Friday, October 26, 2012

Chana With A South Indian Twist

We always associate Chana/Chickpeas with the North Indian style preparation of chhole/chana masala. Chhole can be quite luxurious and sinful - especially served with fried bhature. Not that I don't love chhole, but it's a dish for rare occasions in my house. The other day, I tasted chana prepared in a very different manner using the South Indian essentials - curry leaves and coconut! This dish was served at the temple as prasad on one of the Navratri days. Being offered as naivedyam it had to be satvik and devoid of onoin-garlic. Give me anything infused with aromatic curry leaves and I'm instantly in love. The change of taste and the use of minimal ingredients were quite welcoming. Hubs and I couldn't stop praising the preparation. I wish I could thank and ask for the recipe to whoever brought the prasad. But it was a no brainer given the few and distinct ingredients. I wasted no time in recreating the dish in my kitchen. For the lack of a better title, I'll call this Jhatpat Chana for the ease of making it compared to Chhole! 

Jhatpat Chana

1 1/2 Cups soaked Chana (chickpeas)
1-2 Teaspoons Ghee
2 Green chilies - chopped
1/2 Teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 Teaspoon mustard seeds
Couple of pinches asafoetida
2 Springs curry leaves
1 Tablespoon grated coconut
1 Teaspoon tamarind  pulp/1 Tablespoon grated green mango
Salt to taste
Water as needed

  • Heat ghee in a kadhai, add cumin and mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add asafoetida, green chilies and curry leaves. Fry for 30-40 secs.
  • Add chickpeas. Make sure the chickpeas are soaked for at least 5-6 hours for easy cooking. You can use the canned pre-soaked ones also.
  • Sprinkle grated coconut, tamarind pulp/green mango and mix well. Put a lid on and let the chickpeas cook, adding minimal water and stirring occasionally. The chickpeas should cook thoroughly without getting mushy so there's a bite to them. 

Serve as a side dish with roti/rice or enjoy as a snack!

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