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Rinse and soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight. Add enough amount of water as the chickpeas increase in size after soaking it. Rinse the soaked chickpeas.
To give a dark color to the chickpeas, traditionally dried amla (indian gooseberries) are added. These also give a faint sourness to the stock. If you do not have dried amla, then add 1 black tea bag.
In a pressure cooker add the chickpeas along with the 3 to 4 dried amla pieces or 1 black tea bag. Taj tea bags work very well. Then add water
Season with salt and pressure cook the chickpeas for 12 to 15 whistles. The chickpeas should be cooked well and softened. The chickpeas should be soft when you mash it with a spoon. The chickpeas should not give you a bite when you eat it.
In a pan, take all the whole spices for the chole masala powder mentioned above and on a low heat begin to roast them.
Stir often and roast the spices till they get extra browned. Don't burn them. You have to go beyond a point roasting them even after they become fragrant and they get more browned than what is the norm usually.
Let these roasted spices cool and then grind them finely in a coffee grinder or in a dry grinder.
By now the chana will be cooked. You will see a darker brown shade in the safed (white chana). Remove the amla pieces which would have softened by now or the tea bag from the stock.
Heat oil in a pan or kadai. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till their raw aroma goes away.
Then add chopped onions and saute till the onions turn translucent or light brown.
Add tomatoes & saute them till they soften and the oil starts to leave the sides of the masala.
Then add the powdered chole masala that we ground, along with the red chili powder, turmeric powder & garam masala powder (optional).
Stir the dry masala and then add slit green chilies
Add the cooked chole. Stir well.
Add salt. Then add about 1 to 1.25 cups of the stock in which the chana was boiled. You can also add water instead.
Stir and cover the chana.
Simmer on a low to medium flame. You can also cook without the lid.
The gravy will thicken and reduce. Mash a few chickpeas. This will help thicken the gravy.
Simmer till you get the consistency you prefer. The consistency of this chickpea curry is not thin, but medium consistency or dry.
If you have not added dry pomegranate seeds while roasting the spices, then you need to add amchur powder (dry mango powder) now. Stir the gravy well.
Garnish it with coriander leaves & ginger julienne.
Serve the Punjabi chana masala with kulchas, bhaturas, pooris, rotis, along with sliced onions, tomatoes and lime.
This Chickpea Curry also tastes good with steamed rice or jeera rice.