kala chana, pre-soaked, boiled in salted water, drained and seasoned with mustard, cumin, urad dal, red chillies, curry leaves, a pinch of turmeric and fresh grated coconut.I have told many many times on this space how much I like sundal - boiled lentils/beans delicately seasoned with coconut, cumin & mustard seeds, with a hint of hing. When you want something filling, fun and simple to act as a protein booster in your diet, this is the way to go! Its healthy and cheap! I bought some chickpeas & pinto beans from the bulk bins at the local organic store and a pack each of raw peanuts and kala channa from the Indian store last month.
raw peanuts, boiled in salted water, drained & seasoned with mustard, cumin, urad dal, red chillies and a hint of turmericI pre-soaked the beans and boiled them in salted water for 3 whistles in my Prestige cooker, drained and stored in the fridge or freezer, I have a quick snack/meal waiting for me. They also are perfect side to a vegetable salad or soup, giving it the well needed protein addition and making a meal out of it. With the weather stubbornly sticking to its cold winter patterns and rainy evenings this is one recipe I've been going back to. I've also made them with chickpeas, chana dal and whole moong beans. When I have some English cucumber on hand, I dice them and add them along with diced tomatoes and chopped cilantro. Some chaat masala on top and its perfect. The added bonus of using dried beans is the ability to sprout them. It makes you feel good about the chips or chocolates you might be eating on the side :-P
I've always been using canned beans out of convenience. At 99cents a can, they seemed cheap and going through the soaking and boiling looked like a chore I could pass on. But over the last 2 months I forced myself to get rid of all the canned stuff and try the dried beans to check how much of a hassle they really were. None at all! yes, its not much work at all. No matter how big or small a batch, your prep time taken is the same. So I end up going for larger portions which I can store in the freezer. I now have some cooked pinto beans, chickpeas and kala chana sitting in the freezer ready to be thrown into soups, curries or a sundal. It's so much more cheaper and tastier to boot. The canned stuff mostly ended up being a last resort meal option rather than a well thought out dinner plan, I never really cared much for how I used them. All that's changed now. and I like it this way. So if you have canned beans sitting deep within your pantry closet, give them a break and try your hand at using dry beans. Black-eyed peas and dried peas are next on my shopping list, I did not want to buy them all at once and end up not using any.
So if you are having a lazy Sunday like I am, then set some beans out for soaking, make yourself a warm cup of tea and finish this crossword!