Pahadis from Himachal use curd in a lot of our dishes. There is Mandra, where curd and ghee are used in equal proportions and it’s a dish fit for kings, ~ mostly cooked in special occasions, it’s not an everyday feature in households (too heavy duty for roz ka khaana). We also use curd to make Palda, where one can cook any sabji ~ aloo, aloo gobhi, aloo matar, gobhi, gajar matar~ and then add curd in the end; this is a dish that serves as an accompaniment to dal and rice and it’s pretty much a regular weekly feature in my house at least. We also have a curd soup (closest match) called Redu that my brother loves. In all his cranky years of not eating anything, Redu (ray-do) was the one thing he would gladly guzzle by the gallon.
However today I wanted to share the recipe for another curd-based dish that we call Choliya. When I was staying with my dad, back in Pune, I was responsible for weeknight dinners and weekend lunches, and Choliya was one dish I cooked every other week; a) Coz I loved it, and b) it was super simple easy-peasy. I remember having it every other week, in summers, when I stayed with my nani, and she cooked it in the most divine manner possible. SLurrrrp.
Choliya is essentially mashed black chickpeas, cooked in mustard oil and curd, and is served with rice. The more khatta (sour) the curd, the more the flavour of the cooked mash and mustard oil stands out. It’s a simple recipe that uses basic ingredients, but offers an alternative to eating dal with rice, or cooking black chickpeas in regular onion tomato masala. I love it.
Read on for the recipe:
- 2 cups kala channa (black chickpeas), soaked overnight
- Mustard Oil: 2tbsp
- Spices for regular tadka:
- Coriander powder: 1.5 tsp
- Garam Masala powder: 1.5 tsp
- Salt, to taste
- Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
- Turmeric: .5 tsp
- Methi seeds (Fenugreek seeds): 1 tsp
- Mustard seeds: 1.5 tsp
- Curd: 2-2.5 cups
- Coriander leaves, for garnish
- Boil the soaked channas, either by cooking them in a pressure cooker (3 whistles should suffice), or by boiling them in a saucepan. The channas should be soft enough to mash with a regular spoon/ladle
- Mash the boiled channas
- Heat the mustard oil until it leaves its mustardy smell.. burn baby burn
- Add the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds, they will splutter a bit so do be careful
- Add the mashed channa and cook until it starts leaving oil. This should take about 5-10 minutes. Roast it well.
- Once cooked, add the regular spices (salt, haldi, dhaniya powder, garam masala, red chilli powder). Cook for a minute
- Now to this, add the curd and keep stirring until the mixture comes to a boil (The stirring helps in not letting the curd split)
- Once it boils, simmer it for 3-4 minutes and turn off the gas
- Garnish with coriander leaves, and serve with rice