Black Chickpeas in a Tamarind Mustard Sauce

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Black Chickpeas in a Tamarind Mustard Sauce
One of my go-to simple meals when I don't wish to spend much time thinking about what to make is chana masala, the classic Indian spiced chickpea and tomato curry that I've made and enjoyed probably hundreds of times over the years. This dish started out just with that idea, but after deciding to cook the curry with black chickpeas instead, I ended up creating something altogether different and wonderfully rich and robust after a little added thought.
Black Chickpeas in a Tamarind Mustard Sauce
In India, chana masala is frequently made with black chickpeas instead of the yellow chickpeas that are much more commonly used in North American cooking — in fact, I expect that many people don't know that chickpeas aren't always yellow. Also known as brown chickpeas or kala channa, you can easily find these dark-skinned cousins of yellow chickpeas in Indian and Asian grocers, and if you haven't tried them already, you will be pleasantly surprised by their much stronger and earthier flavor, which makes them ideal for pairing with robust flavors and spices. As I did in this dish, turning an ordinary tomato and spice chana masala sauce into a rich and deep flavored dark sauce with tangy tamarind and Dijon mustard — much more delicious than I would have imagined it would turn out, and a dish I'll be making again some day soon when the craving for black chickpeas hits again.
Black Chickpeas in a Tamarind Mustard SauceBlack Chickpeas in a Tamarind Mustard Sauce
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on November 11, 2020

Black chickpeas simmered in a simple but rich and robust tomato, tamarind, mustard and spice sauce

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes + 1 to 1 1/2 hours chickpea cooking time

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  • 1 1/4 cups dried black or brown chickpeas (kala channa) (3 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 to 3 green or red chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon panch phoran
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 large potato, roasted or boiled until fork tender, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garam masala, to taste
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in enough water to cover. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are soft — about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Drain and set aside.

  • While the chickpeas are cooking, soak the tamarind pulp in 1 cup of hot water for 30 to 60 minutes. Press through a strainer, discard the pulp and seeds, and reserve the strained water.

  • Heat the ghee or oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic, ginger, chilies and panch phoran. Stir for 1 or 2 minutes until the seeds darken a few shades. Now add the turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, mustard powder, cayenne and asafetida, and stir for another 2 minutes.

  • Now stir in the tomato and cook for another 5 minutes until thickened. Now add the chickpeas, tamarind water, potato and Dijon mustard. Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes, until most of the liquid is evaporated.

  • Stir in the salt, parsley and garam masala, taste for seasoning, and serve hot with rice or your favorite Indian flatbreads.

  • Note: Panch phoran, or Bengali five-spice, is a spice mixture of fenugreek, nigella, mustard, cumin and fennel seeds. It can be found at Asian and Indian grocery stores, but it's easy to make your own at home — simply combine equal amounts of each spice.

Makes 6 to 8 servings
Chickpeas in a Tamarind Mustard Sauce
Other black chickpea dishes from Lisa's Vegtetarian Kitchen:
Gujarati Black Chickpea Curry
Black Chana Masala
Lemony Quinoa with Black Chickpeas and Spices
Black Chickpeas with Roasted Coconut and Fragrant Spices

Audio accompainment: Dark Isolation Music mixed by Atrium Carceri for Cryo Chamber - Songs for an empty world

On the top of the reading stack: The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke

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