Most probably during the monsoons.
I remember it was a gloomy week and had rained incessantly for a few days.
Cold and damp air, no sun and no appetite made us turn to something spicy and hot.
We already were drowning ourselves in big cups of ginger tea. But we needed something to munch on too. Something that is not routine.
And definitely not the daily menu of dal,roti and sabzi.
I remember I had wanted to make samosas.
Have been wanting to make some Punjabi samosas and make a post for a longish while.
But B had been asking for chole tikki for a while too.
Since I make chole at least once a week ... B loves them while I do not ... and hence plan it on the days I have chicken or fish for me, I almost always have some chole either soaking or boiled and stored in the fridge.
That way, I just have to rustle it up with the masalas thrown in and simmered for a good amount of time.
Anyway, to cut a long story short ... and to stop myself from digressing ... I decided to make Chole tikki for dinner one evening.
And took photos on the phone.
Do not let them discourage you. The actual thing is far better than what it looks like.
But it does need some prep work. In fact loads of it.
But that only makes it easy for you to serve it.
Start planning , if not a few, at least a couple of days ahead.
I soak the chana / chole first and then my plans revolve around it.
When and how will we be eating our chole is then decided.
If with rice, then for lunch. If with puris or bhaturas, then for dinner.
And if with aloo ke tikki, then as an early evening snack.
Sometimes for brunch too.
To give a clear idea on the plan ... here is how I go about it.
1. Soak the chana in the morning ... that way I can keep checking on the water level till they are well soaked.
2. Boil the chana the same evening.
Never put the soaked chana in the fridge without boiling ... it will never cook well ...i.e. soften well .... after that.
3. Boil the potatoes ... the same evening or earlier ... and store in the fridge.
4. Make the Tamarind chutney ... the same day or evening or earlier.
( Check this recipe if you have some leftover sugar syrup and want to use it. )
On the day you plan to make Chole tikki ... all you need to do is cook the chana and fry the tikkis.
Of course, you can cook the chana earlier too. They soak up the flavours better, sitting in the fridge for a day.
How to :
The Chole -
Soak the chole for at least 6 hours.
Cook it in the pressure cooker with salt. I usually wait for at least 6 to 7 whistles, on low heat.
The cooking time will depend upon the quality of the chole you are using.
Heat cooking oil in a heavy bottomed pan or kadahi.
Fry chopped onions + grated ginger + grated garlic or garlic paste + grated tomatoes.
Add the boiled chole + haldi powder + red chilli powder + chana masala.
Add salt and a pinch of sugar.
Add the water of the boiled chana or plain water, cover and cook for some time.
Lightly mash the chole a little while stirring ... that way they soak up the flavours well.
Cover and let it sit on simmer for some time. Do keep checking for water.
The chutney :
Boil tamarind pulp + jaggery + sonth (ginger powder) + black salt + black pepper powder + red chilli powder + roasted jeera powder , with a little water , till slightly thickish in consistency.
The Aloo tikkis :
Mash with corn flour + salt + a pinch of sugar.
Shape into thick tikkis.
( Get the idea here )
Heat oil on a tawa.
Roll the tikkis on corn flour and fry on low heat till golden brown on both sides, gently pressing them all the while.
To arrange :
Place some piping hot chole on a plate.
Place two tikkis on it.
Spread a spoonful or two of the tamarind chutney.
Sprinkle some more chola + gravy.
Spread sliced onions, smeared with salt + lemon juice, all over.
Sprinkle some chopped, fresh coriander leaves and you are good to go.
Enjoy the burst of flavours in a mouthful ... crisp tikki covering with the soft chole and the sweet, sour and spicy chutney and the crunch of tangy onion slices bringing a riot of flavours together.
Perfect for these cold winter evenings too.
Or what is left of it.
Have fun folks!