Chow Town

Easy garbanzo bean curry is Indian comfort food

Googhni (also known as Chole)
Googhni (also known as Chole) Special to The Star

This easy garbanzo bean curry is an Indian comfort food known as Googhni in the eastern part of India and as Chole in the north. It gets its signature tang from the addition of tamarind.

I prefer to use dried beans, which I soak overnight before boiling in a pressure cooker. Canned beans work in a pinch, but they do not allow the same control over softness and texture.

The dish can be served as is with a simple cup of tea, as an appetizer, or as a main course with rice pilaf or flat bread.

Googhni (also known as Chole)

Makes 8 to 10 servings

2 cups of dried garbanzo beans

1/2 cup canola oil

2 bay leaves

3 black cardamons

1 teaspoon cumin seed

1 large onion, finely chopped

3-inch-long piece of ginger, finely grated

1 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder

1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate (Tamcon brand recommended)

Cayenne pepper (to taste)

Salt (to taste)

For the garnish

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

3 tablespoons chopped tomato

3 tablespoons chopped onion

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Soak the dried garbanzo beans in 6 to 7 cups of water overnight. Boil in salted ( 3/4 tablespoon salt) water until tender. Drain and save the water, about 3 to 3  1/2 cups.

In a medium pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add bay leaves, cardamoms and cumin seeds. When the spices begin to sizzle, add the onion and saute until onion becomes medium brown. Add the ginger and coriander powder and saute for a couple of minutes.

Add the beans, tamarind concentrate, cayenne pepper and salt. Mix well. Add saved saltwater and cook until the gravy thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve hot and garnish with garam masala, tomato, onion and cilantro.

Jyoti Mukharji teaches Indian cooking classes in her Prairie Village home. In the past five years, more than 1,900 aspiring Indian chefs have come through her kitchen.