Lockdown Menu: How To Cook Chickpeas – Beyond Chana Masala

If you are bored of the same old chana masala, we bring to you 5 different ways you can cook chickpeas at home.

If there was ever a greater need to minimize food wastage and use all our resources to their optimum potential, it is now. To encourage us all to do this, and in ways that don’t need a whole lot of added effort, we have come up with simple ideas to use staple ingredients differently in your daily meals. Most of you may already have these as part of regular groceries. Through these posts, we hope you get fresh ideas to use your kitchen supplies wisely and in interesting ways.

We feel the toughest job in any house is to decide what to cook for the next meal. Even more so with the limited pantry resources during the lockdown. Chickpeas or Chane (चने) are also known as garbanzo beans in the west and are easy to stock at home. Chickpeas (safed chana) are packed with protein, fiber, and several minerals and vitamins. Chickpeas are used widely in India and Middle Eastern Countries with different cooking techniques. A great source of plant-based protein, chickpeas are cooked in India with different masalas and aromatic gravies. Some common dishes made with chickpeas in India are Pindi Chole, Channa Masala, Amritsari Chole, Chole-Bhature and the evergreen Choley-chawal. But, if you are bored with the same old recipes, here are 5 different dishes you can make with chickpeas.

 Lockdown Menu: How To Cook Chickpeas – Beyond Chana Masala
A plate of home-made choley-chawal remains unparalleled.

1) Hummus

Making a flavorful hummus at home is not as daunting as it may seem. All you need are a handful of ingredients and you are sorted. Soak the chickpeas overnight. Cook them in a pressure cooker for about 3-4 whistles. Open and let them cool. Remove excess peels. Transfer these to a blender/mixer. Now add toasted tahini, olive oil, garlic cloves, salt, red chili powder, roasted cumin powder, and lemon juice. Once all this is well combined and turns into a creamy texture, add a few kalamata olives and drizzle olive oil on top.

Serve with falafel, pita bread, lavaash or some carrot and cucumber sticks. If you don’t have tahini at home, just add toasted white sesame seeds. You can use hummus as a sandwich spread too.

 Lockdown Menu: How To Cook Chickpeas – Beyond Chana Masala
Making a hummus in an interesting way of using chickpeas.
Smooth or coarse – Which form of hummus do you prefer?

2) Falafel

Falafel is deep-fried balls made with chickpeas or fava beans. Even though hummus and falafel originated in the middle east, they are relished throughout the world. To make falafel at home you will need to soak the chickpeas overnight. Drain the excess water and add them to a mixer jar. Add garlic, coriander leaves, roasted cumin powder, salt, parsley (if you have any), red chili powder and chopped onion. Turn this into a coarse-textured mix. Add a spoonful of gram flour or refined wheat flour. Mix it well and turn them into small round balls, flatten them a little from the top and deep fry.

If you like the nutty taste of sesame seeds, sprinkle some on top before frying. You can also add some vegetables if you wish to, though traditionally it’s not done. Serve with hummus and pita bread.

 Lockdown Menu: How To Cook Chickpeas – Beyond Chana Masala
Crunchy falafel dipped in a creamy hummus is a meal we all love!

3) Chickpea Salad / Channa Chaat

A bowl of refreshing chickpea salad is satisfying and healthy. In a bowl of soaked and boiled chickpeas, add chopped onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers and lots of finely chopped coriander leaves.

For chana chat – Omit the bell peppers. Add lemon juice, finely chopped ginger, salt, and bhuna jeera.

For a chickpea salad – Make a dressing with olive oil, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add a handful of fresh pomegranate (anar) to give it a vibrant twist.

 Lockdown Menu: How To Cook Chickpeas – Beyond Chana Masala
A healthy and refreshing chickpea salad

4) Chana Vada

Vadas are one of the most loved South Indian foods that taste brilliant with some sambar, coconut chutney and a tomato-peanut chutney. Traditionally, vadas are made with urad dal but you can make vadas at home with ground boiled chickpeas also. Add ginger, garlic, green chilies, besan, salt, and red chili powder. Turn this into a sticky batter. Make doughnut-shaped vadas and deep fry till golden. If the doughnut shape isn’t holding well, turn it into a kebab/tikki shape. Serve with some coconut chutney, tomato chutney or a mint coriander chutney.

 Lockdown Menu: How To Cook Chickpeas – Beyond Chana Masala
Chana Vadas taste great with coconut chutney.
In the picture – Medu Vada

5) Aloo And Chole Tikki

If you are missing the chaat, here is a simple solution to manage those cravings. Soak chickpeas overnight and boil them with a little salt. Cook them in a pan with some dry chana masala, juliennes of ginger and coriander leaves. Fry a batch of crispy frozen aloo tikkis or you can make some from scratch too. Add a big serving of cooked chickpeas on top, add a dollop of curd, chopped onions, ginger, coriander leaves, meethi saunth chutney, spicy green chutney, and some sev. Serve and enjoy the feeling of content with every bite.

 Lockdown Menu: How To Cook Chickpeas – Beyond Chana Masala
A plate of aloo and chole tikki is sure to satisfy your chaat cravings.
Image for representational purpose only

Which is your favorite chickpea recipe? Let us know in the comment box below.

Struggling to cook with limited resources? There is a lot in our kitchens even during this lockdown, all we need is a set of fresh ideas and suggestions to keep our menus interesting! Read these posts to help you choose what to cook for the next meal using regular staples like attasujimoong dalrice and potatoes. We will also give you tips on how to use common condiments like mayonnaise and spices like jeera and turmeric in your diet to maximise the usage of everyday products.

About The Author

Nishtha Asrani Sethi, born and brought up in Delhi, is a content writer who has previously worked with NDTV and Resolver. Her roots are deep within the food industry, thanks to her family business and a keen interest in contemporary food products. Nishtha loves to serve her articles with a side of humor. Her Bachelor’s degree in Home Science comes in handy while researching the science behind the food. When she is not trying to win a battle of fries vs fruit with her daughter, she is busy experimenting with her huge joint family with crazy recipes.

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  1. Thank you for all these amazing recipes at this time ! Trying out many things you post ! The hummus came out a super hit. Thank you

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