Kala Chana Pulao/Brown Chickpea Pulao
THEME: #240 COOKING WITH RICE
Rice Storage in Olden Days
Long ago, the time of my great grandparents and grandparents, rice was stored in huge earthen pots (that could easily fit a man in it) for the whole year. Back then rice was a seasonal crop and there were no facilities to vacuum pack them or store them in plastic bags. The huge pot would have a hole just about 4-5 inches above the bottom part which would be closed off with a scrunched up cloth. Whenever, rice was required, the cloth was removed only a bit for the rice to pour out. My aunts, at both the paternal and maternal villages would store the rice in a smaller tin or dabba so that they would not have to remove the cloth ever so carefully everyday. When I was in Bangalore, our neighbor showed me a big round basket woven out of bamboo with a small opening on top. That basket is still used by some tribes in India to store rice.
These days hardly anyone one of us store huge quantities of rice. Its so much easier to buy a 1, 2 or 5 kg bag and use it. Rice is available throughout the year so we never think of it as a seasonal crop. But farmers in our village still store seasonal rice. With what the world is facing right now stocking up our pantries or stores has become a must whether we like it or not. Perhaps, rice was on everyones list as its a versatile ingredient and doesn’t spoil easily. The new term and everyone in the world will not forget the newly coined term ‘PANTRY ESSENTIAL‘. Before, I don’t even think we thought of all the food we bought as essential or non essential. I bet you our forefathers must be laughing at us, they truly were so much wiser than we are.
How To Store Rice
Even if I buy a 2 kg bag, I usually rub the rice gently in castor oil. That keeps the insects away and rice can be stored over a year. For about 2 kg rice, I pour out the rice from the bag into a wide dry and clean basin. Drizzle about 2 tbsp castor oil and gently with your palm, rub the rice around so it gets coated with the oil. Store the rice in an airtight container like a jar or a tin (dabba).
Theme This Week On FoodieMonday/Bloghop
As many countries are experiencing lockdowns, curfews, restricted movement, our theme this week had to be a simple one and Narmadha suggested RICE and asked us to use rice to prepare a rice dish. Keeping pantry essentials in mind I decided to make Kala Chana Pulao/ Brown Chickpea Pulao. And please don’t ask why these delicious beautiful brown chickpeas are called Kala Chana in India. Actually, its only in recent years that Gujaratis have started using Kabuli Chana (White Chickpeas). Most of the Gujarati dishes called for kala chana and we don’t call it that… its just chana for us. Coming back to today’s theme, I have bookmarked Narmadha’s Curry Leaves Rice (Karuveppilai Sadam) ever since I saw it on her blog. However, it will have to wait for a while till I’m able to go to my mamiji’s house to get some fresh curry leaves.
This week you may want to check out the Rice Dishes that the members have come up with limited fresh ingredients in their fridges. I for one was lucky as jut before the social distancing notice came out in Kenya, Esther the vegetable lady had brought some fresh spinach which I used sparingly for the rice… just to get the feeling that I used sometime green.
What varieties of rice dishes can you make?
Here are some suggestions:
- To start off with Sasmita’s unusual and delicious looking Kathal Dum Biryani (Jackfruit Biryani) is what I’d love to try when I get raw jackfruit.
- Use White Chickpeas to make Poonam’s Chana Pulao.
- Sujata makes a delicious corn and peas pulao using fried onion or barista as its called
- Priya’s Masala Khichdi is a bit different as she has cooked the dal and rice separately before mixing them.
- Archana’s Vegetarian Tehri is easy to make and delicious.
- If you’re a big fan of Vegetable Fried Rice like me then you’ve got to check out Waagmi’s recipe.
- Make a quick Tomato Biryani in a pressure cooker like Narmadha does.
- Looking for an Instant Pot Rice Dish? Go on click on Swaty’s Rajma Pulao.
- Do you have some leftover plain rice? Why not give it a new look and flavour by trying Aruna’s Pepper Rice.
- Preethi’s Tomato Bath is a good way to use up leftover plain rice.
- Or you may want to try Kalyani’s one pot Tomato Pulav, by making it from scratch.
Some Of My Family’s Favorite Rice Dishes
- Buckwheat and Brown Rice Khichdi
- Mushroom Egg Fried Rice
- Lemon Rice
- Beetroot Rice
- Spinach Rice
- Mexican Rice
- Khatti Kanki
- Tawa Pulao
- Nunu’s Biryani
- Egg Biryani
- Badshahi Khichdi
Ingredients for Kala Chana Pulao/Brown Chickpea Pulao
Mostly everyone has rice and chickpeas either brown or white in their pantry. Therefore this filling rice dish is very easy to put together.
Cooked Rice – It can be any white or brown rice and you can easily use up leftover rice. I sometimes purposely make more normal plain rice so that I can use it to make rice dishes.
Boiled Kala Chana / Brown Chickpeas – here you use whichever chickpeas you have, white or brown. Can also used tinned or canned ones. If you’re using dried chickpeas then you need to soak them in warm water overnight or for 6-8 hours. I usually boil them in a pressure cooker with some fresh water and a bit of salt for nearly 3-4 whistles.
Onion – either white, red or yellow – slice it or chop it.
Garlic – peeled and minced or finely chopped
Ginger – peeled and grated or minced
Green Chili – finely chopped or paste
Tomato – if you’re lucky and have fresh one, chop it finely or use fresh tomato puree – homemade or canned. I’ve stored home made puree in small containers.
Spinach – finely chopped, totally optional if you don’t have any, add any other leafy greens like fenugreek or kale. If you don’t have any, omit it.
Spices – whole ones like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaf. Powder ones – red chili powder, garam masala, asafetida
Fresh Coriander and Mint leaves – as I had both I used them. If you don’t have any, omit.
Oil/Ghee – depends on what you like to use. For vegan version can use coconut oil or normal vegetable oil
- Gluten Free
- For Satvik option omit onion and garlic
KALA CHANA PULAO/BROWN CHICKPEA PULAO
3 cups cooked rice
1 cup cooked kala chana/brown chickpeas
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp green chili paste
¼ cup fresh tomato puree or 1 tomato finely chopped
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
a generous pinch of asafetida (hing)
1″ cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
½ -1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp garam masala
1-1 ½ tsp salt
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
¼ cup chopped mint leaves
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp oil
- Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
- When it becomes hot, add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns and bay leaf.
- Let it sizzle for a few seconds, then add mustard and cumin seeds.
- When the seeds begin to sizzle and pop, add asafetida.
- Add onion immediately and stir fry till it becomes soft and translucent.
- Add ginger, garlic and chili paste. Stir fry for a few seconds.
- Add tomato and mix well.
- Cover the pan and let the mixture cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Add red chili powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well.
- Add spinach and mix till it wilts.
- Add cooked chickpeas and lemon juice. Mix well.
- Add the cooked rice.
- Mix gently till the rice is coated with the mixture.
- Add chopped coriander and mint. Mix gently.
- Serve hot Kala Chana Pulao with some yogurt, raita and your favourite pickle.
- If you don’t have chickpeas, use any lentils or beans of your choice.
- Add diced potato after you’ve stir fried the onion, garlic, ginger and chili. Cover the pan and let the potatoes cook. The add the tomato puree.
- Add any leafy greens of your choice to replace spinach.
- Adjust spices according to your taste.
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