Chickpeas in a Spicy Mint Sauce

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Chickpeas in a Spicy Mint Sauce

This dish is often sold as a snack food on the streets of northern India, where it is known as "paraati chana" from the round tray known as a "paraat" in which it is served. Another reason to go to India. One might think that the large amount of mint leaves would overwhelm the spices that flavor the chickpeas, but in fact the mint forms a perfectly complementary background layer to the predominant cumin and coriander seasoning, combining to make a wonderfully multi-textured taste. As I often do, I've adapted this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian to pack it with an extra punch. It is filling and nourishing enough to be served as a meal with grains or breads and a vegetable dish.

Chickpeas in a Spicy Mint SauceChickpeas in a Spicy Mint Sauce
Recipe by
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World
Cuisine: Indian
Published on May 4, 2007

Northern Indian classic street food — chickpeas cooked in a fragrant and spicy fresh mint sauce

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 40 minutes

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  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (3 cups cooked or 2 14 oz cans)
  • 1/2 cup chana dal or yellow split peas
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed and coarsely chopped
  • 3 to 5 fresh green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive or sesame oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in several inches of water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

  • Rinse the chana dal or split peas and add to the pan of chickpeas. Cover again and continue simmering for another 45 minutes or until the chickpeas and dal or split peas are tender. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.

  • While the beans are simmering, combine the mint, chilies, garlic and ginger in a blender or food processor with 6 tablespoons of water. Blend, pushing down the mixture with a rubber spatula, until all the ingredients are puréed. Set aside.

  • Mint Sauce
    Heat the olive or sesame oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir for 6 to 8 minutes or until well browned. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are reduced and oil begins to show at the sides of the pan. Add the puréed mint mixture and continue to stir for another 5 minutes.

  • Add the cooked chickpeas and dal or split peas, and 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid. Stir in the coriander, cumin, garam masala, salt and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer gently for half an hour. If necessary, add more cooking liquid or water to the pan, but the mixture should be fairly thick. Serve hot.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Hi! I have a lot of mint growing so I was happy to make this delicious dish.I used garbanzos for all the beans. I agree that the mint is not at all overly prominent and the flavor is absolutely delightful!! Thanks! Peace, Stephanie