
I'm ready to take off...

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