Sunday, February 9, 2014

Black Chana (Chickpea) Recipe

Kala Chana as it is called in local Indian Hindi language is one kind of legumes that can be cooked in various ways. It is very rich in protein. It is available generally in Indian grocery stores in United States. One can make lentil soup with kala chana, make it as part of salad, and/or make main dish in form of curry.  The trick is to make sure to boil this legume properly. Per my mom, best way to cook this chana is to soak overnight or 6-8 hours before cooking. Soaking kala chana not only doubles the volume but also reduces the cooking time. If one is pressed on time, add water to the chana in pressure cooker, let it boil on medium high heat for 5 minutes, turn off the heat. Let the chana sit covered for approx an hour and then boil as directed below.

Kala Chana/Black Chickpea

There are different ways of making the curry/gravy dish with black gram. One way is to saute in onion-tomato-ginger-garlic paste, and masalas listed below, and pressure cook together the soaked chana with the prepared gravy. 2nd way is to boil the chana and make the gravy separately and then mix/prepare both together as the main dish. Both the above methods give good results. It depends on one style and preference of cooking. My kids love chana in the boiled version, so I saute boiled black chickpea with olive oil, cumin powder, salt, and black pepper as a quick accompaniment for  rice/chapati.

Pressure cooker method:  Soak the chana in atleast 4 cups of water for 6-8 hours. Place the soaked chana with soaked water in pressure cooker, and add approx 3-4 cups of water. If the pressure cooker whistles, cook the chana on medium-high heat for approx 5 minutes, and let the pressure cooker give 3-4 whistles. Then reduce the heat to medium low, and cook for 40-45 minutes. Turn off the heat after 40 minutes, and let the steam go off by itself. This much time is needed to boil the chana to make sure the chana is cooked properly.  During the time chana is getting boiled one can prepare the gravy.

If not using pressure cooker, boil the chana on medium high heat, and then cook on slow heat for approx 1 hour on low medium heat, stirring in between, and adding water as needed until fully boiled.

Ingredients (Mom's recipe)
1 Cup Black Chana
1 medium size onion
1 medium size tomato
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1 Tablespoon grated garlic
1/8 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon haldi ( turmeric)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon(or per taste) red chili powder
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon amchur or use l tsp lemon
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 Tablespoon Oil
1 tablespoon chooped cilantro to garnish

Chop the onion into small pieces, tomato can either be chopped or pureed using grater. Similarly chop/grate the ginger and garlic. Add oil the pan, add jeera, asafetida, add onion, let it fry, add ginger-garlic, add tomato, coriander powder, haldi, red chili powder, and garam masala. Once the masala is cooked, mix the boiled chana in it. Add salt. Use a spatula to mash some of the boiled  black chickpea well in the gravy. This extra step gives nice taste to curry, and also thickens the curry. Simmer for few minutes, and garnish with lemon/amchur, cilantro, and pinch of garam masala. Serve with rice/chapati.

Sending this to the monthly event My legume love affair # 68 hosted by Lisa thanks, and thanks creator of this event Susan 

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