If we begin to count some of the richest and diverse cuisines, there will be a handful of them. Needless to say, Indian cuisine will surely be one of the top cuisines on that list. Pick any ingredient- either a vegetable, spice or legume, there must be at least 20 delicacies made with each of them. Keeping the vegetables and spices for another time, let’s talk about legumes today. India is blessed with a myriad of legumes that are a part of the daily Indian diet. One of these legumes is our favourite- chhole or chana. I don’t think even a lifetime will be enough to appreciate the vast array of delicacies made with chhole in India. From the street-style chana chaat to the all-time favourite breakfast of most Indians- chhole bhature, one can’t get enough of the appetizing chhole dishes that India has in store.

Born and brought up in East India, the most widely relished chhole delicacy, I know of, is Ghugni. No festivity in my home can go without a bowl of Ghugni along with crispy Chakuli Pithas. Moreover, most dhabas in Odisha serve chana masala. The dry spicy chickpea-based dish is perfect to have with rotis and parathas. And needless to mention, the ubiquitous chhole bhature is widely relished in Odisha too. The soft and fluffy bhaturas along with the perfectly cooked chickpeas in the yellow gravy can turn anyone’s day around. However, when I went to Delhi for higher studies I came across the very famous street-style chhole bhature. Although everything was the same as the chhole bhature I had eaten in Odisha, the only thing that made me wonder was the colour of the chhole gravy. I kept thinking about the possible ingredients that could the reason behind the dark colour of the chhole gravy. Not getting any clue, I decided to ask a street vendor. Without caring much about explaining, the vendor said “Madam, ye pindi chhole hai”. Not delaying anymore, I head to the internet to search about it.

To my surprise, I found out that the secret behind the dark shade, the tantalizing aroma and the lip-smacking flavour of pindi chhole is tea. A potli is made with a variety of whole spices and tea dust/leaves and is added to the chickpeas while boiling. This potli is what sets pindi chhole apart from the regular chana masala. Some people also prefer to marinate the boiled chickpeas with salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder before adding them to the gravy while making pindi chhole.

Now that you know the difference between these two popular chickpea-based dishes, you know how to differentiate between them two. Follow the recipes to make these delicacies at home and enjoy a wholesome meal.