I’ve never been good at planning weekly menus or cooking by my fridge and pantry list for the week. That, like any organized planning, is an art. I’ve usually done the opposite – stocked up my pantry and fridge with the best intentions of cooking only to discover them eons later, expired and disheveled, and finally into the trash can:(
The last few months have been a whirlwind craze – home repairs, packing, moving, unpacking, cleaning – all in a span of three months and less. And this has forced me to begin to clean up my mess – literally! I’ve started to create pantry and fridge lists and also discovered a new iPhone app – Menu Planner – that allows you to create daily breakfast, lunch and dinner menus from the input, with links to suggestions and recipes:)…for an app junkie like me, this was a dream come true. Well, its week 2 of me using the app so it must be working.
In any case, one ingredient I had too much of in my freezer and pantry was “kala chana” or also known as black chickpeas or bengal gram. These are what I would call a type of Indian super food, known for their high protein content and also for lowering cholesterol in the bloodstream. I’d obviously bought a lot of this over the months, with the intention of making “chana masala” or “chana salad” etc, which, as you can tell from the recipe list, never really made the cut. But one tip that helped was to boil a few cups and freeze them in freezer bags. This way, I did use them in salads, quick curries etc.
I got this recipe from watching Sanjeev Kapoor’s “Khana Khazana”. This is also one of his recipes in his recent book “Marwari Cooking”. A quick and very healthy dish that can be enjoyed with wheat chapatis or rotis or with hot rice and some salad on the side.
Black Bengal gram (kala chana) – 1 1/2 cups
Yogurt, beaten well with a fork – 1 1/2 cups
Gram flour (besan) – 4 teaspoons
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tablespoons
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons
Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
Green chillies,chopped – 3-4
Pure ghee – 3 tablespoons
Asafoetida – a pinch
Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
Fresh coriander leaves,chopped – 2 tablespoons
1. Soak kala chana overnight in four cups of water.
2. When ready to cook, drain the liquid, add four cups of water and pressure cook till done. Make sure to reserve the water you cooked the chana in, as this has all the nutrients from the boiled chana.
3. Take the chanas in a bowl and mash them lightly.
4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl mix yogurt, gram flour, turmeric powder, salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and whisk well so that no lumps form. Add the chopped green chillies and mix. Add one cup of the reserved liquid and mix.
5. Take a heavy bottomed pan, and heat the ghee. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the yogurt mixture and stir.
6. Add the boiled chana, and add some more of the reserved liquid. Bring it to a boil and cook for five minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.