This is a quick and easy version of a street food classic. Recipes across India will vary but one ingredient remains constant – black chickpeas or “Kala Channa”. You can buy black chickpeas from all Indian grocery shops and usually also in the world food aisle of supermarkets. I would suggest using the tinned versions because the dried peas need soaking overnight and then boiling til tender which is a long process. If you opt for the latter route, boil up a large amount and then freeze them in portion sizes.
You’ll need the following for 2 hungry people as a main course
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 3 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 1.5 tsp mustard seeds
- 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
- 5-6 curry leaves (optional)
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp red chilli powder or chilli flakes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1.5 tsp ground coriander
- 2 x 400g tin black chickpeas
- juice of a lemon
- 1 tbsp grated jaggery or one 1 level tbsp soft brown sugar
- 1 tsp amchur (dried mango powder) – optional
- 5 sprigs fresh coriander , chopped
To make it
- Puree the chopped tomatoes and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan that has a lid. You need to heat it until a mustard seed starts to fizzle and pop so the best way to know is add a few seeds, wait, add a few more, wait. If they fizzle and pop then add the rest of the seeds, cumin seeds and bay leaves in quick succession and give the pan a little shake so they’ve all had a chance to pop.
- Add the onions and stir til they are evenly coated in the oil.
- Add the dry spices and salt with a few tbsp of water and stir with a fork til everything is evenly distributed. Don’t use a wooden spoon as the spices will stick to it.
- Cover and leave on a very low heat for 5 minutes. The onions will be soft and the spices will not be powdery to taste.
- Add the pureed tomatoes, chickpeas and jaggery or sugar stir well.
- Cover and leave for 15 minutes then turn off the heat, add the lemon juice and amchur and stir well.
- Finally garnish with the fresh coriander and serve with plain rice, naan bread or on top of a thick slice of toasted sourdough bread.