Chickpeas or Bengal gram are known as chana and is widely consumed all over India. The whole dried seeds have many fried and curried forms with variations from region to region.
The same chickpeas are eaten in dal form by splitting the seeds and removing the husks. The flour that we get out of this chana dal is besan which is again indispensable in Indian cooking. Starting from our ubiquitous pakoras to kadhi, to laddoos....the list goes on.
This is the way we like to have our chana and it is also cooked on all important occasions, be it a joyous or a sad one. Fried chana also goes very well with judima, the Dimasa rice wine. We also like to have the dish with puris, rotis and sticky rice.
250 grams chana, washed and soaked overnight
3 onions, grated
Half a thumb-size ginger, ground
7-8 cloves of garlic, ground
1 tsp chilli powder
1&1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 large tomatoes, sliced fine
3-4 green chillies, scored lengthwise
A quarter tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2-3 cardamoms, bruised
1 stick cinnamon
2 tbs mustard oil
Coriander or serrated coriander for the garnish
Put the soaked chana in a pressure cooker along with the cardamoms and cinnamon. Add some water. The level should be nearly the same as the chana. This is a dry kind of dish. Cook till it's soft but not mushy. About two whistles will do. When it's ready to be removed from the cooker, remove and drain in a colander. Reserve the water.
Heat the mustard oil in a pan. When it comes to smoking point, add the tejpatta, and then the onions and the green chillies. Fry till the onions change colour and then add the rest of the ground and powdered spices.
When the spices look done, add the sliced tomatoes. Cook till they are mushy then add the boiled and drained chana. Fry till the oil separates. Pour a bit of the reserved water and continue to cook till the chana looks good enough to be served on a plate. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with chopped herbs. If you want, you can discard the cinnamon stick and the cardamom pods before serving.
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