Techinically, today was the start of the spring break for the kids. It offers a break in pace since this weekend we did not have the usual childrens activities. It always helps to actually have a weekend.
I am however never very happy, when I cannot take the holiday week off. Although, travelling into work during a quite week has its advantages, one of them being quieter, emptier trains. This time anyway, the kids are happy about a new program they are doing for a week. So, I am getting into work the next three days with Thursday and Friday off making it a long weekend.
Today, all things considered turned out to be a long day that brought in a mixed bag of activities and I spent the evening recharging myself in the kitchen as I always do when the spirits need a little bit of “pick up”.
I actually had chickpeas on my mind. Well, strictly speaking, chickpeas and kabocha just because I picked up my first kabocha squash this weekend. I realize it is a winter squash, but the weather does seem a little confused this year, with the cold temperature we are having despite the official start of spring. Now back to the chickpeas, they have been on my mind ever since I posted this recipe because my friend Chitra wanted a non slower cooker recipe. Slow cookers are ok and some of us tend to like having them around, but the reality is that the pressure cooker is what makes it to the kitchen as an essential. Most Indian cooks worth their salt have at least a couple in different sizes. So, when she told me that she did not not have a slow cooker, I was pretty sure that she had a pressure cooker and right I was.
There are many style of cooking chickpeas, however broadly speaking the north Indian styles fall into two broad categories, a soft gravy based variety and this drier variation usually enjoyed with flatbread. Quiet often the puffy deep fried sourdough bread called bhatura or soft leavened baked breads called kulcha. I did not quite have the interest to make either, but I did make the basic chapatis and we were all happy.
So, pindi chole, aparently originated in Rawalpindi, and the variation that I offer here is what my mother in law tends to prefer, except she makes this sans onions, since she does not eat onions. It certainly is starker and does not depend on onion and garlic for its sauce. The soft chicpeas here are coated with spices, finished off with toasted ginger and chrushed dried pomegranate seeds. As of the the dark color, this comes from a tea bag, which was rather difficult for me to find today because, I am a loose leaf tea drinker and the husband usually drinks what I make or tends to stick to green tea. But, ultimately I did find something stuck in a corner waiting to be used.
All good, so here is the recipe and one of these days you will see my other variation.
A recipe for dark spice crusted chickpeas, in the punjabi style of cooking. Ingredients Instructions
A recipe for dark spice crusted chickpeas, in the punjabi style of cooking.