Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pindi Chana: Chickpea Curry from India

Pindi Chana is a strong and spicy chickpea curry recipe from the city of Rawalpindi in the heart of Punjab in Pakistan. It was created prior to the partition of India and Pakistan, hence the name Pindi. This dish is very popular in northern India. It is prepared in a potpourri of dry spices, such as anardana powder, and amchoor or dried mango powder, which gives a strong and pleasantly bitter taste.

Chickpeas are a staple of the Middle East, Africa, and Indian cuisine. The two best-known varieties are desi chana and Kabuli Chana. You can also find 21 other varieties in different colors and different shapes. The wild version of chickpeas is found only in parts of southeastern Turkey and Syria. It is likely to be first cultivated there, about 10,500 years ago. Chickpeas are legumes have a high nutritional value, and were part of the agricultural culture that arose from the Neolithic.

The Desi Chana is small with dark seeds and rough skin. It is grown mainly in India, Bangladesh, and areas of Pakistan, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Iran. The Kabuli Chana is lighter colored. It has larger seeds and is cultivated mainly in southern Europe, North Africa, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Chile.

The Desi Chana is also known as Bengal gram or Kala chana or chole. The Kabuli chole or Safed Chana is believed to have come from Afghanistan. The Desi chole is probably the oldest, as it closely resembles the seeds found both in archeological sites and is the wild ancestor.

Desi chickpeas have a markedly higher fiber content than the Kabuli chola. The desi type is used to make Chana Dal or Chana Masala, which is a recipe for split chickpeas. It can be made with dried chickpeas. The chickpeas need to be soaked the day before, but for the sake of simplicity and to save time, canned chickpeas are often used. If you use dry chickpeas, you must soak them the night before and boil them before using them in the recipe that I propose to you next.

The Pindi Chana is a healthy meal when served with Kulcha or Naan and a green salad. It can be taken as the main course. I take it as an accompaniment to tandoori chicken or mutton kofta and accompanied by naan or rice.
Kalyan Panja
Kalyan Panja is a photographer and a travel writer sharing stories and experiences through photographs and words