Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Sookha Kala Chana ~ Dry Black Chickpeas


I am on a quest to lose weight. Not mine, the husband's. It is not that I don't have anything to lose. I have enough, more than enough. Only trying to lose someone else's weight is more easier than your own. That way you are not the one giving up the lone rasgulla in the refrigerator

In this pursuit I try to pack him a lunch almost every work day. He thinks the amount I pack is not really sufficient.My friends think so, his mother too but I don't concur.
It is not that I pack a measly quantity, it is just that it has a lower carb portion, which does not satiate our carb-craving souls.

Like a true Bharatiya Nari, I pack the same lunch for myself too. And truth be told some days that lunch leaves me hungry too.

So we take along a fruit, a yogurt, some nuts(the tree kinds not real ones) to snack on

But not being the fruity kinds or the super-healthy kinds that leaves us desiring something more.

As a solution, I try to take along a legume-y something as a snack on some days, like a sprouted green moong salad or a sookha kala chana (dry black chickpea curry). Something spicy to keep us far far away from the vending machine and with enough dietary fiber to satisfy our good carbohydrate craving.

Kala Chana (Black chickpea) is a smaller, darker variety of Chickpeas grown mostly in the Indian subcontinent, Ethiopia, Mexico and Iran

Sookha Kala Chana brings back fond memories. Of the times spent in the state from where the greatest Indian Empire(Mauryas) originated. Memories of Thekua on the day of Chath Puja, loads and loads of sweet dry thekua sent by neighboring homes. And Poori and Sookha Kala chana in many of my friend's home as part of a prashad on any other Puja day. I am not sure of the origin of this sookha kala chana, I guess it has a UP heritage as I had it mostly at my friends' who hailed from there


This particular preparation of Sookha Kala Chana(dry black chickpea curry) sans onion is simple, earthy, the ajwain(carrom seeds) lending a very distinct flavor, satisfying a mid-morning or mid-afternoon craving to the hilt

This goes to Susan's MLLA 10, hosted by Coco Cooks. This dish can be served as a lovely starter when the dinner theme is Indian or Middle Eastern


Sookha Kala Chana ~ Dry Black ChickPea curry

How I Did It

Wash 1 and some cup(I used a little more than cup) of black chickpeas(kala chana) well and soak in a large pot of water overnight. They swell to almost 2-3 times their size. Keep that in mind when choosing a container to soak

Next day drain the black chickpeas(which would have doubled up by now) and cook them in a pressure cooker with a little salt. When you put them in the pressure cooker cook with more than double the water. I didn't note the time to cook, will update once I do that. But the chickpeas should be cooked to a soft consistency. If you don't have a pressure cooker, it will take a while to get cooked but you can do that in a regular pot.

Heat Oil in a deep frying pan or Kadhai

Flavor the oil with 1/2 tsp of Asafoetida/Hing and 2 tsp of Carrom Seeds/Ajwain

Add 1 fat clove of finely minced garlic and 5 finely chopped green chilli(adjust according to your heat level)

Once you get the flavor of garlic add 2 tsp of ginger paste or 2 tsp of finely julienned ginger. Fry for a minute

Add the cooked Kala Chana(sans the water) and mix well with the masala. Fry for a minute or two.

Add 2 tsp of Corriander pwd/Dhania powder, required amount of salt and mix well

Add about 1-2 cups of the water (add the water in which the chana had been cooked) and in slow heat let the chickpeas simmer till the water almost dries up

Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of Amchoor powder and the delicious Dry Kala Chana is ready to snack on

You can squueze a little lime juice on your kala chana if you like it tangy. If you are in a place where bad breath is welcome, add some chopped red onions too for a heightened taste

Note: Sometimes I add half of a potato peeled and cubed small to the kala chana. If I am adding potatoes I do this after I have fried the masala. I add the potatoes, fry them a little and then add the kala chana

Similar Recipes:

Jaisalmer Kala Chana cooked in yogurt from Sharmila

Trivia: Ajwain reduces flatulence caused by beans when it is cooked with beans. Now you know why you cook kala chana with it. It is also traditionally known as a digestive aid and an antiemetic.


  1. Sandeepa, first up I love the bowl. Bean diet is good :) I got hooked to hot chocolate at work because of the reduced carb lunch! I mixed the mix in milk and convinced myself that milk was good and it was required since I missed drinking in the morning. It was also bad that the office had free drinks and easy to give in to temptation. How about yours?

    But this dry black chickpeas is a heavenly snack and try some of those roasted chickpeas, I remember seeing on Kalyn's blog.

  2. ROTFL!! Clever girl! Yeah, I try to stop Arving from munching on chocolates and Kettle roasted Peanuts too, very hard. But then I end up munching on Peanuts along with him, chocolates are not my forte tho'!:D

    Love Kala Chana, so yummy. When I was working in in software co. in Bangalore, I would just season it with onion and chillies and take this as my lunch. Loved eating it, filling and spicy.

    Sookha chana looks yum, great entry. But got to try your Doi Dim first this weekend!:)

    I linked your Panch Phoran post at FH under Kalonji, hope it's okay.
    have a great weekend, Arvind is off this Friday, miracle happens sometimes! :D

  3. wow Sandeepa, kala chana looks delicious & wonderful click

  4. hehehe ... Fortunately for me these days, my hubby takes the initiative to lose his own wt. but it had not always been like that!

    I love love love this kala chana & poori. mouthwatering. i had punju friend who would make this soo good! yours sound like a similar procees..i bet it tastes awesome!

  5. Love ur blog. Am in love with bengali cuisine...vegetarian bit.
    And the sookha kala channa is something predominantly North Indian thing I guess. I hail from Jammu and Kashmir...and this is an integral part of our prasad along with sooji halwa and puri after Navratri(twice a year) for the Kanya Puja.

  6. Your post made me laugh! I'd like losing other folks' weight too :) LOVED that bowl and the picture!

  7. Love kala chana..and yes, it's always easier to lose other people's weight ;-)

  8. I prepare just a similar kind of sukha kala chana. Delicious snack!

  9. I like the kala chana but always have a problem cooking it to the right. My chana is always hard and after couple of tries, gave up preparing it...

  10. LoL, I cannot do it for him, he needs to gain contrary i need to shred some pounds. But diet stick only 2 weeks in my agenda.
    Looks cool this kala chana!

  11. Nice way of making this. I like the idea of adding ajwain. We call this dish sundal and season with mustard, urad dal green chillies and curry leaves.

  12. Kala Chana looks motivating.

    You can try packing 'masala muri... with roasted chana, or other millets from the family, bits of roasted papad etc. Spike up with a squeeze of lemon, and finely chopped green chillies...."

    Am quite interested in knowing Thekua recipe. Would love to see it in your post some day. Have a gr8 weekend

  13. Great idea to keep those hunger pangs at bay - or rather overactive taste buds :)

    I had to do something to help hubby too since his sugar levels were borderline and though he is not a die hard snacker, it was hard for him to make a habit of snacking on fruit or veggies to make up for low carb portions at lunch.

    We call this preparation sundal and I used white chana, black chana as well as sprouts. Then there was koshambiri (carrots,cucumber,beetroot), puffed rice packed separately with a mixture of onions, green chillies,coriander,kala namak and lime juic so he could mix his own jhaal muri ;)

    I love this particular preparation of kala chana because its so different from the sundal we make - had it for navratri last week and it was yummy!

  14. Sandeepa,
    Kala Channa has UP origin ,my friends used to bring them in lunch-box too ...
    weight loss hmm.. ...It's me who has to loose some weight ...
    it's difficult to resist these unusual cravings for salted peanuts and frenchfries I guess but provided with this option it's much more healthy ..
    hugs and smiles

  15. I love to munch on the slighltly salted boiled version. :-) I have learnt to make it with dahi ... but like your chatpata version.

  16. Ineterested in loosing other weight ? Couldn't stop laughing :) I love kala chana and amma makes a tamarind based kulambu with yam, drumsticks and brinjals. This is anoher version of our masala sundal and yeah we won't use ajwain but! And the ginger and galic also aids digestion and its for avoiding flatulence Sandeepa :) Love the shot!

  17. Wow the recipe is amazingly simple. This is something mom cooked for me as evening snack after work. I am going to try it this weekend. Though not sure if hubby darling (a hard core non-veg follower) will dig it. Guess I should try to add some boiled and shredded chicken pieces.
    I love your blog just for the fact that it makes most recipes look effortless. :) Have a great weekend.

  18. this looks just like the kale chane that together with suji halwa makes up navratri prasad. Great snack!

  19. You know, for traditional functions where women get together, sometimes these are soaked and doled out as prasadam just as they are, without even being cooked.

    Losing husband's weight - LOL!

  20. Indo
    I am not too fond of milk either, have it with cereal in the morning though. This current place has no free drinks. The place I worked at almost 3 yrs back did, but I found I was not too keen on drinks even if they were free :)
    Roasted chickpeas ? Shall check out

    Have never tried seasoning them with onions & chillies, should be a great option. Any plans for weekend ? Trisha is on Spring Break ?


    That is really good. The hubby is too contented with his own, he claims he is a "khate pitre ghar ka beta" ;-)


    Yes, yes, sooji, kala chana and poori. How did I forget the sooji halwa, great combo right ?

    Thanks dear :)

    Tell me about it

    Should check out yours too


    Soak it overnight. Next day cook in pressure cooker. I will update the time. It cooks to a pretty soft consistency

  21. Cham
    I don't have a diet to follow either. but we are consciously trying to eat right (not totally as far as we can adjust with the kind of food we eat)

    I have had that one too, when I was in B'lore,this would be the prasad in many temples.Loved it


    Thekua recipe -- I do not know. I am sure there are many out there. It has been a while since I have had it

    I love koshambir, should make it at home too

    For me the craving is Marie and Parle G, ami ki biscuit khai chai er sathe ki bolbo


    Tomar dahi version ta link korte bhule gechi, aaj i update kore debo

    We add this to a pumpkin dish but never had it as you said. Must be great

    Dress it up with lime and red onions and serve with fried chicken ;-)


    yes, yes as said to Chrysallis.


    That I don't like ;-) But one of my neighbor does that here. At least a little lime juice and green chillies should be added me thinks

  22. Losing weight is always an issue, whether its the husband's or my own :)But over here , the case is diff, the hubby is always ready to go on a diet & I dont let him, wouldnt help if he loses weight & I keep gaining right? :)

    The Kala Chana is a must try, I have some in the pantry & was thinking of ways to cook it up & you promptly post this!

  23. I make this very ofen, did you try sprouting them?? Salad with sprouted kala channa tastes really good.

    I add onions, tomatoes sometimes cucumber seasoned with chat masala, dhaniya patta and lemon juice.

    sometimes make vadas (like masala vada). give it a try.

  24. I have been thinking of the kala chana in the pantry and looking for recipes and I found one! Ditto on the bowl!

  25. I never knew that about ajwain, Sandeepa. Love the dry curry, I have always cooked a recipe of Nandita's for kala chana and I will be glad to try something new. Garlic too, yum!

    Looks perfect to stave off hunger :)

    Have a wonderful break!

  26. Hi Sandeepa,
    I am a fan of your recipes.The sookha kala chana has been my favourite when i was on diet :)

    Since long i have been searching for a recipe of "sookha egg dal tadka" (made of kalai dal with the black cover, rajma and egg) which is available on roadsides of kolkata.
    The search always results in normal dal tadkas.
    Thought you would be the best person to ask.Please help me out.

  27. Hi Sandeepa,

    onek thanks for visiting my blog. Your blog is really well-designed, with lovely/delicious pictures, easy-to-follow recipes and, so interestingly, personal anecdotes.

    I'm also an enthusiastic cook, although usually running severely short on time.

  28. Thanks for the link Sandeepa! How nice of you. :-)
    Shubho Nobo Borsho !! :-)

  29. A loves this and we made it recently. Though not this version. Should try sometime.

    As a serious tip for weightloss, I went on a no-carb diet for a week. no flours, no carbs in any form, no sugar. Tough, but I lost a couple of inches and healthily at that. Workout remained the same - 45 mins everyday. But really, it worked wonders for me!

  30. is easy to see another person on the diet...and it is easy to be strict with them ;)...kala chana is yummy...and i as you said..have had them at our neighbours wo were from UP. Hope you are enjoying your vacation...

  31. Happy Baishakhi to you and Dear ones Sandeepa!

  32. JUst had these for breakfast, along with dalia and khakra and nariyal pani!

  33. I make a point to have these for breakfast one in a week... Filling dish... My first visit here nice blog, shall drop in for more...

  34. Thanks for the entry MLLA 10. I never got an email with the links. Please send so I wont forget you in the round up.

  35. Sounds awesome. I too have mouth-watering memories of this dish. And also a barely-used packet of the stuff. So I had better cook it this weekend. Thanks Sandeepa. Looking forward to trying it, what better poila boishakh gift could you have given me :)

    Shubho noboborsho to all of you.

  36. this looks SO good! i missed a lot of your posts cuz i was on vacation..

  37. Hey Sandeepa

    Came looking for this recipe because I want to try it tomorrow, and realized it's not in your categories, so I couldn;t find it through the drop down boxes!

    (Now I will stop complaining, and ask you to wish me luck! Will come back and tell you how it was!)

  38. An update: I made it, it was yum!! Followed your recipe to the letter. I feel so empowered now. I can make something that I absolutely love eating :) Thanks again.

  39. Hey, thanks for dropping by my blogpost. asked me for advice! On cooking?? I wish I had something super-intelligent to suggest. But I loved the recipe as it is. As for time to cook, I didn't check the clock, but I cook on a hotplate and I kept it on high heat till there were 5 whistles, and then turned off the power. Then after one more whistle I took it off the hotplate, waited about 5 minutes, let out the steam, and then opened the cooker to check. It was perfect.

    (Hope this helps!)

  40. Sandeepa, I just had dinner and am salivating again. That lal chana "ghugni" also brought back memories from my childhood in Patna. Mum used to pack this for our "tiffin" too, 'coz all my Bihari friends used to get them for lunch with "chide bhaja". Either this or "hara chana", which I never shared with anyone.


  41. I love your sense of humour, it spices up the recipes with something earthy and relatable. Sookha kala chana is my absolute fave too, esp on no-onion, garlic days, such as Janmashtami. Lots of grated ginger, hing, dried red chillies, fresh roasted jeera powder and when you are done, garnish with lemon wedges and chillies, coriander leaves, (chaat masala: optional) and smack! you are ready to hog, esp nice with hot puris :)


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