Kala Channa

Scrumptious, nourishing, easy to make, this Indian snack food can be served hot or cold as a salad. Growing up in delhi, I loved eating kala channa. Lunch time had many take out options. The street vendor version was my absolute favourite. The recipe is much like Indie music. Every vendor has his own delectable recipe plus the love that goes into each one’s cooking is mostly what got me hooked on street food.

Kala channa is a must try. I made this for my mom who’s visiting. I have to confess I was a bit concerned as I proferred her a plate of these brown goodies with some chapatti. She’s a light eater & could easily live on just salads! She’s so light, we feel if a strong wind came along sometime she might get blown away 🙂 just kidding, and just trying to make a point of how a light eater can also love chickpeas and digest them easily with some cooking tips below.IMG_0546

1 cup kala channa (small brown chickpeas)
½ cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped tomatoes
Spice Mix
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp chopped fresh garlic
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch hing
1 tbsp coconut oil
Pots n pans
Pressure Cooker
Wok or fry pan

Serves 4

• Wash, rinse and soak chickpeas in 2 cups water overnight. SOS a minimum of 4 hours and upto 8 hours will make chickpeas easy to cook.

• Next morning chickpeas would have doubled. Rinse out the soaked water completely(save it for your plants if you can), cover chickpeas in 1.5 cups water and cook in pressure cooker till soft. Let cool.

• Meanwhile heat oil in wok. Add cumin, onions, ginger & garlic. Saute till onions are completely cooked. Don’t I repeat don’t skimp this part thinking! the onions will cook anyway. They need to cook properly now so don’t sacrifice flavour in the interests of time. Adding some salt to your onions will prevent burning.

• Once onions are cooked, stir in turmeric, cayenne and hing.  Add tomatoes and let them cook.

• You’ll know tomatoes are done when oil separates from the entire mixture. And some seriously intoxicating aromas assail your taste buds.

• Time to add the chickpeas. Drain any excess water from soaked chickpeas(again storing them for a later drink with awesome nutrients for your plants), before adding chickpeas and salt to the spice mix in pan.

• Let everything cook together till all the water has completely evaporated. Everything should come together in one nice mass.

• Garnish with fresh coriander leaves if using. Serve by itself or with some chapatti.

Health benefits
Lots of research has gone into learning more about this humble bean. From ancient times to Dr. Oz, there is only good to be told about this bean. Speaking from personal experience I feel completely full when I eat a meal with chickpeas versus one that’s carb heavy. As a vegetarian I find carb options in plenty.. But a carb diet alone doesn’t give me that full sense of completion. Enter chickpeas, with their protein content they are able to satisfy and satiate my hunger like no other.

So what’s the secret to making these beans digestible for the weakest constitution. Consider:

1. Soak chickpeas for at least 4 hours and upto 8 hours. Some really good stuff can happen as a result. Soaking can reduce the beans’ raffinose-type oligosaccharides. This in turn may make beans easier to digest and fewer problems with gassiness.

2. Beans are a healthy source of protein and fiber, but they have phytic acid – phytic acid binds to minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium, and manganese in the gastrointestinal tract, unless it’s removed by soaking, sprouting, and/or fermentation. Bound minerals generally can’t be absorbed in the intestine, and too many bound minerals can lead to mineral deficiencies. So phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors are going to be in your gut causing gas and whatever other digestive issues happen when you eat something that isn’t particularly digestible. Soaking beans in water makes them swell and begin the slow process of sprouting which makes the nutrients available.

3. If you see bubble scum on the surface when you soak beans, don’t worry. That is the gas formed in our gut when we consume them un-soaked and why people resort to artificial means such as Beano to decrease abdominal gas and bloating. Just drain and rinse the beans until all the scum is washed away.

Of course you already know that presoaking beans will reduce cooking time. On average, 4 hours of soaking reduces cooking time by approximately 25%. This reduced cooking time can mean less loss of water-soluble nutrients due to reduced time of exposure to heat and water.


–soul of spice–


21 Comments Add yours

  1. I am sure your Mom was so happy to visit with you and have you prepare a special dish for her.

    1. soulofspice says:

      Thanks Jovina! She was & she now proudly tells my aunts to check my site out. They are such good cooks already…and mom also checks my blog when she wants some fresh ideas…. Isn’t that incredibly cute for an almost 70 year old to do ….

  2. This looks wonderful, although to be honest I often opt for the tinned chickpea options – do you find there is a massive difference between dried and tinned? Another one for my to do list. Best Torie

    1. soulofspice says:

      Torie, I tried the canned version just one time, & found them to be too soft 🙂 probably because no idea when they were canned..they can last forever. in cans. so I usually steer clear of canned beans, plus the chemicals in it to preserve & the aluminum metal!! Besides I don’t think I’ve seen the smaller chickpea(kala channa) is available in cans.. I hope you get to try out the home soaked & cooked version.

  3. Ally says:

    Oh that looks delicious! I’m going to soak my chickpeas now so I can make it tomorrow.
    Your post was also very informative and interesting.

    1. Ally says:

      I made it this morning. The kitchen smelt amazing. The cayenne pepper gives it a real spicy kick. I will heat it up for dinner, and serve it with rice and natural-flavoured coconut yoghurt. Can’t wait!

      1. soulofspice says:

        Ally, soooo glad kala channa works for all age groups, your kids and my mom & us in between..that coconut yoghurt sounds divine..do you make it at home.. or do you have a good source.. I’ve been looking for one..

    2. soulofspice says:

      Thanks Ally !! Sorry for my late response, I was away on beach vacation in sunny caribbean, and now at work in the Rocky Mountains in calgary. talk about contrasts..:) .Do let me know how your chickpeas turned out..

      1. Ally says:

        Wow! No apology necessary. What a wonderful destination for a holiday! The Rocky Mountains sound pretty amazing too.
        I have made Kala Channa twice so far. We love it!

        The second time I made it (yesterday), I only used 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and it was perfect for the kids. Even my 4 yr old loves it. Thank you.

      2. soulofspice says:

        weather is just amazing in calgary.. & oh yes it can get spicy. thanks for reminding me. I like to serve finely diced hot pepper separately. You can either sprinkle it raw like I did in the pix, or remove the kick by sauteing in a little oil, YUM! so those who need spice get it & others can have the same delicious flavour without getting a spice kick 🙂

  4. I love Kala Channa!

    1. soulofspice says:

      Thanks, Me too 🙂 Im sure it will overtake regular chickpeas in popularity very soon !!!

  5. Thank you for linking to my post…I’m enjoying your lovely blog and looking for a source of kala channa chick peas!! This recipe looks delicious! I ‘Liked’ your page, too 🙂

    1. soulofspice says:

      you’re welcome 🙂 I learnt a lot about soaking and beano in your well written post.. Thanks for liking my post. Hope you’ll visit again soon..

      1. Sidramalik says:

        I made channa curry just two days ago and my son loved it. I did not add poteotas this time. The taste was good but the color wasn’t as good. Maybe I put in too little oil…. Yours look great!

  6. Ken says:

    Not very experienced with pressure cooker – how longs should I cook the peas?

    1. soulofspice says:

      do you have a crock pot or a slow cooker. here’s a link on how to. http://thewimpyvegetarian.com/my-pantry/cooking-chickpeas-from-a-dried-form/

      1. Ken says:

        Reply I have both pressure cooker and crock pot…thank you for the link it was very helpful!

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