Kala Chana (Black Chickpeas) Curry
Updated: Apr 28
Desi chana curry. Tari wale kale chane. Tari wale desi chane.
Even though these are brown chickpeas, literally translated they’re known as Black Chickpeas. And they make some of the most delicious curries that I have eaten. I’d even go as far as comparing it to a mutton curry! Only, Kala Chana Curry tastes so much better.
Black / Brown Chickpeas are super nutritious. Good source of plant based / vegan protein, rich in iron and calcium, high in fibre and good carbs, low fat and glycemic index… just, good for you. A ‘must have’ in a vegan / vegetarian diet (unless ofcourse, you have specific dietary requirements).
In many Northern Indian homes, Kala Chana Curry is prepared as a thin gravy; and a portion of it is eaten as soup, given its health benefits. The rest of the black chickpeas in the Kala Chana Curry are then mashed and added back to the curry, to thicken it; and served with ghee-laden chapatis and rice.
This recipe of Kala Chana (black chickpeas) Curry is not as runny / soupy as I mentioned above. Thin curry nonetheless. Very different from this recipe of Chole Masala.
New to Indian Curries or would like to switch things up? Try these simple, no-fuss, homestyle Indian Curries from WhiskMixStir.
Lauki Kofta Curry (another vegan / vegetarian gem and must have)
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This recipe of Kala Chana (black chickpeas) Curry is naturally gluten free, vegan and vegetarian.
Time taken: 30-35 minutes active cooking
Plus time for soaking the black chickpeas / kale chane
Ingredients to make Kala Chana (Black Chickpeas) Curry
1 cup Black Chickpeas / Kale Chane
3 onions, medium sized
3 tomatoes, medium sized
2 green chillies
1 tbsp ginger paste / grated ginger
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds / jeera
6-8 black peppercorns / kali mirch
¼ tsp turmeric powder / haldi
2 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp coriander powder / dhania powder
1 tbsp red chilli powder
A good pinch of asafoetida / hing
¼ tsp black salt / kala namak (optional)
Salt to taste
4 cups water
Method of making Kala Chana (Black Chickpeas) Curry
Wash and soak the kale chane / black chickpeas for 6-8 hours or overnight.
Soaking black chickpeas (or any beans) ensures they’re softer when cooked and helps reduce the cooking time.
If you’re short on time, soak kale chane / black chickpeas in warm (more towards hot) water for atleast 2 hours.
Let’s make the onion tomato masala. Roughly chop the onions and blend them to a fine paste.
Heat the cooking oil in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds and black peppercorns. Once these crackle, add the onion paste. Cook the onion paste on medium high heat till light brown. Add ginger paste. Mix well and cook for another minute.
Next, roughly chop the tomatoes and green chillies. Blend to a fine paste and add it to the browned onions.
Cook the onion tomato masala till the oil separates.
Note: this onion tomato masala can be made ahead / batch cooked and used as and when required. Lasts well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and up to 6 months in the freezer.
Drain the soaked black chickpeas and add them to the onion tomato masala. Mix well. Add salts and the spice powders, all except half of the garam masala quantity (basically, add only 1 tbsp of garam masala for now).
Mix well again. Add water and pressure cook the tari wale kale chane for 2 whistles on high heat and 4 whistles on medium low heat. As always, let the steam settle naturally. This allows the cooking process to continue, even when the pressure cooker is off the heat.
When you open the pressure cooker, the kale chane / black chickpeas should be soft, not mushy. The above cooking timeline will ensure the black chickpeas are cooked just right, surely not overcooked. If they are however, undercooked, pressure cook again for another whistle (or use your discretion).
Add the remaining 1 tbsp of garam masala now and give the black chickpeas curry a quick boil, no lid. Just for a minute or so. If you’re serving the Tari wale Kale Chane later, add the garam masala when you heat it before serving.
If you’ve been following my blog WhiskMixStir and trying out my recipes, you will know that I usually like to add half of the garam masala towards the end for layered flavours.
This recipe of kala chana curry will be thin, runny, soupy… that’s how it’s supposed to be. If you’d like to thicken it, remove some of the cooked black chickpeas from the curry and mash / blend to a paste. Add these back to the kala chana curry and boil for a minute.
And if you’d like to serve it Northern Indian style, as soup; add another cup of water before pressure cooking the Kala Chana Curry.
Taste and adjust flavours. Garnish Kala Chana (black chickpeas) Curry with fresh coriander and serve. You could also add a squeeze of lime / lemon when serving or to each individual portion.
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