I am fretting and fussin over a name. An apt name for this wonderfully aromatic royal north Indian beans usually eaten with puffed deep fried pooris or bhaturas. They are made in a host of different ways hence we have names for every kind.
What I have here is a dark semi thick gravied version, usually made in Punjab, a northern state in India. Lot of spices are used, some whole, some ground. The end result is spicy, earthy and extremely flavorful. Love for these beans is eternal in my house. They sit happily waiting for their meal to arrive! Bliss, when you have happy faces to feed.
Over the years I’ve had little problem with Chickpeas. They usually turn out well. Having changed recipes several times, and now finally zeroed in on a cross between a couple of formulas, my tryst with these beans is here to stay.
My grouse lately is what to accompany this curry with. Traditional pooris and other deep fried stuff is out of our menu. Husband is happy with plain old chappathis. But I find it almost belittling to serve this curry with phulkas… just doesn’t seem right. Bread or ready made whole wheat kulchas are a better option. They somehow justify this royal dish 🙂
For me, I almost always make some rice. Chole chawal is a regular in many north Indian homes. Roast a papad, cut up some salad, drizzle salt and lime juice – and you have a very tempting plate in your hands!
Chickpeas are usually white to light brown in color, and post boiling they turn a pale yellow. So, to deepen/darken the gravy, we have a very rustic old way to do so. A spoon full of tea leaves bundled in muslin cloth is dropped into the pot of boiling chickpeas. This darkens the beans and imparts an earthy flavor to the gravy. Mother also added whole spices into the bundle sometimes. Made it easier for her to remove the spices after their work was done, she says.
- 1 and half cups kabuli channa or dried big chickpeas, soaked overnight.
- 2-3 tbsp channa dal, soaked along with the chickpeas
- 2 tsp ghee or oil
- 2 whole cardamoms,
- 1 bay leaf, 2/3 cloves, a small stick cinnamon
- 3 garlic pods
- a tiny piece of ginger
- 1 big onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup leaves of mint and coriander leaves
- 2 medium sized tomatoes, ground
- 1 tsp anardana or dried pomegranate seeds
- 3 tsp chole masala, store brought or home made
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp tea leaves tied in a muslin cloth
- Garnish: Julienned ginger, onions, tomatoes, french fries and coriander leaves – optional.
Boil chickpeas and channa dal along with the bag of tea leaves, crushed garlic and salt. Keep aside.
Grind chopped onions, ginger and leaves of mint and coriander to a fine smooth paste.
In a big wok, heat ghee or oil. Throw the whole spices – bay leaf, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Saute for a minute. Add and fry the onion-coriander mint paste till the oil leaves sides. To this add ground tomatoes along with anardana, chole masala, coriander powder and red chili powder. Mix well and fry the paste very well till the fat separates. Now mix in the boiled chickpeas. Give it a final mix and boil. Garnish.
Serve with pooris/bhature/bread/kulchas/rice.
Note: You can add the whole spices while boiling the chickpeas.
Note: Oil or any butter can be used, but I prefer ghee. It adds to the aroma and richness of the dish.
Comin back to the name. Ah a name! Since the method leans more towards the ambarsariya kinds, mother advised me to call it Amritsari Channe. And so I do as I am told. Its mothers day after all. 🙂