Black chickpeas have a slightly different flavour to the regular, beige-coloured chickpeas – a little nuttier, perhaps – and their texture is more robust, so they don’t become completely soft during cooking, and they don’t break down and crumble apart. They are cooked with just a few basic spices in this simple dish that’s full of flavour. In India, it is often eaten with deep-fried puris, but I suggest serving it with chapatti or rice, with chutney and salad.
300g (10 1/2oz) dried black chickpeas (kala chana)
2 litres (3 1/2 pints) water, for soaking
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
pinch of asafoetida
1cm (1/2 inch) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely shredded
2 small green chillies, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
200ml (1/3 pint) water
handful of chopped chives
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Put the black chickpeas into a large saucepan with the measured soaking water and leave to soak for 6–7 hours or overnight.
When ready to cook, add the salt and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat to medium–low, part-cover the pan with a lid and cook for 40–45 minutes, until the chickpeas are tender and almost all the water has bubbled away. Set aside.
Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida and cook for 1–2 minutes, until they begin to sizzle. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the ginger and green chillies and cook for 1 minute. Now add the ground coriander and garam masala and cook for just 10 seconds, then pour in the measured water and bring to the boil.
Tip 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 flavour of the masala.
Divide the chickpeas between 4 serving bowls, then top each bowlful with the chives and a lime wedge, so each person can squeeze it over their chickpeas. Serve immediately.
From Chetna’s Healthy Indian by Chetna Makan. Copyright 2019 Mitchell Beazley.
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