Black chick peas - Dry
I have learnt of this recipe from a dear friend who is relocating to Riyadh this week. She learnt it from her friend. And that's how traditional family recipes go around from a Punjabi kitchen into a Tamilian kitchen. S had a tough time explaining to me what Kaala chana - the base ingredient was. I asked her if it was Sundal chana and she said NO. It is just kala chana.
I take pride in the fact that I have a fair knowledge of most Indian and quite a few global ingredients. And that I couldn't place this bean was just not an easily digestible fact. On my way back from her house, I stopped by at a local 'kirana' (grocery) store and asked for 250 g of 'Kaala chana' - the bigger variety. There are two sizes of the same beans.
I also bought two of the other main spices that go into this uniquely Punjabi recipe. My friend's mom also brought to light the fact that it is this chana that is served on the way to Vaishno Devi temple before the crack of dawn. The piping hot chana on a dark cold morning is indeed a welcome treat. That too when offered as a prasad, it is relished even more.
The recipe will come up in a while, but until then can you guess which are the two all important spices - in fact the only two whole spices that will be used in this one.
Folks - this is one such time, no one's guessed right. The two magical spices are black cardamom and Shah Jeera.
- Please don't skimp on the onion sauteeing time or the second simmering time. Trust me, slow cooking brings out some amazing flavours. And I'm surprised the hasty cook in me is actually telling you this. The long cooking time makes up for the lack of too many ingredients and spices. This is simplicity at its best. Although this is the first time I've made this one, it's definitely going to be a regular in my home. Try it and you'll be happy you made this. So will your guests.
- I'd also like to reiterate 'No non-stick pan for this one please'.
- You could easily try this in one of those slow cookers, plug it in and wake up to a beautiful breakfast. If you do try that way, please let me know the results.
- The chickpeas are a tad heavy on digestion if you eat it for dinner. Breakfast or lunch are the best times so that it gets digested by the time you go to sleep.