The chickpea affair

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With every season, you see different seasonal greens, fruits and veggies in the food market. You are supposed to change your kitchen ingredients, and eat local produce because they help you stay healthy by providing that nutrition punch that you need in that particular season. Talk about winter, and one of the things that was cooked in my mum’s kitchen was Hoole (होले). Called as Cholia in Delhi NCR area, or green chickpeas or green garbanzo beans worldwide.

Now, my issue was with its availability. I don’t buy pre-cut veggies from the market. So, when I saw these cleaned green chickpeas, packed in a plastic wrap, I totally refrained it. Cleaning these chickpeas is a process that makes sure that you’re having fresh green beans. And most vegetable vendors or grocery stores don’t keep the green bunches or half-cleaned Hoole. So, the other day, I was searching for them on my way, when we went to visit a local temple. The temple was closed before we reached there, but I was happy to see a man with a tiny cart, sprinkling water on these green bunches of Hoole. Both I and my husband smiled at each other, and bought 1.5 kg of it.

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Green Chickpea Pulav

It’s a process, you see. It takes time and patience. So, we started cleaning these bunches and when we saved a cup of these green beans, we stopped and kept the bunch back in the kitchen balcony. For about three days, I did so, and ended up making three variants. That’s how I attained my wishes, as I knew, its season is going to end anyway.

So, the first batch went like this: my husband sat in front of the TV, and sweetly cleaned a cup of beans for me. I made green chickpeas pulav with this batch. The next day, early morning, I sat on the kitchen floor and cleaned a cup of Hoole. It took me more than 20 minutes. And I made some yum Parathas with it (stuffed thick rotis), and served it with fresh yogurt.

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Green Chickpea Paratha

Yesterday, late morning, I cleaned one more cup of these green chickpeas but ended up eating most of it. And today, again, I sat on the kitchen floor (this time I spread a tiny mat or aasan) and cleaned another cup full of these young garbanzo beans and made some delicious Kadi (a buttermilk dish).

You know, I have always noticed my elders at home doing these kitchen chores in the calm morning hours. So, it isn’t a strange thing for me. Also, when you prep for a simple dish, you also kind slow down and learn to have patience in the process. On my recent trip to Indore, I noticed my uncle (JP Kaka; my father’s younger brother) do the same thing. And it inspired me.

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Green Chickpea Kadi 

So, dear readers, here goes the three dishes that I made with Green Chickpeas or Hoole (so called in Rajasthan).

Recipe # 1: Green Chickpea Pulav

All right, so first, soak 1 cup of rice in water for 15 minutes. Make sure you clean the rice with water three times before soaking it. Now, take a kadai, add 2 tbsp oil in it and let it heat up a bit. Once hot, add in a bay leaf, ½ tsp cumin seeds, ¼ tsp or a few pinches of turmeric powder, and stir. Now, add in 1 cup of the cleaned green chickpeas. Stir for 30 seconds.

Next, add ½ tsp red chilli powder, ½ tsp coriander powder and sauté the chickpeas so that the spices coat it well. Add salt and ½ tsp garam masala. Now, strain the water from the rice bowl and add in the soaked rice in the kadai.

Here’s a thing. You need to roast this mixture for a minute or two, before adding water. After roasting the rice, green chickpeas and spice mixture, add in some water. I usually go with 5 to 6 cups of water. Will measure it next time. Close the lid and let it cook. After a few minutes, check if the water has boiled and if the rice is cooked or not. If needed, add in some more water.

Once you run a ladle or flat rice spoon in the bottom of the vessel to check if there’s no water, you can switch off the flame. Serve this pulav with hot Kadi or chilled Raita.

Recipe # 2: Green Chickpea Paratha

Take 1 cup of clean green chickpeas in a plate and mash it. Alternatively, you can also churn these green beans once, in the grinding jar. Or, steam these beans so that you can easily mash them.

After this, take a kadai, add in 1 tsp of ghee. Once it’s hot, add in cumin seeds, turmeric powder, cumin powder and coriander powder (all ½ tsp). Stir it for a few seconds. Now, add in the mashed chickpeas, and some salt. Cook it for a bit, and remove it into a plate to cool down.

Next up, take some whole wheat dough (salt and wheat flour), roll it into a round shape and add in some of this green filling. Cook this on a tava/griddle and roast it with 1 tsp of ghee. Serve with a cup of fresh yogurt.

Recipe # 3: Green Chickpea Kadi (buttermilk dish)

Take 2 cups of fresh, homemade yogurt in a large vessel. Mix 4 cups of water in it and blend it for about 30 seconds with the help of a hand blender. Now, we want an even/nice-textured Kadi. So, for that, you need to strain this liquid into another vessel. After this, add in 2 tbsp gram flour (besan) and whisk it lightly till you see no lumps. Add ½ tsp red chilli powder and ½ tsp of coriander powder, and keep it aside.

Take a Kadai (I use a steel one for this; gave up aluminium ones long back), and add in 2 tsp of ghee/clarified butter. Once hot, add in ½ tsp cumin seeds, ¼ tsp black sesame seeds, ½ tsp turmeric powder and sauté for a few seconds. Now, add in 1 cup of green chickpeas or you could also add ½ cup. Really doesn’t matter. Next, add the liquid gram flour mixture. Now, stir it quickly and continuously. Don’t leave the ladle whatsoever!

The key to a well-made Kadi is stirring it well. My mum used to temper the Kadi and give me the ladle to stir it for about 15 minutes or so, while she did other kitchen work. So, if you really want to make some good Kadi, with the perfect texture, you need to stir it. You can’t be restless and think of other things in hand. You just can’t. Forget every kitchen chore (I know it’s morning time, and you’re getting late to pack that lunch box) and stir the Kadi well.

After about 10 minutes or so, you can smell the aroma of the cooked buttermilk when you closely sniff it. Now is the time to switch the flame from low or medium-high so that the buttermilk can boil well. Stir it every 30 seconds now, and let it boil. After about 5 to 8 minutes, switch off the flame. Add in some chopped coriander leaves, and transfer the Kadi into a different vessel. This will avoid spoiling its texture. My green chickpeas cooked perfectly, thanks to the boiling process. Serve it with hot rotis/chapatis. PS. Have you ever sipped onto to hot Kadi? Once you make some Kadi, reward yourself like this: Take a bowl of Kadi, sit on the sofa, and sip it (with all the noises). You will truly love it!

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