Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two Chickpeas White and Black and Two Curries

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

The food I cook everyday in the kitchen does not closely resemble the food I grew up with. The basic methods and techniques are the same but a lot has changed. Back home elaborate gravies with vegetables or beans was not an every day thing. In fact it was rare. The masala grinding was done for chicken/goat or fish dishes and these were weekend affairs for the most part.

Most of the dishes made everyday were lentils or dal based. In detail in this post.

The gravies that I prepare today make use of onion,ginger and garlic for the basic gravy and the addition of tomatoes or coconuts or tamarind pulp. This is a technique I have acquired trying to create gravies that were enjoyed on visits to restaurants. This method of gravy preparation is common it seems to North Indian cooking were blended onion is used as a base for a lot of gravies and curries.

For me it all started with learning to cook Channa Masala. I first started making this dish blending onions to a paste along with ginger, garlic paste and perfecting the "bhoona". It took forever to brown the onions and see the oil leave the sides. I tried chopping the onions fine and sauteing them, this cooked much faster but the onions bit could be noticed and the chickpeas and onions stood out separately like they had a quarrel. Finally the technique that best works is to chop the onions,garlic and ginger in the food processor and use a pressure cooker. This method works the best and it is a real time saver. We could add energy saver to the list by all means. Once I learnt to cook a decent Channa Masala I moved on to trying more exotic gravies.

Purple cabbage

The first of the gravies here is the traditional Channa Masala with white chick peas. The second is a gravy with black channa but using cabbage to create the gravy. This technique I learned from my cousin. His mom, my aunt uses this technique to generate gravy for dry kheema mutton. This is a brilliant idea for making side dishes when you are not looking forward to blending and frying and the whole bit. A super duper way to use up that last piece of cabbage lying around in the fridge.

Channa Masala


Serves: 4
1. 2 Cups of soaked White Chick Peas cooked in a pressure cooker for 2 sounds
2. 1/2 - 3/4 onion chopped in a food processor
3. 4 garlic and an inch piece of ginger chopped in a food processor (if desired add
green chilies to the mix)
4. 1/2 tbsp chilli powder
5. 2 tsp coriander powder 1/2 tsp cumin powder
6. 1 tsp amchur powder or 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
7. 1 1/2 large tomatoes run through the food processor to be mashed completely
8. coriander leaves for garnish
9. 2 -3 tsp oil
10. salt to taste
11. curry leaves and mustard seeds for seasoning

1. In a pressure cooker add oil and when hot, add the seasonings.
2. Add the chopped onion and saute till they become brown and the raw smell is completely gone.
3. Add the chopped ginger and garlic and saute for a few seconds
4. Add all the powders but the amchur and saute for another second
5. Now add the tomato and let it come to a boil.
6. Now add the cooked chickpeas and 3/4th of the coriander leaves and give a good mix.
7. Add the amchur powder and if required 1/2 cup of water and cook for 1 sound or about 6 minutes. Turn off the heat
8. Garnish with the coriander leaves on top.

Black Channa with Cabbage


This gravy can be made with or without the optional ingredients. The milder taste from leaving out the powders is delightful in itself.

Serves: 4
1. 2 Cups of soaked black chickpeas
2. 1/4 onion chopped fine (optional)
3. 3-4 green chilies chopped and a handful of coriander leaves
4. 2 cups of chopped purple cabbage (green will work fine as well)
5. mustard,cumin, fennel seeds and curry leaves for seasoning
6. 1 tsp of oil
7. 1/2 tbsp curry powder/paste or roasted coriander,cumin and a bit of clove and cinnamon (optional)
8. 1/2 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
9. salt to taste

1. In a pressure cooker heat oil and add the seasonings and saute the onions if using and the green chillies and coriander leaves.
2. Add the cabbage and saute them for about 4-5 minutes
3. Now add the curry powder and mix, add in the tomato paste.
4. Mix in the soaked channa and let it cook for 6-8 minutes.
5. Add salt and about 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 2-3 sounds.

Serve with rice or chapatis.

This I realize could be an entry to Susan's My Legume Affair
at briciole by Simona who hosts the fifth helping of the event.


  1. i've seen a few jain recipes where they substitute onion with cabbage in a recipe. they fry it just they way we fry onions.

  2. Never heard of adding cabbage this way. Looks lovely. Here its raining cats and dogs and I crave for a rasam with piping hot rice.

  3. Same here, I grew up eating different food mainly coconut based curries. Now that has reduced a lot. I love chana masala anytime. The black chana cabbage is new to me.

  4. I'm so glad someone else said they have trouble with the onions browning, they seem to take forever with me too! Same with the oil - I've come to the conclusion we use too little oil and there's none left to leave the sides!

  5. Wow that is new adding purple cabbage to chickpea, really inventive.
    Both oof them looks delicious. I would prefer to taste with the cabbage as i have never had them.

  6. Both curries looks fabulous..delicious..love anything with chickpeas, simply prefect for me..would love to finish both the bowls rite now!!

  7. yeah, my intro to north indian cooking was through the channa masala too :)

    I'll give the cabbage based curry a try. sounds interesting. is there a difference in the taste?

    About the bhuno, the easiest thing that works for me is chop up the onions finely and make giner garlic paste and saute in the pressure cooker for 3-4 mins..then put 2 tbsp water and pressure cook it without whistle for 3-4 mins.... open and stir for a min.. perfect bhuno!

  8. Both dishes look good and I am sure they taste good too. Thanks for participating.

  9. Purple cabbage and balck chickpeas in a gravy sounds and looks good.
    I've got to try this.
    I make a cabbage and chickpea dry preparation which we like.

  10. This is really new to me...if the cabbage is apt substitute for onions,then to hell with onions that brings tears to novice cook's eyes...would really like to experiment with cabbage

    Thanks for sharing !


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