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Kala Chana Aur Aloo (Black Chickpeas With Potatoes)


Black chickpeas (kala chana)
1 cup
1 ½ tsp
Baking soda
½ tsp
Medium-size onion – peeled and chopped
1” fresh ginger – peeled and chopped
1 piece
Vegetable oil
3  tbsp
Ground asafetida or tiny lump asafetida
a generous pinch
Whole cumin seeds
¼ tsp
Medium-sized potatoes – peeled and quartered
Ground coriander
1 tsp
Ground turmeric
¼ tsp
Garam masala
1 tsp
¼ to ½
Tamarind paste
3 to 4 tbsp

Sort and clean the chickpeas and wash them under cold water. Drain. Soak for 24 hours in a bowl containing ½ teaspoon of the salt, the baking soda, and a quart of water. Place chopped onion, garlic, and ginger in the container of a blender with 3 tablespoons of water. Blend at high speed until you have a smooth paste. In a 4-quart pot, hat the oil over a medium-high flame.

When very hot, put in the asafetida and cumin seeds. After a few seconds, when the asafetida expands and the cumin darkens, put in the paste from the blender, keeping face averted. Fry, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Now drain the chickpeas and add them to the pot. Also put in the potatoes, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt, the cayenne pepper, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover, and allow to simmer gently for 1 hour. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of tamarind paste to chickpeas according to tartness desired. Stir. Check salt. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. To serve: This dish tastes very good with hot pooris or parathas. Some kind of relish-perhaps cucumber and tomato with lemon juice should be served with it. For a complete meal add a green vegetable dish.