Kala Chana Masala Recipe

Kala Chana is known as black chickpeas or bengal gram in English.  It is different from the Kabuli Chana, the pale colored chickpeas (aka Garbanzo Beans) used for making Chhole.  The two are shaped similar but are different in size, color, taste, and texture.  For making Chhole, you need to use Kabuli Chana.  But for making Chana Chaat, for example - you can use either legume.

In this post, I'm sharing a really simple Kala Chana Masala recipe that's on the dry side but can be eaten with phulka, with poori, or can be enjoyed as a snack. These are called Sookhe Kaale Chane.

Kala Chana Masala Recipe
Serves 4

1 cup kala chana
2 tsp oil
2 green chilies, slit
1 tsp grated ginger or ginger paste
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
½ tsp or more red chili powder
1 tsp coriander seed (dhaniya) powder
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

1. Rinse kala chana a couple of times, then immerse them in 2 cups of water, leave aside for 5-6 hours.  Then pressure cook kala chana with ½ tsp salt on high heat for 1 whistle then low heat for about 30-35 minutes.  That helps keep the individual shape of kala chana instead of mashing it while still keeping it tender to eat.  Let the pressure cool down completely before opening the lid.  I usually do the soaking and pressure cooking a day ahead (with double the amount) and refrigerate kala chana (along with its water) to use the rest of the week and freeze the excess.

2. Heat oil in a medium pan on medium heat.  Drain kala chana, reserve some water.  When oil hot, add slit green chilies, mix, add ginger, mix, add turmeric powder + red chili powder + coriander powder, mix, add drained kala chana + ½ cup of the strained water + salt (remember you added salt while pressure cooking too), mix, cover and cook 7-8 minutes, stirring every once in a while until water evaporated.  Switch off heat, add lemon juice + cilantro, mix well.

And that's it. Your Sookhe Kaale Chane (or kala chana masala) is ready.  See how simple this really was!  I love this kind of spicy and sour kala chana masala.  Feel free to adjust the spice, salt, and tang to your taste.  If eating as a "Kala Chana Chaat" drip some mint and tamarind chutney and sprinkle a generous amount of thin sev on top.

I had particularly made this one on a festival where usually the kala chana masala - kadhai ki poori - and halwa combination is offered to God and eaten that day. And since it is offered to God, the food is not cooked with onion and garlic. Feel free to cook with onion and garlic otherwise.

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