Pindi Chana is a quintessential Punjabi dish. Most people familiar with north Indian cuisine would be more familiar with its curry cousin - Chholey. I'm sure one day we will get to Chholey as well on this blog.
With regards to the origins of Pindi Chana, I've heard two variations. I am not sure which one is more accurate, but they both make sense. One of the stories puts the origins of this dish in Modern-day Pakistan (Rawalpindi, hence Pindi). The other take on the origins is that "Pind" translates to "village" in Punjabi. Given how rustic this dish is, I have a hard time ruling this theory out. Oh, have I mentioned that this dish is vegan?
Before I walk you through the ingredients and steps, here are some relevant metrics for the recipe.
Difficulty - Moderate.
Prep time - 20 minutes, not including the time it takes to soak the chickpea.
Cooking time - around 45 minutes.
Servings - around 4.
For the chickpea
Chickpeas - 1 cup. Washed and soaked overnight. If you get canned chickpeas then you don’t have to soak.
Teabag - 1. Use spiced tea for more flavour.
Cinnamon - 1" stick crushed.
Black cardamom/Badi elaichi - 2 pods
Salt - 1 tsp or adjust to taste.
Water - 3 cups.
For the dish
Cloves - 4
Bay leaves- 2/3
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Black cumin/Shahi Jeera - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1tsp
Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Saunf/Fennel seeds - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Kasuri Methi/Dry Fenugreek leaves - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1. Cut into fine Juliennes
Ginger - 1/2" knob, cut into fine Juliennes
Garlic - 1 clove.
Tomatoes - 2 medium-sized, finely chopped. You can use puree if you like.
Pomegranate Powder / Anardana Powder- 1/2 tsp. This needs to be roasted and ground.
Sunflower oil - 2 tbsp for cooking.
Asafoetida - one pinch.
Coriander leaves - For garnishing.
Green chillies - 2. Add more for garnishing.
Add the chickpea, water, salt, teabag and cardamom pods to a pressure cooker.
Seal the lid, place on high heat and wait for the whistle.
After the whistle goes off, reduce the heat to low and wait for 20 minutes.
Once the 20 minutes are over, turn off the heat. When you open the pressure cooker, remove the teabag.
In a separate wok, heat the oil on a medium flame.
Once the oil is hot enough, add the asafoetida to the oil. Let the asafoetida release its aroma. Then add the bay leaf and green chillies in and saute well.
Add the onion, along with the ginger and garlic. Saute them well until the onions turn golden brown. Be careful not the let the ginger and garlic burn.
Now add the spices - cloves, cumin, black cumin, coriander powder, pepper, fennel seeds, Garam Masala and fenugreek leaves. Saute them well until the aroma is released.
Now add the tomatoes and saute them well.
Cook until the tomatoes turn mushy and the oil separates.
Now add the chickpeas and mix well.
Cover the wok and let simmer for 10 mins. At this point, add the Pomegranate powder and mix well.
Turn off the heat when the consistency of the dish feels right.
Garnish with chillies and coriander.
That's it; your Pindi Chana is ready—Bon appetite. Enjoy with rice/your favourite bread. As always, I'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments down below. See you in the next one.