Do I have to say more about this dish which is known to all, around the world? Though this is a Punjabi dish, most Indian households will have their own take on it. A popular street snack, this dish is a fixture at ceremonies and festive occasions as well as in restaurants, canteens and on gourmet food list too. Chana or white chickpeas which is another name of garbanzo beans is also a a part of Pakistani cuisine too.
Regional Indian cuisine is influenced not only by climate and history, but also by religion. As a matter of fact, vegetarian diet is a part n parcel of sizeable percentage of the population. Likewise, for this section, proteins are supplemented from legumes, pulses and cereals. Legumes can be divided into two general categories: immature and mature varieties. Immature legumes, often referred to as “fresh” legumes, include all types of edible pod beans and peas and shell beans that haven’t yet been dried. Wax beans, snow peas, edamame and fresh lima beans are all immature legumes. Black beans, kidney beans, lentils and split peas are all mature legumes. Nearly all legumes provide protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium, but mature legumes tend to be particularly rich sources.
As an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber, legumes are a highly satiating food. This means that for a relatively low amount of calories legumes make you feel fuller longer and, therefore, help prevent the hunger that can lead to unhealthy snacking and unwanted pounds. Eating legumes several times a week promotes bowel regularity and helps keep blood sugar levels in check.
Legumes are sometimes called “poor people’s meat” because they’re an inexpensive source of quality plant protein. They truly are an ideal meat substitute, however, because the vitamin and mineral profiles of legumes and meat are comparable. Whereas meat is also a source of cholesterol and saturated fat, however, legumes are a cholesterol-free food that contains virtually no saturated fat. Opting for legumes instead of meat two or three times a week promotes healthy cholesterol levels and helps protect against heart disease. (input courtesy: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-legumes-7677.html)
A dollop of this pulse bathed in a thick, tangy spiced gravy, paired with bhatura or Poori is the perfect combo found all over India and the world. The spices are what gives channa masala its rich savory flavor. The original recipe of this has some specifics. Instead of lime juice for tanginess, I found tomatoes and tomato puree more comforting, tastier and helped in thickening the gravy. I completely avoided whole spices like clove, bay leaf and cinnamon instead went with my home made garam masala powder.
I soaked channa for well over 10 hours plus as I cook the channa in its masala rather than boiling it separately. This not only reduced the cooking time by a considerable margin but also soaked the channa with flavors. This is a slow cooked dish but I replaced it with pressure cooking. I did not find any taste difference int the end product. I do this only when I’m on my toes. Its always better to go with the dried ones for a good result. Tip of the day for this dish, I added some brown sugar to cut through the tanginess and sourness of tomatoes, puree and raw mango powder and the heat of the spices. If you omit this ingredient I’m sure you will feel a incomplete and a missing factor for this dish.
Soak the chickpeas in water at least for 8 hours. Wash and drain it before cooking.
Slice the onion and tomatoes, slit the green chillies.
Make fresh tomato puree with a tomato and mix with store bought ones.
In a pressure cooker, heat some oil. Add whole cumin and allow it to splutter.
Then add the onions. Saute the onions adding the slit green chillies until the color changes.
Add the ginger garlic paste, Fry till aroma starts wafting in the air.
Add in the spice powders turmeric, chillies, coriander and garam masala powders.
Combine everything and keep frying till you get the fried smell of powders.
Pop in the tomatoes and give a quick stir and add the tomato puree. Mix well and allow it to simmer.
Now add in the chickpeas and mix well. Throw in the powdered cumin and anchor powder.
Adjust salt and add water.
Cook for 4 whistles.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with Bhatura/Poori