KALA CHANA CHAAT – काला चना चाट (Black Chickpea Salad)

Summers are not just about chilled coolers but also salads and the various Indian chaat dishes as well. I have a lop sided love for the kala chana or what is popular as black chickpeas or brown chickpeas. Although they are brown yet they are called kala chana in Hindi where kala means black, perhaps because of its contrasting colour to the white chickpeas or chhole. Whatever the name be, these chickpeas have a much more robust taste than their fairer counterpart and they are great in curry, for making fritters, patties and chaat. The roasted and powdered kala chana is used for making stuffing for flatbreads and also kachori (fried pastry dough). And also for making savoury and sweet drink called Sattu, which I had recently shared.

I am always conflicted when I make this chaat and the kabuli chana chaat (white chickpea salad) as to whether to consider them as salad or chaat. Well, my guess is that it is the addition of the tamarind and green chutney that transforms it into a chaat else it can easily pass off as a salad. Whatever the name, it is one toothsome and healthy salad to have which can be enjoyed for a snack, a light yet protein rich vegetarian meal or as a side.

You can add or omit whichever ingredient you wish to. Also, you can make it two ways, i.e. one, with lemon juice and spices and the other, with spices but drizzled with green and tamarind chutney for a lip smacking chaat.

The summer was exceptionally intense this year and the monsoon is delayed so meals such as this one were a saviour and much desired.

135 gm Kala Chana (a little over half a cup)

½ tsp Regular Salt or Pink Salt

1 medium sized Boiled Potato

¼ C finely chopped, Onion (more if desired)

1 small Tomato

1 Cucumber

2 Green Chillies

2 tbsp finely chopped Fresh Coriander

1 – 1½ tsp Chaat Masala

¼ tsp Kala Namak, adjust amount to taste

¼ tsp Black Pepper Powder

1 – 2 tsp Lemon Juice (adjust amount to taste)

2 – 3 tbsp Green Chutney (optional)

4 tbsp Tamarind Chutney (optional)

3 tbsp Pom Arils

Wash and soak the kala chana in sufficient water for 8 hours or overnight.

Discard the water and wash the chana again.

Take 400 ml of water in a pressure cooker and add the kala chana to it. Add half a teaspoon regular salt and pressure cook the kala chana on high heat till the pressure cooker releases three pressure whistles. Allow the pressure to release on its and then open the lid, check for doneness and if it is undercooked, cook it further. But for me, three pressure whistles, for cooking the chana, always works.

Drain the chana and discard the water. Although you can use the chana water for making soup or dal.

Transfer the chana to a mixing bowl and set aside.

Chop the potato to small bite size pieces. Add it to the chana.

Chop the tomatoes to the same size as potatoes and add to the chana. (feel free to discard the seeds of the tomatoes)

Next, chop the cucumber to the same size as the potato and tomato and add to the chana bowl.

Finely chop the green chillies and add these to the rest of the contents in the mixing bowl.

Add the chaat masala, fresh coriander, kala namak, black pepper, lemon juice and pom arils to the mixing bowl and mix everything well.

You salad is ready. You can serve it as it is or chill it in the fridge before serving.

If you are in a mood for enjoy it as a chaat, simply add the two chutneys, one tablespoon at a time, and mix everything well. Taste and adjust the amount of chutney to suit your taste. You can add some nylon sev or regular sev or even papdi for texture. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Serves – 3

Thank you for your visit and see you soon again, with another exciting recipe!

10 Comments

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  1. 5
    Liz

    What a gorgeous salad!!! I’ve never heard of black chickpeas, but now I’ll be on the hunt for some so I can try your tasty recipe 🙂

  2. 8
    mjskitchen

    I’ve never seen nor heard of black chickpeas. I wonder if I’d be able to find them here somewhere. This chaat looks delicious and such a lovely presentation. So I see you say that they are “way tastier than the white chickpea”. That makes me really want to find some now,

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