Khatta Meeta Choley. (Garbanzo Beans cooked in a tangy tamarind gravy)

Punjabi Channa Masala has always been a favourite dish close to my heart, and we make it very often as a prepare ahead party dish and a dish to take for long travels by train and by road. Its always a pleasure to travel by train from one city to the other, with family, having loved ones meet you at the station and take auto rickshaws to their respecive homes.   I miss those days of train journeys overnight, packing our clothes  with great gusto, and of course the food. Amma always used to make soft parathas and Onion Thokku  for train travel as it keeps without spoiling . She would have spent hours frying the onion thokku in a kadai slathered in oil.  I loved this version with the meetha from the imli sweet chutney. Almost reminded me of the green ragada gravy that I have always wanted to have in the bangalore roadside stall, but never ever got approval for!!!

INGREDIENTS:

1 Medium sized Onion coarsely chopped.

6 cloves of garlic chopped.

4 Dried Red Chullies.

3 pieces of ginger each 2 inch long and 1/2 inch thick.

1 Tsp jeera.

2 Tbsp Dhania Powder.

2 Tsp Salt.

2 Tsp Sugar.

1 Tsp Ground Fennel Seeds or Saunf.

1/2 Tsp Ground Turmeric.

1/2 Tsp Ground Cardamom Powder.

3 Cups Garbanzo beans or chickpeas or White Channa Cooked.

2 Tsp Tamarind Concentrate.

2 Tbsp Sweet Tamarind Chutney.

A hndful of chopped cilantro.

PREPARATION:

  • Soak the white channa for about 6-8 hours and cook with a little salt in the pressure cooker for about 2-3 whistles. Set aside.
  • In a mixer jar, combine the onion, garlic, red chilies and the ginger and pulsed until well mixed. Add a tad of oil if you need to.
  • In a  large skillet, heat the 2 tsp of ghee and add the jeera and wait until it sizzles for a couple of seconds. Now add the pulsed mixture in to the hot oil and stir fry for about 6-7 minutes until the paste has become almost reddish brown. This is the base of this gravy dish.
  • Stir in the dhania powder, salt, sugar, fennel powder, turmeric, and ground cardamom and mix until the spices are cooked. At this point make sure that the spices are well mixed but not burnt.
  • When the raw smell leaves, add the cooked channa along with the water and mix in well. Add the tamarind paste and the sweet tamarind chutney and you will find that the channa gravy becomes a dull brown color.
  • At this point check the gravy for sweet and spice and salt . If the sweet is too much, add a little bit of red chilli powder to adjust the taste
  • Keep stirring and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat at this point and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
  • Stir in the cilantro and serve hot with Tiranga  Pulav and a slice of lemon and a garnish of chopped onions.
  • This dish is best the DAY AFTER as the spices all settle down and come together in this dish.