Wednesday 7 December 2016

Chickpea Curry - For Halwa Poori.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

It's the savoury element to the ultimate Pakistani breakfast.

I've already shared the sweet dish for the breakfast which was this halwa and I'll be sharing the fried pooris very soon. But today, we're concentrating on the chanay which in essence, are just a simple chickpea curry.

I start mine with a base of onions, ginger and garlic. Once they've cooked down, in go the spices. They're the usual suspects along with a few vital ingredients. We're talking nigella seeds (kalonji) and fennel seeds. These two give the chickpeas a really distinctive flavour, one that I always associate with this type of breakfast curry.
I use tinned chickpeas to speed up the process. The starchy liquid that they're tinned in is also thrown in as well to help thicken things up. Finally, the random ingredient. A tea bag! Yes, even I was quite unsure about adding a tea bag into my curry, but it works. It gives the chickpeas colour and adds to their signature taste. Don't leave it out!
And then, to serve. The traditional breakfast is made up of these chickpeas, this halwa and fried pooris. You can make both the chickpeas and the halwa the day before but I prefer my pooris fresh. So tell me, how do you like your Pakistani breakfast? Everything on one plate? Everything in one mouthful? Or can you not stand it when your chickpeas and halwa touch each other? I know some people are really fussy about that. I actually like them together - they're the most traditional sweet and savoury combo I know of.

Chickpeas, previously: chickpea pulao // chana chaat // butternut squash and chickpea curry // smoky sweet potato chickpea fritters

A Simple List of Ingredients:
1. Vegetable Oil
2. Onion
3. Garlic
4. Ginger
5. Kalonji
6. Ground Turmeric
7. Ground Cumin
8. Ground Coriander
9. Red Chilli Powder
10. Salt
11. Fennel Seeds
12. Tinned Chickpeas
13. Water
14. A Tea Bag (yes, really!)

Bismillah, let's begin!

This is one of the easiest one-pot recipes I know and it all begins with the onions, ginger and garlic. Heat a few tablespoons Vegetable Oil in a large pan over a medium heat.

Peel and finely dice 1 large Onion.

When the oil is hot, dump in the chopped onion.

Give it a good stir and leave it to get golden brown and soft.

Add in more oil, if needed. We want our onions to fry not steam.

Meanwhile, grab 2 Garlic Cloves and 2 inches of Ginger.

Peel them and place into a pestle and mortar.

Bash them up until they're crushed. Because we're not using many fresh ingredients in this curry, I prefer to use fresh ginger and garlic here. You may also use a ready-made paste, if you prefer.

Once the onions are golden ...

... add in the crushed ginger and garlic.

Stir-fry for a few minutes to cook off the raw ginger and garlic.

Then, it's time for the spices. Remember, you may add as much red chilli and salt as you like. Measure out:
1/2 teaspoon Kalonji (black onion seeds)
1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
1 teaspoon Salt

For those of you not familiar with it, this is kalonji. In English, black onion seeds or nigella seeds.

Add the spices to the pan.

Next, fennel seeds.

I like to crush mine a little so gave them a bash.

And, added them to the pan with the rest of the spices.

Stir-fry everything together until really fragrant - a few minutes.

Then, it's time for the main ingredient!

Crack open 2 tins Chickpeas. Mine measured 400g each.

Add in the chickpeas along with their water.

Fill 1 tin up with Water.

And, pour in to the pan.

Finally, the strange ingredient. Throw in 1 Tea Bag. This will give the curry colour as well as its signature taste.

Stir everything together and bring to the boil.

Cover with a lid and turn the heat right down.

Cook for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes ...

... uncover!

Give the teabag a squeeze and take it out.

Turn the heat up and let everything bubble together.

Grab a potato masher and give the chickpeas a rough mash. You want some to remain whole and some to be mashed.

Leave the curry to bubble away for about 10 minutes or until you're happy with the consistency. Remember, that it will thicken as it cools.

Then, our chickpea curry is done!

Place the curry into a bowl and get ready to serve! This curry is great with ricenaan and of course, as part of the traditional Pakistani weekend breakfast.

Make a batch of sooji halwa. I made mine the day before and reheated it in a pan.

Fry up a batch of fresh pooris and get ready to eat!

I love this recipe because it's so quick to make and kind of replicates the slow-cooked chickpeas sold by our local Pakistani sweet centre on a Sunday morning. I think the fennel, kalonji and tea bag are what make this recipe. They're such distinctive flavours and really make these chickpeas stand out. Enjoy!

Full Written Recipe:

Chickpea Curry - For Halwa Poori.

Prep Time: About 5 minutes.
Cook Time: About 45 minutes.
Serves: About 5 people.

Few tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 large Onion, peeled and finely diced
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled
2 inch Ginger, peeled
1/2 teaspoon Kalonji (black onion seeds)
1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
1 teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
2 tins Chickpeas (each tin is 400g)
Water, as needed
1 Tea Bag
Cook the onions, garlic and ginger:
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. When it's hot, add in the onions. Let them cook until golden. Meanwhile, bash the garlic and ginger together in a pestle and mortar. Add them to the onions and stir-fry for a few minutes.

Add in the kalonji, ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, red chilli powder and salt. Bash the fennel seeds in the pestle and mortar until crushed and add them in too.Stir-fry everything together for a few minutes or until really fragrant.

The stars of the show:
Crack open the chickpeas and add them to the pan along with their water. Fill 1 can up with water and pour that in too. Add in the tea bag and bring everything to the boil. Then, cover with a lid and turn the heat right down. Cook for 20 minutes.

Nearly there:
Remove the tea bag and turn the heat up. Roughly mash the chickpeas with a potato masher. Let everything bubble together for about 10 minutes until you're happy with the consistency. Remember that the chickpeas will thicken as they cool.

To serve:
Serve with sooji halwa and fresh pooris for the most traditional of Pakistani breakfasts!

{adapted from bajias cooking}

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Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your chickpeas!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Spice Enthusiast
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