Aloo Chole

I was flipping through my twitter account when I came across a fascinating story. The tweet read “next time you try to bail on a run, think of Fauja Singh - the world’s oldest marathoner! ”  Peaking my curiosity, I immediately googled Mr. Singh only to discover a 100-year old Indian man who didn’t run his first marathon until the age of 91!  Amazing. One of the articles mentioned his diet, which consists of simple (Indian) foods like dal, green vegetables, yogurt and ginger tea.  No meat, no rice, definitely no gluten.

As I read more about this man, I felt a growing desire to take control of my diet. You see, this isn’t my first obsession with an athlete’s diet this summer. Having recently attended the US Open, I have been intrigued by the surreal season that #1 seed Novak Djokevic just completed. One of the keys to his success  - the adoption of a gluten-free diet. I confess that I originally dismissed “gluten-free” as another gimmick by food companies. However, after doing some research, I’m beginning to think there might be something there. At the least, it’s a reason to think twice before putting something in my mouth.

In an effort to limit the amount of wheat, gluten and meat in my diet, I turned to a hearty Indian dish (in honor of Fauja) as a healthy weeknight dinner option. The dish is Aloo Chole (translation: potatoes and chickpeas) and is a modified version of the more popular Chana Masala, but with potatoes.  It might look intimidating, but isn’t that hard to make once you have the spices. I made the investment to buy Indian spices years ago which has made it really easy to make dishes like this on the fly.

Recipe

Serving Size (4-6 people)

Estimated time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried chick peas (about half of a bag)
  • 1 teabag
  • 3 tablespoons oil (I use canola)
  • 2 large red onions, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 chili peppers (sub with jalapeños)
  • 1-2 medium red potatoes
  • 1/4 cup frozen green peas
  • pieces of garam masala (1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 5 cloves, 3 green cardamom pods)
  • 1 tablespoon, cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon, turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger (or paste)
  • 1 tablespoon grated garlic (or paste)
  • 3 tablespoons, chana masala powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cayenne red pepper
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons, chopped cilantro; more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon salt

What You’ll Need:

  • pressure cooker or large pot
  • medium pot
  • large bowl

Directions:

Preparation

  • the night before: place dry chickpeas into a large bowl and presoak in water overnight (at least 4 hours). make sure the beans are submerged by a few inches of water as they will double in size
  1. the next day: once chick peas have hydrated (overnight), it’s time to cook them. i prefer to cook them in a pressure cooker, which takes about 10 minutes. you can also boil them in a pot for about 60-90 minutes
  2. pressure cooking: add enough water to submerge hydrated chic peas by 2 inches of water in the pressure cooker.  add 1 tablespoon oil (prevent foaming) and the teabag (darken the color of the beans). make sure not to fill pot more than 1/2 full. lock lid, heat on high-heat until pressure is on. lower heat to low and heat for 12 mins. remove from heat and release pressure
  3. boiling: 1 cup dry beans, 3 cups water, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teabag. bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer (partially covered). cook until beans are soft and can be smushed easily by hand (or utensil)
  4. once chic peas are cooked, drain them making sure to reserve 1 cup of the liquid they were cooked in
  5. while chickpeas cook, cut potatoes into quarters (if using a larger sized potato) and boil for 10-15 minutes or until a knife goes through potatoes with little resistance. when done, cut potatoes into bite sized pieces and set aside

Cooking the Dish

  1. heat oil on medium-high heat and add garam masala and cumin seeds
  2. add onion once cumin seeds begin to react with oil and season with a sprinkle of salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  3. after 5 minutes cooking, add ginger, garlic and turmeric to the mixture (aka masala) and stir
  4. cook until the onions are softened (~10 minutes) and then lower heat to medium
  5. add tomatoes and chopped chilis, stirring occasionally until tomatoes are fully cooked (wilted and softened). this will take about 15 minutes
  6. once tomatoes are cooked, add chana masala powder and stir until combined. cook for another 2 minutes
  7. add 1 cup of water reserved from cooked chickpeas along with cooked chickpeas, potatoes, frozen peas and cayenne pepper and stir together
  8. bring to a boil and then reduce to low-medium heat.  simmer uncovered for 20 minutes to allow the liquid to reduce and thicken
  9. add salt, lemon juice and cilantro and cook for another 2 minutes
  10. transfer to a serving bowl. garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with (naan) bread or basmati rice
Tips:
  • shortcut: use 2 cans of chickpeas instead of the dry ones. substitute the chickpea water with regular water. make sure to rinse the goo off the chickpeas before placing into the masala (step 7 above)
  • Indian ingredients: cinnamon sticks, cumin seeds, bay leafs, cardamom pods, cloves are non-perishable spices and can be purchased online at sites like http://www.kalustyans.com. buy them, store them in your pantry
  • chana masala powder is a prepared combination of spices
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5 Comments on “Aloo Chole”

  1. This dish looks brilliant! I’ll have to try a proper chickpea side dish as this is just too tempting.

  2. Mmmm, love vegetarian main dishes, especially with chickpeas! Looks absolutely scrummy!

  3. Ashlae says:

    Indian food is my absolute FAVORITE! So excited to have found this recipe and cannot wait to make it.

  4. indosungod says:

    These chickpeas look so very delicious. Chick Peas in the pantry is always a good thing. I add them to pasta, quinoa and it turns an ordinary dish into a special dish. Also helps to cut the amount of empty carbs.

  5. Heather says:

    My husband and I eat a lot of chickpeas and a lot of Indian food… this is perfect. :)


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