Blogging Marathon #22
Theme: Cooking with Chickpeas
Indian food is the food I cook most often, outside of my native Caribbean cuisine and I am pretty knowledgeable about it, yet there is still so many regional differences that I would have to study it a lifetime before I become an expert at it.
While I sometimes rely on other bloggers and cookbooks for creating authentic Indian meals as when I did this Goan Thali, I often use traditional Indian foods as well as foods from other cultures as a source of inspiration, but then create unique dishes based on my own ideas and preferences.
For a long time, I have been quite confused about the difference between Saambhar and Rasam, both South Indian soups. After a lot of googling around the web, I think I finally have it down. They are both tamarind based soups, however Rasam is very watery with just a small amount of vegetable or fruit. This is often served over rice. Saambhar is much heartier, closer to a stew and always made with toor dal (split pigeon peas) and can be made with a variety of vegetables. In Kerala, coconut is also included in Saambhar.
On my last trip to the Indian market, I picked up a few new ingredients I have never used before. In America, when people refer to chickpeas/garbanzo beans, there is generally just one type available. However, in Indian cuisine black chickpeas as well as green chickpeas are also used. I did manage to find some fresh green chickpeas last summer and created this salad with them, however, they are only available in the markets for a few weeks. On this trip to Patel Brothers, I got dried green chickpeas, dried black chickpeas as well as tinda (baby green pumpkins).
In terms of taste, I found that the black chickpeas have a nuttier taste than the white ones and the green ones taste earthy, almost like mushrooms. Black chickpeas actually have a higher fiber content and lower glycemic index than white chickpeas, therefore, are a good protein source for Diabetics.
If you don’t have an Indian market near where you live, try organic markets or health food stores for these varietal chickpeas.
Inspired by sambar, I used the three varieties of chickpeas in this stew.
(click here for printable recipe)
1/2 cup dried green chickpeas/green chana, soaked overnight
1/2 cup white chickpeas/chana, soaked overnight
1/2 cup black chickpeas/kala chana (aka Desi chickpeas), soaked overnight
1 lb.tinda (Indian baby green pumpkins), chopped
2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons sambar powder (I used the store bought powder, however if you prefer to make it yourself, here’s a recipe for it)
3 tablespoons fresh or frozen grated coconut, defrosted
1 large tomato, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon asoefetida
5 curry leaves
2 tablespoons oil + 2 teaspoons oil
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
salt, to taste
Since it was my first time cooking the different kinds of chickpeas I cooked them separately as I did not know if they would have different cooking times, but they did cook all the same.
Place chickpeas in boiling water and cook until tender or pressure cook them, until tender.
Grind coconut with sambar powder and 3 tablespoons of water.
Cover tamarind pulp with 1/4 cup boiling water. Let rest for 15 minutes. Strain and extract tamarind liquid from pulp.
In a large pot, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil. Add onion and saute until onions are softened. Add tomato, pumpkin, carrots, turmeric, coconut paste, tamarind extract and 1 cup water.
Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Add cooked chickpeas and salt and cook another 10 minutes.
In a small skillet, heat remaining oil. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once the mustard starts to pop, add the asoefetida and the curry leaves and fry for 1 minute. Add to sambar and stir to combine.
I know technically this is not a sambar, but since I used sambar powder for the seasoning, I am naming it as such.
The baby pumpkins taste more like summer squash (zucchini, etc.) than pumpkin, but I have discovered another vegetables I like!
…sending to One Pot Meals