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Chole Masala

Soak white chickpeas in water overnight or for around 8-10 hours. Tie 1 teaspoon tea leaves in a plain muslin cloth. Tied tea leaves used for enhancing the color and flavor of chana. You can also use tea bags in place of tea leaves. Pressure cook soaked white chickpeas with a tied tea leaves pouch, enough water and salt in a 3-liter capacity steel/aluminum pressure cooker over medium flame. After 4-5 whistles, turn off the flame and let the pressure comes down naturally. Do not open the lid immediately to cook the chana perfectly. Open the lid and remove tied tea leaves pouch. Drain the excess water from boiled chickpeas in a large bowl. Keep the drained water to use later in the recipe. If pressure cooker is not available, you can also use a deep pan to boil chickpeas but it would take more time to cook.

Dry roast bay leaf, black cardamom, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, dry red chilli, cloves and cinnamon in a pan until nice aroma starts or for around 1-minute over low flame. Let them cool for a while and then grind them in a small jar of a mixer grinder to make smooth dry punjabi masala powder. Mash 2 tablespoons boiled chickpeas with backside of a large spoon or grind in a grinder to make a medium coarse paste. Grind tomatoes in a mixer grinder to make tomato puree. Heat 3-tablespoons cooking oil in a kadai or pan over medium flame. Add chopped onion and sauté until it turns light brown or for approx. 1-2 minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste and chopped green chilli. Mix well and cook for 30 seconds.


First make a fine paste of all the ingredients under the Grind to paste using a tablespoon of water. Mix tomato puree, yogurt, green paste made earlier, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, roasted cumin powder, garam masala, coriander powder and salt. Stir well. Marinate the chicken with this mixture and keep aside for 3-4 hours in refrigerator. Heat oil in a pan. Fry the onions until golden brown. In a small bowl take the warm milk and soak the saffron in it and keep aside. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Now add the beaten curd and chopped tomato and cook further till the oil separates.

Check the salt at this stage as later you cannot add the salt. Now add the rice and mix well with soft hand as not to break the rice grains. Add 4 cups of water to the rice. Mix saffron in milk and add to it. Add cardamom powder. Stir once. Cover the lid and cook on low flame till the rice is done. Take it out on a rice platter. Garnish with green coriander and mint leaves and serve hot. This chicken biryani goes well with mix vegetable raita.