Kala Chana Masala (Black Chickpea Stew)

black chickpeas, stewed chickpeas, chickpea stew, gluten free, vegan

Kaley Chanay (Black Chickpeas) are a family favorite. They have a different flavor compared to chickpeas, more robust and intense, and have more of a bite to them. They’re found in spicy and tart chaats, dry roasted and packed into newspaper packs on the streets of Pakistan, and in robust stews, like the one made in my home. They create a gorgeous masala with just onions, no tomatoes or yogurt in sight, and they are full of nutrients. I love them served over gorgeous long grain basmati steamed to perfection, but you won’t find me refusing to eat them with naan either.

Heads up! Black chickpeas take much longer to cook, so I usually have them preboiled and frozen, ready to be cooked. You can boil them in a large pot of water with little salt for about 90 minutes. Then drain, cool and divide between ziplock bags and freeze. That cuts the cooking time significantly, and you can skip using a pressure cooker then. I’ve added two cooking methods below for your convenience, one with a pressure cooker and one without.

Here’s what you’ll need for 2-3 servings:

1 1/2 cups Kaley Chanay (soaked overnight)

1 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp laal mirch (chili powder)

1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric)

3 cups water

3-4 Tblspn oil

1/2 tsp crushed coriander seeds

Pressure Cooker instructions:

Add your soaked and drained Chanay to your pressure cooker along with the water, ginger garlic paste, salt, chili powder and turmeric. Cook under pressure for 35-40 minutes. Release the steam carefully, then cook the Chanay, stirring often, until most of the water dries up. At this point add the oil and cook, stirring often, till the onions break down. Add 2 cups boiling water and the crushed coriander seeds and simmer for about ten minutes, till everything combines nicely and the oil separates. Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander along with white rice or naan.

Stove top instructions using pre boiled chanay:

In a pot add approximately 1.5 cups of the black chickpeas along with 3 cups of water, the chopped onion, salt, turmeric and chili powder. Bring to a boil, then cover , reduce the flame and simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Check to see if the chickpeas are cooked through. If they are cook on high till most of the water evaporates, stirring occasionally. Then add the oil and cook on a medium flame, stirring often, until the onions break down and the oil separates. Check for salt, then add 2 cups of boiling water and the coriander powder. Simmer for about ten minutes, then sprinkle with fresh coriander. Serve with white rice or naan.

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