Pindi Chana

I fell in love with Indian food while I was studying abroad in Australia. There was a little place right on campus that was pretty cheap. It was also conveniently on the walk back from the tram so I would get some when I got off work on occasion. The menu rotated every day but there was the usual selection of curries, chutneys, and such. I have looked-up the recipes for some of my favorites before, but they scared me. Tons of weird spices, ingredients I have never heard, and insanely long cook times. But the other day I wanted something spicy so I decided to search for a simple recipe (there had to be one, India is a very big country, someone has to be lazy like me!) I came across a site called Indian Food Forever and found some really tasty sounding recipes. Then I saw it—a recipe that was easy and I had almost everything it called for already. And It has chickpeas, one my favorite foods.

Pindi chana is pretty much curried chickpeas. What intrigued me the most about the recipe was that the chickpeas are soaked overnight with teabags. This give them a deeper, earthier flavor that stands up against the curry. I cannot find much information on the origins of the dish, the one website I found was half in Hindi, which I sadly cannot read. 
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans if you prefer, are one of the oldest vegetables know to man. They have been around since biblical times and even spread to the Roman Empire. Apparently some cultures even use them as substitute for coffee (I think I will stick with my Kona coffee). Chickpeas are high in zinc, fiber, folate, and protein. I love to make hummus with them or have them cold on a salad.

Pindi Chana
1 cup dry chickpeas
2 bags of black tea
1 onion, chopped
1 two inch piece of ginger, chopped
2 clove of garlic
1 green chili, de-stemed and chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Salt to taste

Rinse and pick through the chickpeas. Cover with water and add the tea bag. Soak for at least 6 hours, I left mine overnight.

Drain the chickpeas and add to a large pot. Cover with water, cover and cook until tender, about 25 minutes.

Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and drain off the rest.

Heat some oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until golden.

Add the chopped ginger, garlic, and chili sauté for another a minute or two.

Add the tomatoes, reserved liquid and all the remaining spices.

Simmer uncovered until the majority of the liquid is absorbed.

I garnished mine with some more spices. I didn’t feel like waiting for rice to cook, so I threw a sweet potato in the microwave for a minutes and served my pindi chana over it. I loved the orangey-yellow color palate.