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Even in the Route79 household 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
- 1 tin of boiled chickpeas (you can get this from any Indian shop or the "world foods" aisle of most major supermarkets
- About 800 ml of water
Start by opening the tin of Chickpeas and washing it using the "sieve under the cold tap" method. Open up the packet-mix also:
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.
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.)
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.
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 ...
Recipe by Route 79 Edit
Route 79 From London: By a British, European, 2nd-Generation Indian. Probably confused - but proud to be them all! Half of my journey to and from work is a 20-30 minute bus ride: London Bus Route 79 - between Alperton in West London and Kingsbury in North West London. I very frequently get pissed-off and frustrated waiting around in the DARK, WET and COLD - waiting for the 79 to turn up. But I have to be eternally grateful for the quality thinking time I get to myself.