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  • Khata Chana
    Tangy Chickpeas

    YIELD: 9 CUPS / 2.1 L
    TOOLS: You’ll need a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L stockpot or Dutch oven with a lid; a small mixing bowl; a fine strainer; a food processor; and a 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan.
    NOTE: If you don’t have tamarind pulp, substitute 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste diluted in ¼ cup / 60 mL of water. You can also substitute canned and drained chickpeas, but the flavor and consistency of dried chickpeas is hard to beat. You can purchase chaat masala from most Indian grocery stores or my website, indianasapplepie.com.

    This dish reminds me of the chickpeas I used to eat as a little girl by the lake in Chandigarh. Hot, spicy, and tangy, it was even better served in a little cone of newspaper. Be aware: This dish has quite the kick to it. Feel free to tone the chiles down, but if you like spicy food, this will most definitely hit the spot.

    • 3 cups /570 g kabuli chana (dried white chickpeas), picked over, washed, soaked overnight, and drained
    • 8 cups /1.9 L water
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) cube dried tamarind pulp
    • 1 cup /240 mL boiling water
    • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1–3 whole fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed
    • 3 tablespoons /45 mL vegetable oil
    • ½ teaspoon hing (asafetida)
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
    • 2 teaspoons red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 2 tablespoons Garam Masala
    • ¼ cup /60 mL plain, unsweetened yogurt (dairy, soy, or coconut)
    • Juice of 1 medium lemon
    • 2–3 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and sliced lengthwise
    • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon Chaat Masala
    • 1 (1-inch / 3-cm) piece ginger, peeled and cut in matchsticks
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 medium red onion, sliced into thin rings, divided
    • ¼ cup /5 g chopped fresh cilantro
    • Naan or Bhatura for serving
    1. Combine the kabuli chana and the 8 cups / 1.9 L water in a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L or larger stockpot or Dutch oven over medium–high heat and bring to a boil.
    2. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the chickpeas soften. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to cool slightly while you prep the remaining ingredients. You can also cook the chickpeas in a 3½-quart /3.5-L slow cooker. Use 3 cups / 570 g dried kabuli chana and 5 cups /1.2 L water and cook on high for 4 hours.
    3. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the chickpeas soften. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to cool slightly while you prep the remaining ingredients. You can also cook the chickpeas in a 3½-quart /3.5-L slow cooker. Use 3 cups / 570 g dried kabuli chana and 5 cups /1.2 L water and cook on high for 4 hours.
    4. Once the soaking time is up, use the back of a fork to break down the pulp and squeeze the liquid out of it. Discard the pulp, seeds, and fiber and, using a fine strainer, strain the juice. Set aside the juice.
    5. Drain the kabuli chana and reserve the chickpeas and cooking liquid in separate bowls. Keep about 4 cups / 950 mL of cooking liquid and discard the rest; if there’s not quite that much, make up the difference with water. Set aside.
    6. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the onion, the coarsely chopped ginger, the garlic, and the whole fresh chiles into a smooth paste. Take your time: Process, scrape down the sides, and process again, until the mixture forms a watery paste. Set aside.
    7. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm the oil. Add the hing, turmeric, and cumin seeds and cook for 40 seconds, until the cumin seeds sizzle and turn reddish-brown.
    8. Carefully add the onion paste from Step 6 to the sauté pan and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, until slightly browned. Remove from the heat and add the coriander, the red chile powder, the Garam Masala, the yogurt, and the reserved tamarind juice. Stir to combine.
    9. Return the sauté pan to medium–high heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Add the reserved cooking liquid from the kabuli chana and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens and the oil starts to separate and collect at the top. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
    10. Add the lemon juice, the sliced fresh chiles, the black pepper, the Chaat Masala, the ginger chopped into matchsticks, and the salt and stir well. Add the reserved kabuli chana and ½ of the ringed onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the heat. This is an amazing sauce all by itself. Experiment by swapping out chickpeas for other main ingredients, from veggies to meat.
    11. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining onion and cilantro. Serve immediately with the Naan or Bhatura.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

© 2016 Alta Editions LLC.