I’ve been away from blogging for about two weeks, but it feels like ages. People might guess that I was mopey and I didn’t have anything to post but that was not the case friends (pun intended). In the last fortnight on and off I could see the fluctuations in the temperature here which I could also compare with my health, which was also going up and down but was largely down with the virus having fun in my body. Also, the younger kid was writing his first term papers and the house had become quiet to let him study. Being the mother I could feel the pressure of his studies hitting me as well. He needed me to be around all the time and help him with his difficulties and doubts. Fortunately he has his last exam today and I’m already elated that I can relax now…what a sense of relief!!!
While the kid studied, I would read a lot of books; fiction, romance and obviously cookbooks. The other day I had run out of the veggies and I had no mood to go out and shop. The lazy me soaked some chickpeas with no clarity or vision in my mind, of how I would cook it. I wanted to cook something different but had no idea how..
So after soaking the chickpeas I came and sat with the kid, flipping through the books as I couldn’t watch TV too . After flipping through some old Good food magazines, I picked up Camellia Panjabi’s 50 Great Curries Of India and I was so happy reading all of them, all over again. While I read, I landed on a recipe of lamb cooked in Pickled spices. After reading the recipe I was too tempted to try it in a vegetarian way. I asked myself, people make achaari paneer, achaari aloo, achaari bhindi, why can’t I try the spices with chickpeas? The thought itself exhilarated me and believe me friends I needed that sense of elation desperately, with all the pressure around. The thought was so intoxicating that I immediately went ahead and searched for all the spices and other ingredients. I realized that a skerrick of an ingredient was not available in the desired amount required for the recipe; I was short of yogurt, so I immediately searched for tomatoes and was happy to see a few of them sitting pretty in the refrigerator.
Bit by bit I garnered all the ingredients and laid them on the kitchen platform and geared myself to cook. Fortunately, I always have ginger, garlic and onion in the pantry no matter what else finishes, so I was kind of sorted with the recipe. The curry turned out superb, perfect to inebriate my spirits. It was well spiced, tangy and perfect to tickle the taste buds.
During the course of cooking I got a thought that the chickpeas with pickled spice blend might taste great with the paav, the thought led me to remove a portion of the dry chickpea achaari, with which I intended to make a sandwich later on. The Achaari Chickpea Sandwich was quite different & innovative. It turned out very tasty and the kid loved it.
CHICKPEAS IN PICKLED SPICES | ACHAARI CHANA
Soaking Time:4-6hrs | Preparation Time: 1hour | Cooking Time: 30mins | Serves: 6-8 | Difficulty Level: Moderate
3-1/2cups Cooked Chickpeas
4 medium sized tomatoes/ 250gms yogurt
8-10 baby potatoes (optional)
2 medium size red onions
a large handful of fresh coriander
6-8 green chilies (spicy version)
1/4tsp red chili powder (optional)
4-5 garlic flakes
2” piece ginger
salt to taste
about 1/2cup oil
1/2tsp dry mango powder (optional)
1-1/2tsp Fennel seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp onion seeds (kalounji)
3/4tsp mustard seeds
3/4tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
Wash the dry chickpeas (about 1-3/4cups) and soak them in water for 4-6 hours. Pressure cook them with some salt to taste and a pinch of soda bicarbonate, till tender. This takes about 25mins. What I normally do is that I let the cooker attain full pressure on high flam, then reduce the flame and cook it on low flame for about 15-20mins.
Dry roast the pickle spices on a low flame for 5mins, cool and grind them together. I have powdered here but one can keep it coarse too. Fill the spice mix in slit green chilies and the spice mix left after filling be kept aside to be used later.
Roughly chop the onion, tomatoes and coriander.
Grind together onion, garlic and cleaned ginger to a paste.
Similarly grind together tomatoes and coriander.
Heat oil and tip in the stuffed green chilies and sauté lightly for a few seconds.
Add the onion-ginger-garlic paste and sauté properly on low flame till oil separates.
Add turmeric, chili powder and the remaining spice mix and cook for a minute. Add the chili powder only if you believe that the green chilies are not spicy enough. Sauté for a few minutes.
Add the tomato-coriander paste and cook till done. Add salt to taste and dry mango powder. Cook till oil separates.
Tip in the boiled and drained chickpeas. The drained water should not be thrown as it is used later to make the gravy. Mix thoroughly and cook under cover for a few minutes. At this stage when the curry was dry, I removed a small portion to make the Achaari Chana Sandwich.
Add the halved potatoes (this is completely optional) and about 2cups of the drained chickpea water. Bring the gravy to a boil and cook after covering with a lid for about 15-20mins. One can keep the gravy thick or thin as per their choice.
For The Achaari Chana Sandwich
Take two whole wheat bread slices and spread a thick layer of achaari chana on one bread slice. Top the chana with sliced onions and carrot juliennes. Sprinkle some salt and pepper. Cover it with the second bread slice. Heat a panini grill and apply some olive spray. Grill the sandwich. Serve with some sauce/ green chutney and salad.
A few chickpeas recipes that you can try ..