Friday, March 5, 2010

Appetizing Black Chana Salad

About twelve years back, I traveled to Himachal for a trek. It was a long and boring journey as the train got delayed. On one of the stations, a guy hopped in the train just as it was about to leave, with a bamboo basket hanging by his neck. We were hungry and eager to see what was in there. He was selling some chana chaat. We were a little disappointed to see that it was only chana that he had. We had not tasted it before and decided to try it. As soon as I tasted it, I was in love with it. After that we kept on buying more one after the other. I can never forget the taste of that chaat. It had cooked black chana, onions, tomatoes, lime juice and some spices. Black chana is a type of chickpeas, but is smaller than chickpeas. It has a nutty taste and is high in iron and proteins.

After that trip, I have made black chana salad numerous times using the ingredients that were in the chaat. When I made it for the first time mom and dad both loved it. 'A' too loved it when he had it for the first time and now is a big fan of this salad. I make it often in summer. I generally use sprouted chana but soaked chana is totally fine.

To make chana salad you need -

2 cups black chana (cooked)
1 cup raw onion (chopped)
1 medium tomato (chopped)
Handful of minced cilantro
2-3 green chillies (cut in rounds or finely chopped)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp chaat masala
Salt to taste

To get chana ready for salad, soak it in water overnight. The next day pressure cook it until tender. If you want to use sprouted chana, drain the soaked chana and keep it in a sprout maker. After 6-8 hours you will have it ready. When you pressure cook chana, add some salt to it. For making salad, in a bowl mix cooked chana, onions, tomatoes, chillies, and cilantro. Add salt, chaat masala and fresh lime juice. Mix well. Salad is ready to be served. Serve it cold or at room temperature.

Just a couple more things - add green chillies according to your heat preference. Green chillies blend very well in the salad. If you cannot tolerate much heat, just add a green chilli, split open vertically, and take it out once all the ingredients are mixed well. That should give just enough kick to the salad.

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