Kala chana or black chickpea, is an ideal food that we have along with many other varieties of beans and lentils. For someone like me, who follows a mostly plant-based lifestyle, having beans and lentils is an absolute necessity in my kitchen pantry. Chickpeas play an essential part in many cuisines, especially Indian and Mediterranean.
In Indian Cuisine, there are several curry-based recipes of chickpeas like chana masala, chole bhature, pindi chole, spicy choliya, chikad pulao, matar kulcha, kadhi and so much more. Not only main course dishes but even appetizers and street food has a special place for chickpeas. Besan Cheela, pakoras, gol gappas, papadi chaat, chana chaat, raj kachori, bhel puri, sev puri, you name it!! They all call for simple use of boiled chickpeas or chickpea flour. Even desserts such as besan laddoos, motichoor laddoos, and jalebi are prepared using chickpea flour. One can make so many Indian dishes with this versatile ingredient.
Besides the dishes mentioned above, hummus and falafel are other favorites and again calls for the wise use of chickpeas. When not in the mood for Indian cooking, I love making salads and wraps using these two. Canned or loose, you can find this classic ingredient in my pantry at any time. Chickpeas, it is!!
Importance of Kala Chana or Black Chickpeas
Kala chana or black chickpeas are extremely healthy and a potent source of iron and protein for vegetarians and more so for vegans. For people with diabetes, it can prove to be even more healthier. Black chickpea keeps blood sugar levels under control throughout the day because of it’s high fiber content. If you or someone you know has diabetes or trying to lose weight, then consider adding kala chana to your diet. Read more here. Make sure to soak the chickpeas overnight or 4-5 hours to elevate the nutrition in them. Doing so decreases the cooking time, thus saving nutrition content in it and also helps in the digestion process.
Making Kala Chana for Ashtami Prasad
Many Indian festivals revolve around food, thus making us learn to embrace what Nature has to offer us. In Hinduism, we worship natural elements as our Gods and Goddesses. There is a tradition of praying to sun, air, water, land, trees, plants, fruits, and many animals, especially cows. Naturally, food becomes an essential part of any festival. With many Indian festivals comes the tradition of fasting. During that time, we work on our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Navratri or nine auspicious nights of Goddess Durga is one such Hindu festival. And when it ends on the day of Ashtami or Navami, devotees make a special holy feast to mark the end of festivities related to it. Halwa Puri Kala Chana for prasad is a typical preparation in many Hindu households on this day.
Sooji Halwa and puri is a fantastic combination to relish for any given meal. And having kala chana or black chickpeas along makes for even yummier experience. For Ashtami Prasad, the tradition is to combine these three dishes. However, if you are not making Ashtami prasad, you can still make Kala Chana dried or curry-based for your regular meals. You can even sprout them to make a healthy kala chana sprout chaat. I hope you like this recipe and enjoy it as much as we do!
- 1 cup Kala Chana (Black or Brown Chickpeas), soaked overnight
- Salt, to taste
- For the tadka
- 1 tablespoon Ghee
- 1/2 teaspoon Asafoetida
- 1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
- 1 teaspoon Ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon Amchur (Dry Mango Powder)
- 1 teaspoon Red Chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Powder
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
- To begin making the Kala Chana for Ashtami, soak the kala chana overnight or for a minimum of 4-5 hours.
- Discard the water and transfer soaked kala chana into a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and salt to taste.
- Pressure cook for about 5-6 whistles and then turn off the heat.
- Once pressure cooked, chickpeas are ready for tadka. Keep aside and let all the pressure release.
- Meanwhile, heat a pan with ghee on medium flame. Once the ghee is hot, add the asafoetida and cumin seeds. Allow them to sputter.
- Next, reduce the flame, add the ginger paste.
- Now add in all the dry spices - amchur powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and cumin powder.
- Mix well and quickly add in the boiled kala chana (without its water). Give it a good stir and simmer the sukha kala chana in the pan for 3 to 4 minutes until the masala gets well spread into the kala chana.
- Once done, turn off the heat, check if you need to add more salt and adjust according to taste.
- Serve Sukha Kala Chana Masala along with Sooji Halwa, and Pooris as prasad for Ashtami or just as a Sunday brunch.
- You cannot use onion and garlic for making prasad. However, if making generally for regular meals, then you can add it.
- Do not add green chili in tadka for kala chana when serving to kanjaks or young girls while kanya pujan. Children in general can't tolerate spicy food.
- Do not discard the water or broth of the boiled kala chana. It is rich in nutrition so use for other cooking purposes like kneading dough for rotis or making soups.