Tale of two chole

Today’s lunch was a different one.

tale of two choles High On Food

On your left (The one with red-brown curry)

The chole in the left side of the plate are red brown in looks. These are made with the usual conventional punjabi method of cooking. However, red dominates the brown mainly because of the red mirchi powder used. To get that authentic and original brown-black color, we use tea bags (or tea water). This is in line with the chole made in Jammu. Again, Jammu styled chole found on the streets have dollops of ghee and garlic and are on a different level. But this also steals the show because it is home made and folks who have stayed away from home like I have would understand the value of home food. To sum up, this is onion styled version of chole, Jammu styled.

On your right (The one with yellow-green curry)

Now, this is a different story altogether. You can clearly see these round shape lauki (bottle gourd) with chole. These are actually the dried lauki, used extensively in Srinagar and Ladakh. It is extremely difficult to grow vegetables during winters and our great ancestors found a way to relish vegetables in winters also. Cut slice vegetables, dry them and preserve. The dried vegetable is called “hutch” in kashmiri tongue. (No relation with Vodafone or any telecom). Bottle Gaurd (Al hutch), Tomato (tamatar hutch), Bringal (Wangun hutch) , Green beans (razma hemb hutch), Turnip (Gogeje hutch), Chili Pepper (hokh marchewangun)  and even Fish (hoggad). It is made in haldi- baidayana gravy (Turmeric and Fennel Powder). To sum up, this is a kashmiri styled chole with al hutch.

I was about to take a bite and realized that it has been never before like this, Same dish prepared in two different styles and served together in one meal. I stared at the dish and looked at this splendid plate in front of me, such a wonderful tale of two choles.

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