Sunday, March 13, 2011

what I did with the black chana

We recently discovered a Middle Eastern market near our local food co-op.  The market appears to be run by folks from some part of the Middle East or Northern Africa, but they have a large Indian clientele.  Everyone in the market, besides us, was Indian.  And so they carry a lot of what I think of as Indian ingredients, though I'm sure they may also be used in Middle Eastern cooking.  They carried our beloved harissa (a hot sauce used in Tunisia).  It's not quite the quality of the harissa I brought home from Tunisia, but it will do.

dried black chick peas


Among some of the other things I got excited about were the black chick peas (black chana or chana desi).  I've never cooked with them before and am can't wait to try them out.  I looked for recipes online but didn't find any that looked exactly like something I'd like.  So what I'm making is a sort of amalgam of about a dozen recipes that I looked at. 

I soaked two cups of the chana desi last night with one bay leaf, three whole cloves, and one cinnamon stick.  ( I would have thrown some cardamon pods into the mix, as most recipes called for them, but despite climbing around on my cabinets for 10 minutes, I could not find my cardamon).


soaked black chick peas

Here are the chick peas after they've soaked for about 16 hours.

chick peas boiling
Then, I boiled the black chick peas with the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves for about 1.5 hours.   Meantime, I diced an onion and 2 cloves of garlic. I put the onion and garlic with some salt in the mortar and pestle and smashed up to a paste.  

tomato and onion mixture
Then, I heated two tablespoons of ghee in a frying pan. To that I added, cayenne, a dash of cardamon, a dash of  garam marsala, ginger, cumin, and pepper.  I let those simmer for a few minutes and then added the garlic onion paste.  I sauted that for another few minutes until the onions practically dissolved and were a light brown.  Then I added a can of diced organic tomatoes and simmered for 1/2 an hour.

Finally, I added the tomato mixture to the chick peas.



This dish was spicy rich and comforting.  I will definitely make it again.

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