Friday, February 25, 2011

Kala Chana --- Black Chickpeas

I saw them first at my local India grocer, the one who sells Indian food items in bulk, inexpensive, and foremost for the local Indians. With a gray beard and an ever present Sikh turban, he always looks at me and my selection, then asking "do you know how to cook this?!" Mostly I give a pretty good answer, and I think I am in his good graces now. 

Black chickpeas (or kala chana, kaala chana or desi chickpeas) were a first for me, but I had seen them as the original ingredient in some chickpea curries, and so I was ready to try them out. They are smaller than the regular 'white' chickpea but less bland in taste. A winner! I was so enamored with my first batch, I mostly used them up in salads. 

Kala chana (black chickpeas)

1/2 cup black chickpeas, wash, rinse
soak overnight in ca 2 cups of water
Discard soaking water. Cook in 1 1/2 cups of water and add a fresh bay leaf and 2 peeled garlic cloves. Simmer on low for about 25-30min (I tasted them at this point, and they were soft enough for my taste. Based on a different type, the cooking time might take up to 45min). 

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