With almost the same nutritional values and taste, if you get past its thicker outer skin (which in my opinion is not a huge hurdle to cross) Kala Chana or otherwise known as bengal gram is a close cousin of garbanzo beans or chickpeas. It might still need a lot of work to do to achieve the respect it deserves in the western world but it’s definitely a very common household name in Indian kitchens. I have fond memories of slurping spoonfuls of spicy kala chana masala my dadi (grandma) made. Curry would be thin and flowing almost watery but spicy, with nuggets of meaty kala chana. Was supposed to be eaten with white steamed rice and if you go by dadi’s suggestion, with a dollop of ghee, which will slowly melt away and mix into the curry making it ever so comforting hugging your belly. I’d eat a couple bowlfuls as is before reaching out for rice.
Although nothing could beat dadi’s recipe but the one, one of my neighbors made growing up was a close second to dadi’s. Her’s had nearly no gravy and thick masala paste would be hugging every chana in the bowl. It went better with rice or even hot sizzling parathas because it would hold better mixed with rice in a spoon or wrapped around a piece of paratha. Yup, divine again!
The recipe I am sharing today is very close to our neighbor’s. Although I still like the soupy one better but this is what my family prefers so this is what I make more often. To get a soupy consistency though, all you have to do is add more water to the curry depending on how runny you like yours. Try this recipe for spicy and tangy masala marrying meaty kala chana. I promise it’ll make you fall in love with this humble bean.
1 1/2 cups dry Kala Chana (black chickpea) (soaked in water overnight)
1 1/2 cups Curry Paste Please follow the recipe here for the curry paste.
Salt to taste.
1 tablespoon Amchoor (dry mango powder)
1/4 cup Cilantro (chopped)
Add 4 cups water to soaked and then drained kala chana. Add salt. Pressure cook or boil the chickpeas until cooked through.
Add curry paste and amchoor (dry mango powder) to the cooked chickpeas. Simmer for 10 minutes until the masala mixes well to the chickpeas. Adjust water based on how thin you want the gravy.
Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot.