Dry Kala Chana (Black Chickpeas)

This is the 3rd installment in my 5 part series about the fundamentals of Indian Street Food. The first installment was Dhaniya (Coriander) Chutney, and the second was Imli (Tamarind) Chutney, the fourth is Aloo (Potatoes) for Chaat and the 5th is coming soon! =)

Kala Chana, otherwise known as black chickpeas, are just a different variety of the common chickpeas that you are probably used to seeing. They are commonly used in Indian cooking in dry and saucy dishes. Even more commonly, they are used in Indian snack/street food. I personally think this is because they are smaller than they standard chickpeas, and fit better into snack related dishes. Today I will be focusing on Kala Chana as an addition to Indian snack/street foods. Kala chana is most regularly used  as the protein source in vegetarian snack/street food.  I have not seen Kala Chana be sold in regular grocery stores before, but in South Asian grocery stores they are always present. If you cannot find them locally you can always find them on amazon here: Organic Chana Whole (Bengal Gram).  This recipe is just for the Dry Kala Chana that can then be used as a component in all types of Indian Snack/Street foods. I will show you a couple of examples further below on how you can use this. 

So let’s get started! The process is pretty simple. The thing you have to keep in mind, with this particular dish is that you cannot just whip it out last-minute. This is the type of dish that takes a little bit of foresight. You will need to know the day before whether you will be making this or not.

First thing we have to soak the Kala Chana (black chickpeas) overnight. Just take out whatever amount you want and cover them generously with water (they will expand).

This is what they looked like after 11 hours. You can see how much they expanded. I was not ready to cook them yet so I let them soak a little longer.

This is after 14 hours. You can see that the water has gotten darker, and just in 3 hours more bubbles have formed on the surface of the water. I would recommend that you soak your chana (chickpeas) anywhere from 12-16 hours before cooking. 

Once they are done soaking, strain and do a quick rinse of the chana (chickpeas). 

The next step is to pressure cook them. If you do not have a pressure cooker this is the exact one that I am using:Presto 4-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker.  If you have never used a pressure cooker before, I have already done a tutorial in using a pressure cooker in my Moong Dal (Lentils) post. I am using a smaller Indian pressure cooker in that one, this is the bigger one that I refer to in that post. Anyways, into the pot, you need to add your drained Kala Chana (black chickpeas), salt, indian chili powder, Dhaniya (Coriander) Powder, and Haldi (Tumeric) Powder, and cover it with at least 1 inch of water.

Close the lid onto the pressure cooker, make sure it’s tightly closed and the handles align properly. Place the weight onto the pressure cooker and put the stove on medium heat. You will want the Kala Chana to cook for either 10-12 minutes of whistling or 10 separate whistles. (Each pressure cooker is different, some have just one continuous whistle, while some have short whistles) If you are using this particular pressure cooker, you will want to let it whistle continuously for 10-12 minutes. Once the time has passed, remove the pressure cooker from the heat, and let the pressure release naturally.

When you open the pressure cooker (after the pressure has all been released), it should look something like this. If you are not using the Kala Chana (black chickpeas) right away, you can store it in a container with this liquid. If you are using it right away like we are, heat 1 tbsp of oil into a medium pan and drain the Kala Chana (black chickpeas).

Once the oil is hot enough (shimmery) add the drained Kala Chana (black chickpeas).  We will want to sauté them on medium heat stirring occasionally for up to 10 minutes.

The goal is to remove a lot of the moisture. You will know its ready, when you can push some to the side and the pan is completely dry. At this point season the Kala Chana(black chickpeas) with chaat masala and mix throughout. It is now ready to serve warm/room temperature or cold depending on how you plan to use it. You can also store it dry like this in the fridge once it has been sautéed. 

Enjoy! 

You can serve it with samosa in Samosa chaat.

Or as a filling in Pani Puri. =) (recipe coming soon)

No matter how you decide to serve it, be sure to pair it with my Dhaniya (Coriander) Chutney and Imli (Tamarind) Chutney for the best flavors! =)

I hope you give this recipe a try for yourself! Please be sure to let me know in the comments if you do! I would love to hear what you thought of it! Be sure to subscribe so that you can be notified when I post new recipes! (link in the sidebar). Follow me on Instagram @saltyoversweet and find me on Facebook (the link is in the sidebar). Next I will be sharing the recipe for the Aloo (Potatoes) for Chaat =)

Dry Kala Chana (Black Chickpeas)
Yields 3
A simple recipe that can be added to any and all Indian Street food recipes. =)
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Prep Time
16 hr
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
17 hr
Prep Time
16 hr
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
17 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups - Kala Chana (Black Chickpeas)
  2. 3/4 teaspoon - Salt
  3. 1/4 teaspoon - Indian Chili Powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon - Dhaniya (Coriander) Powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon - Haldi (Turmeric) Powder
  6. 1 Tablespoon - Neutral Oil - Cooking Olive Oil/Canola Oil/Vegetable Oil
  7. 1 Teaspoon - Chaat Masala
Instructions
  1. Soak Kala Chana(black chickpeas) in bowl of water overnight for 12-16 hours. Be sure to cover it with a generous amount of water.
  2. After it's done soaking, drain and rinse the kala chana (black chickpeas) and put it into a pressure cooker.
  3. Cover the Chana (chickpeas) with 1 inch of water above the chana. Add the salt, Indian Chili Powder, Dhaniya (Coriander Powder) and Haldi (turmeric) powder. Close the lid and set on medium heat.
  4. Bring to a whistle and either let the one whistle go for 10-12 minutes or let it whistle 10x. (each pressure cooker whistles differently)
  5. Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and let the pressure release naturally.
  6. Once the pressure has released, heat the oil in a medium frying pan.
  7. Drain the chana (chickpeas) and add them to the frying pan when the oil is hot.
  8. Sauté them for 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once there is no more moisture in the pan, remove from heat and add chaat masala. Be sure to stir that in.
  9. Now it is ready to serve, hot, warm or cold depending on how you plan to use it.
  10. Enjoy! =)
Notes
  1. *If you are not going to be using all of the Kala Chana (Black chickpeas) after pressure cooking, store them in the fridge with the water in the pressure cooker.
  2. *This recipe is inherently vegan and gluten-free
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