Black chickpeas Curry or Kala chana Amti is a simple everyday Maharashtrian Vegan curry or amti made using Black chana and everyday spices.
It goes well with simple roti (flatbread), hot steamed rice, soft and fluffy Malvani Amboli or Neer Dosa. I like to pair this with Malvani Amboli to make it a complete meal balanced in proteins and carbs.
What is Black Chana or Kala chana or Desi Chana?
Black chana or Kala chana is another variety of the famous Chickpea or garbanzo beans. The larger and the more common variant which we all know is called Kabuli Chana. It is cream in colour.
Black Chana or Kala Chana are smaller and coloured ones. Desi Chana is green when picked up early but varies throughout from light to dark brown. They are smaller in size as compared to the white chickpeas. A rich source of iron and protein for Vegetarians.
Recipes with Chickpeas
Kabuli Chana or the usual white chickpeas is commonly used in Indian Chole, Hummus, salads and as a snack like in this Dry roasted herbed Chickpeas. Kala Chana is again a very common ingredient used in Indian cuisine. Salad’s, curries and pattice are common with this.
Black Chana Flour or Chickpea flour or Besan or Gram Flour
Black Chana Flour or Chickpea flour, most commonly referred to as gram flour or Besan is made using this chana. The outer skin is removed, the chana dried and the flour made. Besan is a highly nutritious gluten-free flour used in Indian cuisine. From snacks like Namkeen Sev, Appetizers like Bhajiya, and pakodas, Breakfast or main meals like Vegan Besan Omelette (Chila) and Kadhi to desserts such as Besan Ladoos, Burfi etc. A must and a versatile ingredient in Indian cooking.
How to cook Black Chana
Chana can be cooked with and without soaking. I have always cooked it by soaking so cannot comment much on the process without soaking.
After soaking one can either eat it raw or use it in various recipes as required. When eating raw care should be taken not to overeat as it might lead to indigestion.
Pressure cooking the beans is an easy way and helps them to cook faster. However one can even cook it in an open pot.
Why Soak Beans?
Soaking beans help to soften and reduce the cooking time. Apart from this soaking and discarding the water helps to get rid of indigestible sugars responsible for flatulence.
It is advisable to soak the Kala chana for a minimum of 6-8 hours. Do not soak for more than 12 hours as it would lead to loss of essential nutrients. If you are staying in a cold place, it is good to soak them in lukewarm water.
Also, remember soaking the beans triples them. So if you soak 1 cup of Chana, you would get 3 cups. So keep them in mind and cook accordingly.
Today’s recipe process of Kala Chana Amti (Black Chickpeas Curry)
There are different ways of making this simple Kala Chana Amti. One can sprout the black channa and or just soak it and use it. I use it as per my plan or available time. Sprouting helps in easy digestion and hence at times I sprout and use.
For this Maharashtrian style chana masala recipe I make it two ways. Either first make a paste of onion, garlic and coconut and saute it in oil with spices or I finely chop the onion and garlic, saute it and then add grated coconut and masala.
The key here is that the masala should be cooked nicely to add flavour to the dish. In typical Maharashtrian homes, there is a day to day masala used for bhajis and curries. A simple every day kanda lasoon masala (onion garlic masala) with spices. Then you have typical masalas like Malvani masala, Kolhapuri masala, Goda masala etc.
Each house would have the typical masala and it will differ from house to house in proportion and at times even the ingredients. For this recipe, one can use any masala mentioned above. One can replace it with simple garam masala if you do not have the typical Maharashtrian Masala, but the taste will differ.
After cooking the masala, the chana and water are added and cooked. I cook it either in a pressure cooker or the Instant Pot. One can cook in an open pot too, but it will take a lot of time and babysitting. Cooking in a pressure cooker or Instant pot saves a lot of time and the chana is cooked soft and perfect.
Kala Chana Amti (Black Chickpeas Curry)
- 1/2 Cup Black Chickpeas / Kale Chana
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 2 tablespoon Fresh coconut grated (One can use desiccated too, the taste will slightly differ)
- 1 medium-sized onion finely chopped
- 2 large tomatoes pureed or finely chopped
- 1-2 small garlic cloves grated/paste
- 2-3 green chillies
- 6-8 Curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon Maharashtrian Goda Masala
- 1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- Water as needed
- 1/4 cup Fresh Coriander chopped
- Rinse and soak the Chickpeas in enough water for 6-8 hours.
- The next day drain the water and give it a quick rinse.
- In a pressure cooker, add oil.
- If using Instant pot, switch it on to Saute mode for 12 minutes and add oil.
- Once hot add mustard seeds and curry leaves and let it splutter.
- Add green chillies, pureed or grated garlic, onion and saute until translucent.
- Add freshly grated coconut and again saute until a few minutes.
- Alternatively, one can make a puree of green chillies, garlic and onion and saute it all together.
- Next, add in the chopped/pureed tomato, Red chilli powder, Turmeric Powder and mix it.
- Add in the Maharashtrian Goda Masala.
- Saute until the masala starts leaving the sides or is cooked.
- Now add the soaked chickpeas and mix nicely so that the masala is coated evenly
- Add 3 cups of water and salt to taste and cook it further for 1-2 minutes
- If using a pressure cooker, pressure cook it for 3-4 whistles (Depending on your pressure cooker settings).
- If using Instant pot, cancel the saute mode, Close the lid, and put it on sealing mode.
- Pressure cook it for 12 minutes on high.
- Let the pressure release naturally.
- Open and check if the chana is done by pressing between your fingers.
- Adjust the consistency as desired or leave it as is.
- Serve it with steamed rice or Malvani Amboli or Neer Dosa
- Standard US Size Cups used The quantity of masala can vary depending on taste
- 1 cup dry chickpeas, is 3 cups when soaked.