Easy to cook, explosive flavor and indulgent experience – if you have ever eaten Pindi Chana, you know what I am talking about. For many years, my mom cooked this dish without knowing how to give it that dark hue to the sauce. Thanks to the cookery shows and our Punjabi neighbor, my mom learned the right way to cook this Kali Chana masala just like it’s made in Punjab. Spicy yet not overpowering, and creamy yet not very rich and slightly tangy as it should be. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a perfect Kali Pindi Chana masala
Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are frequent in most Indian kitchens. And, I always prefer using quality beans in my recipes. The US Dry Bean Council is the global leader in producing best-quality, dry beans because of their state-of-the-art harvesting equipment and best handling and production practices. The US Dry Bean Council is known to grow more than 10 bean varieties renowned for their health benefits and nutritional qualities. Many of these beans or “pulses” [a catch-all phrase for legumes] have a significant culture and culinary influence as well, which is why the US Dry Bean Council has a growing interest in ethnic cuisines and why we’re celebrating World Pulses Day!
But in eastern India, where I am from, eating chickpeas was not an everyday affair. We love our chickpea curries, but that’s only for special days. But things changed after I migrated to southern India, and my culinary journey took a deep dive into a melange of city culture that had a fair share of Indian delicacies from all over the country. That’s when I was introduced to the best South Indian food, the delicious West Indian meals, and the very best North Indian Chole-kulcha or soft Indian bread served with this Kali Chana or Pindi Chole curry.
In most Indian metropolitans, food is largely fashioned as a culture rather than a regional thing. Thanks to the melting pot of intermingling cultures and food festivals, major Indian cities boast a diverse foodie scene catering to the needs of every palate. There are unconventional Indo-Chinese street foods and also many authentic Indian dishes just like this chickpea curry or Kali Chana often served with the softest kulcha naan or bhatura.
While most week-days I stayed busy with college work and assignments, Sundays were always special. I have the best memories of enjoying this North Indian chickpea curry with kulcha almost every other weekend. That’s why I took this recipe to my mom in eastern India, and how her endeavor to create the perfect chickpea dish began. And when my mom found the right way to cook this dish, it was the best-ever food experience, and shared with the people I love the most. But that was some 15-years ago. Now that I have a family with North Indian heritage, I often make this Punjabi Kali Chana or Pindi Chole and try to recreate the same food experience that I enjoyed decades ago.
Thanks to my mom, who gallantly passed the recipe without a second thought, I gathered my courage to cook up this curry a few years ago. After a few hits and misses, I finally made the curry that I always enjoyed and have its fondest memories treasured. By participating in this campaign with the US Dry Bean Council for World Pulses Day, I have the opportunity to share my best, family-approved Chickpea curry recipe with you all. I highly recommend you to try this once and you will fall in love.