Route 79 : Packet Chole
The effects of feeling hungry on the way home
February 17 2004
Even in the Route79 househould we occasionally cook from packet-mixes! Yep - when you just feel like throwing it all in a pot and letting it cook for itself - you can do so. I do this occasionally out of sheer curiosity - and last night was no exception.
I have noticed over the last year or so - the Indian shops on my High Street have been carrying "packet-mix" sachets of some of the most classic of Indian/Asian cuisine. I have always been tempted to try some out - and so I picked a packet called "Parampara Chole Gravy Mix". The company name is "Parampara" in this case (it seems to have been imported from Pune in India) - and the recipe is "Chole Gravy Mix" - "Chole" is pronounced "Cholay" - and refers to a classic NorthWestern/Punjabi dish made from chickpeas (sometimes known in restaurants as "channa masala". This is classic Indian "street-food" or "comfort food" and is best served with rice, or better still, with a type of fried fluffy bread called "bhatura". Last night - we decided on having it with rice.
The whole idea of this packet-mix is that you just add the ready-boiled chickpeas and water into a pot with the packet-mix and let it simmer on the stove until it's done! Fast food in an instant! (Well - in an hour anyway!) I am guessing that these packet-mixes will appeal to the younger, busier Indian generation who on occasions cannot be bothered to go to great lengths to stock or prepare all the necessary ingredients - as it's all in the packet" Including oil, salt and spices etc. (Yes - the packet is made of heavy, sealed foil and the contents feel slightly soft and squidgy.)
So I decided to give it a go. This is what you need:
1 packet of Parampara Chole Gravy Mix
Start by opening the tin of chickpeas and washing it using
the "sieve under the cold tap" method. Open up the packet-mix
Tin of boiled chickpeas and the packet-mix
Wash and drain the tin of boiled chickpeas
Then put the drained, boiled chickpeas into a pot and add the packet-mix and water - and bring to boil. Reduce the heat so that it simmers - and keep it simmering with the lid off for around one hour. Yep - one hour. Stirring occasionally.
Add the water and let it simmer for an hour with lid-off until reduced
Then, when the "gravy" has reduced so that the chickpeas are visible in a semi-thick consistency - have a taste and see what you think. In my case I think it needed a bit more salt - and I also added a few pieces of chopped fresh tomato - as well as half a finely-chopped onion. (Toss in the onion and the tomato raw - and let it simmer gently for a few more minutes.)
When it's done, sprinkle on some freshly chopped coriander leaf - and it should look something like this:
Put the lid back on and let it sit for around 15 mins whilst you prepare some fresh basmati rice - or heat up some pitta-bread or make some toast.
Serve with a chunky salad of cucumber, tomato and carrot - and/or some mint chutney on the side.
I was mildly surprised at how good it tasted. Ok - so it was slightly bland - and could have done with a bit of extra garam masala or ground red-chillie - but it wasn't bad for such a low-effort dish. Not bad at all ...
Have you tried
this? Even if you haven't - let me know what you think!