Photo by Nassima Rothacker
Black chickpeas (kala chana) have a slightly different flavor — a little nuttier, perhaps — than the regular, beige-colored chickpeas. They have a more robust texture than regular chickpeas, so they don’t crumble or become completely soft during cooking. They’re cooked with just a few basic spices in this simple dish that’s full of flavor. In India, chickpeas are often eaten with deep-fried puris, but I suggest serving this meal with chapati, rice, or chutney and salad. Yield: 4 servings.
- 10-1/2 ounces dried black chickpeas
- 3-1/2 pints water, for soaking
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- Pinch of asafoetida
- 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely shredded
- 2 small green chilies, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/3 pint water
- Handful of chopped chives
- 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
- Put the black chickpeas into a large saucepan with water and let them soak for 6 to 7 hours, or overnight.
- When ready to cook, add the salt and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium — low, partially cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the chickpeas are tender and almost all the water has evaporated. Set aside.
- Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until they begin to sizzle. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the ginger and green chiles and cook for 1 minute. Add the coriander and garam masala and cook for just 10 seconds, then pour in the water and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Pour the cooked chickpeas into the saucepan and mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, to allow the chickpeas to take on the flavor of
- Divide the chickpeas evenly among 4 serving bowls, then top each bowlful with chives and a lime wedge, so each person can squeeze it over their chickpeas. Serve immediately.
Chetna Makan was born in Jabalpur, an ancient city in central India. She has a degree in fashion and worked in Mumbai as a fashion designer before moving to the United Kingdom in 2003. She reached the semifinal of “The Great British Baking Show” in 2014, and her first book, The Cardamom Trail, is a celebration of baking with Indian flavors. She also has a YouTube channel, Food with Chetna, where she shares her creative flair for food.
This recipe is excerpted from Chetna’s latest book, Chetna’s Healthy Indian (Octopus Publishing, 2019).