JFI Chickpea: Homemade Chana Chor Garam Experiment

Chana chor garam is one of those wonderful street side snacks that no one I know even attempts to make at home. This five rupee slightly salty and sour snack with minute onions and tomatoes was the highlight of the walk we used to take at the lake near our house.

For those unfamilar with it, Chana chor garam is made by flattening Desi Chickpeas or Kala chana into disks and then frying it. It is served in paper cones with condiments like onions, tomatoes, black salt, lime juice etc. Packed with protein and vegetables this snack is healthy and filling.

Now in the US, Haldiram markets Chana chor garam but these are generally the size of a penny and thick - about 1 mm. The ones the hawkers at the lake near my house sold were about an inch in diameter , really thin like a cornflake and they just melted in the mouth.

So for JFI Chickpeas, I tried a brief and alas not too successful experiment to recreate the thin and light version of chana chor garam. I soaked the desi chana(both black and green - with visions of a multicolored and very pretty chana chor garam) in water overnight and then squished it using a small katori or cup as seen in the picture above. I then deep fried these in a small pan of oil, and then put salt and cayenne pepper on the results, as in the picture below.

The result was pretty tasty but i cannot call it chana chor garam. More like desi chana deep fry! . I also tried squishing them after boiling them, i got them pretty thin then but had no way to separate them from the squishing instrument aka the katori :)

Anybody with a better idea or having inside info on how this thing is made, do let me know!


JFI Chickpea: Green Chana Tamarind Kootu

"South India received the chickpea late, perhaps around 500 to 300 BC and ...., southern names like kadalai are quite diferent from the Sanskrit chanaka or harimanthaka. The latter grains find mention in the Buddhist writings of 400 BC but the Khalva of the much earlier yajurveda (c 1000 BC) is also thought to refer to the same grain". from KT Achaya's Indian Food, a Historical Companion

Chickpea is still called Harimanthaka in Telugu(from here), astonishing how a name persists over a thousand years. Today's post is on fresh green chickpea - different from dried desi chanas that have a green skin. The wild form of chickpea ripens only in the winter, while the domesticated form can be harvested in summer as well(from here) which might explain why I ran into them at my local farmers market this weekend!

In Gujarat, these fresh chickpeas are plentiful in winter (and also double up as horse feed :)). My father likes them roasted in the oven in the skin, and then shelled for a wonderful smoky sweet and soft evening snack.

This particular recipe is a variation of a recipe from my mother, she uses the dried kabuli chickpeas. It is delicious with rice and any coconut vegetable combination - we had fresh green beans and coconut karamad ( sabzi) along with this.

11/2 cups fresh shelled green chickpeas
1/2 cup Tuvar dal
Curry leaves
5 brinjals cut in about 1 cm sections and quartered
1 tbsp tamarind paste( I use Tamicon which is really strong, if you use a fresh tamarind paste, please increase quantities to compensate)
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
pinch asfoetida

Podi: (Spice Powder)
4 tbsp Chana dal( Bengalgram)
8 tbsp Dhania ( Coriander seeds)
5 dried red chillies
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp Jeera ( Cumin Seeds)
1/2 cup grated coconut

Dry roast all ingredients except the coconut, until you can smell the nutty aroma of the legumes and aroma of the jeera.
Grind into a find powder along with the coconut. If you need, you can add some water to grind finely.

Cook the Fresh green chickpea and tuvar dal in the Pressure cooker for two whistles or until soft. Take about two tbsp oil in a deep pan. Add mustard seeds and wait until it pops. Add asfoetida and curry leaves. Then add the brinjal and stir fry until softened. Add the cooked chickpea and tuvar dal combination and the Podi( spice powder) and tamarind , salt to taste and boil for another five to 10 minutes.

PS: Also check out My Legume Affair, seventh helping hosted by Srivalli, your JFI Chickpea entries would make wonderful entries to My Legume Affair.


JFI Chickpea: Logo & Bataka Sev Farsan

India is the largest grower in the world. Chickpeas are grown in the drier regions of India - namely UP , MP, Rajasthan, AP, Maharashtra (source: http://www.crnindia.com/commodity/chickpea.html)

Gujarat has a rich tradition of snacks - called Farsan- which to me seems wholly dominated by chickpea flour or besan. Examples in the photo montage above are( from left to right and top to bottom)Sev,Boondi,Gaanthia, Fafda, Khaman, Khandvi and an aloo bonda pretending to be a Dakor Gota! This variety of chickpea flour snacks arises perhaps from Gujarat's dry, arid climate which emphasized staples over fresh fruits and vegetables.

My mom is particularly partial to the phulwadi- also made from besan. A typical gujarati breakfast consists of perhaps one warm dish like Bataka Poha accompanied by strong sweet tea and many of these very farsan doing double duty. We used to have fafda and jalebi on dussehra morning 4 o clock just after finishing 6 hours of garba.

This post's recipe, Bataka Sev is Sev made from Potatoes and Besan.It is from a book called Aneri Vangio by Nayna Shah. Loosely translated Aneri vangio means Different Dishes. I just learnt recently that this is kind of like the Samaithu paar for newly married Gujarati girls.

Bataka Sev:

1 Potato boiled, and chilled in the fridge for abt 24 hrs(no baking potatoes or small new potatoes- they are too waxy)
abt 2 tbsp Besan
red chilli pwd
pinch of clove & cinnamon powder

Grate the potato finely. Add all the seasonings. Add just as much besan to make a round ball of dough. Use an Acchu or Press to extrude the sev and deep fry in hot oil until the bubbles die down.

This is a quick logo that I came up with for JFI Chickpea, Please feel free to use it in any size that you prefer.

The first montage was made from these sources.
Photo credits:
1. Khandvi
2. Fafda
3. Khaman
4. Gaanthia
5. Sev


Announcing JFI Chickpea

Here's wishing everybody a very happy new year! I just woke up to the new year to find that I almost missed my hosting duties for JFI.JFI is a monthly online food event focusing on natural and Indian ingredients started by Indira of Mahanandi. And Indira is back too - yay!

I am just in time to announce JFI Chickpeas. Now before you start throwing stones and rotten tomatoes at me, just consider - Chickpeas are much much more than the ubiquitous chana masala or chole that you have suffered through every Indian restaurant in the US. You have a whole rainbow of colors within the humble chickpea - the brown desi chana, the white kabuli, the green fresh chana, the yellow split form and of course the ground gluten free flour version, the basis for very yummy sweets.

Prepare a dish highlighting Chickpeas and write about it in your blog in the month of January 2009. No limit to the number of entries you can send. Non bloggers can email the recipe along with a picture of the dish.

Send an email to mspresqueATyahooDOTcom with JFI:Chickpea in the subject line. Please include the following information in your email:
--Your blog name
--Name of the entry
--URL of your post

Your post should have a link to this announcement.

I will also come up with a logo within the next couple of days.