Delhi’s love affair with this delicious combination of chole bhature is unmatched.
Be it a lazy Sunday brunch or an early morning catch up with friends and family, your mind might wander into several directions but your heart wants only one thing, Chole Bhature. A classic breakfast dish of the capital, it has also garnered a lot of taste buds from around the country. North India in general, eats chole bhature in their own ways for breakfast, right from Kashmir to Himachal and Uttar Pradesh. Chole bhature is another name for chana bhatura and is a typical breakfast of states like Delhi and Punjab. From street side stalls to proper establishments, you’d find chole bhature in every nook and corner of the city.
For those untouched by the phenomenon, chole bhature is made by pairing a spicy chickpea dish with a deep-fried fluffy Indian bread. Tasty and filling at the same time, chole bhature commonly features on breakfast and brunch tables in most north Indian households. If you come to Delhi, you’d find plenty of places to try this classic breakfast. Sitaram Diwan Chand is a place that makes me nostalgic and brings back so many childhood memories. Often, on my way back home after school, my father would take me to this small, hole-in-the-wall eatery in Paharganj and we would gorge on a plate of lip-smacking chole bhature. Only to come back home to get bashed by my mother for eating out on most days.
Today, Sitaram is a large and well-developed eating joint, with huge seating capacity and smooth restaurant-like vibe. Yet another iconic spot for Chole Bhature that I relished growing up was a small shop in the crowded lanes of Lajpat Nagar. The large signboard read, Anand Ji Chole Bhature and we knew we had to grab a bite when we set foot in the vicinity. What makes their chole bhature delicious is the addition of small cubes of paneer to the chana masala.
The flavour of the fiery and hot dark brown chickpeas, tossed in several spices brings an aroma to the table that is irresistible. Back in my college days in Delhi University, Monday lunch was usually a plate of piping hot chole with ghee-laden bhature from the college canteen. Priced reasonably low, they were the most affordable and filling meal one could have as a college student. At many places, you would find chole bhature served with some pickle, onions and green chillies.
To prepare chole bhature at home, begin by soaking the white chickpeas or chana in water overnight. Next morning, wrap the chickpeas in a muslin cloth with salt and tea leaves and dip it in water in a pot. Later, drain the water and tea leaves and keep the chickpeas aside. Toss onion, ginger, garlic and cumin seeds in a pan with oil. Once they are slightly cooked, throw in your chickpeas and spices like red chilli powder, chana masala, turmeric powder, cumin powder and coriander powder. Combine it all together and let it cook on low flame.
Next, start with making the bhatura dough. Knead a dough of flour, salt and curd. Make sure it becomes stretchy. Now cover it with a muslin cloth and after some time, divide it into portions to be rolled into chapatti. Dip it in pre-heated oil and deep-fry till they turn golden brown.
Serve chole bhature while they’re hot.
Here’s a detailed recipe for you to try.