Friday, January 1, 2010

Black Chickpeas Kalay Channay

Black chickpeas are just so hearty and tasty. They are best cooked in a pressure cooker. They also freeze well. To prepare, soak 1.5 cups of dried black chickpeas overnight. Strain. Put in pressure cooker, add 1 tbs salt, and cover with about 2 inches of fresh water. Cook on high heat for 3 whistles, then lower heat and cook on a low flame for about 5 more minutes.  Once the black chickpeas are done, strain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. The end result should be whole but tender black chickpeas that can be manipulated for cooking without breaking apart, but crush easily if you press between two fingers, so they will mash easily if pressed with a chappati while eating.

For the dressing:
3 tbs oil
5 dried red chiles
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp fresh green chile paste
(the ginger, garlic, and green chiles can be ground together to make a paste, in which case use a heaping tbs)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
10 fresh curry leaves
salt to taste
cooked black chickpeas
1 cup of cooking liquid
1 tbs lime juice

Heat oil in pot. Add in dried red chiles, mustard seeds, and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add in garlic, ginger, and chile pastes. When this turns golden, toss in the spice powders. Quickly stir in the curry leaves. Now add the cooked black chickpeas and stir around well to coat with the masala. Add in the reserved cooking liquid. Allow this to come to a boil. Turn off heat and add in a spinkle of salt---just a touch because the chickpeas have been salted in the pressure cooker and there is salt in the cooking liquid. Now add in the lime juice. Taste for salt and tanginess. Add more lime juice if needed. It should be very spicy and tangy.

Serve with hot chapattis or rice.

Matar Pullao Pea Pilaf

This recipe is for a delicious and mild tasting pea pullao. People of my husband's U.P. origin Pakistani background eat mild pullaos such as this for Sunday lunch with raita and pickles.

Rinse and soak 1.5 cups high quality basmati rice for ten minutes. In the meanwhile:

1.5 cups rinsed and soaked basmati rice
1.25 cups frozen peas
1 tbs ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp green chile paste (you can puree the ginger, garlic, and chiles together)
4-5 whole dried red chiles
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 pieces of cinnamon bark, about 1 inch each stick
7 cloves
2 big black cardamom (bari elaichi)
1 tsp lemon/lime juice
salt to taste, about 1 tbs
2 tbs oil
1 tbs ghee
3 cups water

Heat oil and ghee. On a high flame: Add in dried red chiles and stir them around for a moment. Toss in all of the whole spices. Once these sizzle, add in ginger, garlic, and green chile paste. Let the aromatic pastes turn golden (ensure it does not burn). Immediately pour in 2 cups of water. Remove the dried red chiles and set aside to use later as a garnish. Add in the lemon/lime juice and salt. Add in the soaked strained rice. Add in the remaining cup of water. Use this to ensure that all of the grains of soaked rice go into the pot during the transfer from their soaking vessel if you need to. Allow this to come to a boil. When it boils properly, add in the frozen peas. Allow it to boil again. Cover, then lower the heat to the lowest setting. Cook covered for 17-20 minutes. After this time, briefly open the pot to let excess steam escape, then recover and allow the rice to rest for 10 minutes with the flame off. After 10 minutes, fluff the rice gently with a fork.

Garnish with the fried dried red chiles, which people who want a little heat can eat along with the mild pullao. You should have a lightly seasoned, fluffy, emerald studded pea pullao. Serve with plain yoghurt or raita. Matar pullao can be eaten as a main dish, but also goes well with all types of curries.