I applaud extraordinary. I smile at eccentric. And I adore weird concoctions.
Chana Masala or Chole is one of the most common and loved dishes of Northern India. It consists of a semi-dry curry made with chickpeas, and seasoned with spicy and tangy spices, simmered for hours. Probably the most common way to devour this delicious dish would be as Chola Bhatura or Chickpea Curry eaten with leavened Deep Fried Bread. Mmmm, it’s hard not to salivate just writing about it. This dish also happens to be really versatile. How you ask? Read on.
Consisting of creamy chickpeas and flavourful spices, the curry is a one pot wonder that compliments many accompaniments. Be it flatbreads, rice, polenta or blended into a buttery hummus-style blend,enjoyed in a crispy taco or used as a tangy salad base, it is by far one of the most multi-talented legume I have come across. And as I mentioned at the start of this post, I prefer unique. So in the true spirit of the celebrated chickpea, I decided to turn this treasured staple into a game day favourite - a.k.a Sloppy Joes!
Pick the toppings of choice, and make it life or slider size. Either way I guarantee this will fast become your go-to weekend comfort food. And use a bib, it can get deliciously messy. You’re welcome.
For the chickpeas
1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled till tender. Or 2 canned chickpeas, liquid drained.
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes, made into a puree
2 green chilies, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, crushed
Some fresh cilantro(coriander), finely chopped
2 dried red chilies, broken
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons garam masala powder
1 tablespoon amchoor (dry mango) powder
Salt to taste
6 tablespoons light oil such as olive, canola or grapeseed
For the coleslaw
1 cup mixed vegetables, I used shredded red cabbage, carrots and spinach
2 tablespoons thick full-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon cilantro chutney
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Burger or Slider Buns
2 red onions, chopped and fried in 2 tablespoons oil and a little salt
Cheddar cheese, grated
Lettuce or Spinach Leaves
Coleslaw: Mix all the ingredients for the coleslaw and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Chana Masala : Heat oil for the chickpeas in a deep non stick pan. Add the cumin seeds, dry chilies, green chilies, ginger, garlic and saute for a minute or two till the cumin starts sizzling. Add the onions, with a dash of salt to help them sweat, and cook till translucent. Stir in all the dry spices, except the amchoor, and roast for a few seconds. Then add the tomatoes. Also add 1/2 cup water and cover to cook on medium heat till tomatoes are tender, can be mashed and oil begins to separate from the sides (about 8-10 minutes). Finally add the chickpeas, another 1/2 cup water, and mix everything well. Let the mixture simmer on medium-low heat for 30-45 minutes. Add a little water if the chickpeas get too dry. In the end, stir in the amchoor and fresh cilantro. Adjust the salt, and turn heat to high. Cook for a few minutes and then turn off flame.
Put it together: Butter the buns and toast slightly. Layer up the spinach/lettuce leaves, then a generous dollop of the chana masala, coleslaw, fried onions and some cheese. Eat before someone else gets their hands on it! Nom!