Kala Chana aka brown chickpeas is a more nutritious cousin of the white variety of chickpeas. Its a great option to add to your Ramadan menu for both suhoor and iftar.
My mother often used to make kala chana (brown chickpeas) during Ramadan. She said that it’s an excellent source of energy and keeps you up and running even while fasting. Back then I wasn’t a big fan of kala chana. I would much rather have it’s cousin, the white chickpeas. I did not know how much more nutritious kala chana is as compared to white chickpeas. Now that I know, I make it very often, especially during Ramadan. Not only I have developed a taste for it, but my kids love it which is a big win for me.
White Chickpeas Vs. Brown Chickpeas
While both of these are good sources of nutrients and are healthy to consume, black chickpeas have an upper hand on some of the nutrient. Brown chickpeas contains three times more fiber than white chickpeas. They’re also richer in iron comparatively. Being richer in fiber means that brown chickpeas release their energy into the blood at a slower pace, which results in keeping the hunger at bay for longer. This characteristic makes them a good choice for your fasting days.
Other than nutritional differences, these chickpeas differ in texture and taste as well. The brown ones have a tougher skin, making them slightly chewy. Brown chickpeas have a deeper, more earthy flavour than regular chickpeas. They also take longer to cook (hence I like to use my instant pot or pressure cooker).
Where To Buy Brown Chickpeas?
Brown chickpeas are readily available at Indian stores. The packet name may mention “Kala Chana”.
How To Make And Freeze?
Because brown chickpeas take long to cook, I like cooking them in bulk and freezing them in batches for later use. This saves me a lot of time when I need them for consumption the next time.
Soak the brown chickpeas overnight. Drain the excess water, and transfer to a pressure cooker (or instant pot). Add water and salt (quantities mentioned below). Cook on pressure for 30 minutes or until completely tender. If you are cooking in a regular pot, it will take much longer to cook the brown chickpeas.
Take airtight containers. Divide the brown chickpeas into portions (along with the water in which they cooked). Let it come to room temperature, then cover with the lid. Freeze for up to 2 months.
Ingredients At A Glance
Watch the video instructions to easily follow the recipe
Kala Chana Chaat
- Instant Pot or pressure cooker
- 500 grams kala chana (brown chickpeas) (makes extra for freezing) see notes below
- 2 tsp salt
- 500 ml water
- 1 medium red onion
- 3 small sweet peppers (or 1 bell pepper)
- 1 medium tomato
- 1-2 green chilies (adjust to preferred spiciness)
- 10 grams fresh coriander
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp chaat masala
- 2-3 tsp green chutney
- 2-3 Tbsp yogurt (skip for vegan or use vegan yogurt)
- Wash and soak brown chickpeas for overnight (about 8 hours).
- Darin the excess water from brown chickpeas and transfer to the instant pot. Add salt and water. Put the lid on and turn knob to sealing position. Set to pressure cook on high for 30 minutes. If you are cooking in a pressure cooker it will take about 35-40 minutes after the pressure builds up. In a standard stove top top, it will take more than an hour.
- Once the timer goes off, release pressure and open the lid. Take out half of the brown chickpeas along with the liquid. You can freeze the remaining half for later use. If you do not wish to make extra, reduce the brown chickpeas, salt and water quantity to half.
- Finely dice the onion, sweet peppers (or paprika) and tomato. Transfer then to a bowl and mix. Keep aside.
- Thinly slice the green chili and fresh coriander. Keep separate from other veggies.
- Heat a pot or skillet on medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and sliced green chili. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the boiled brown chickpeas along with the liquid. Mix and sauté for about 2 minutes.
- Add half of the chopped onion, sweet peppers and tomatoes, reserving other half for later. Also add the chaat masala. Sauté for about 3 minutes.
- When most of the liquid has gone, switch off heat. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- Add the remaining half of the chopped veggies (reserved earlier), green chutney, yogurt and chopped coriander. Mix to combine. Serve.
- If you want to make a smaller quantity, reduce the brown chickpeas, salt and water in half. Other ingredients will remain the same.
- If you are making extra for freezing, store it in an airtight container. It freezes well for up to 2 months.