Monday, May 31, 2010

Sweet and Sour Green Chickpeas and Spinach Curry - My Legume Love Affair 23 and Green Gourmet 1

Palak Hara Chana

It's not easy staying green. That's what I learned when I made this glorious recipe using the uncommonly beautiful and tasty green chickpea. I'd fully expected to prepare this with the fresh-from-the-pod variety, a gobsmacked, serendipitous discovery at my local supermarket, of all places. A big sack of pods, however, only yielded a cupful of beanie babies. I was forced to eat the lot of them out of one scoop of my curled fingers.

Fresh Green Chickpeas
Fresh chickpeas are irresistible when steamed for fifteen minutes,
then dusted with a ground spice of your choice and a pinch of salt.

Plan B fared far better, but the dried beans must have been as old as the Grand Canyon. They took three hours of simmering after an eight-hour soak to become tender. Though my patience paid off, I was rather perplexed that they'd turned from a jaunty verdant hue to one best described as maroon. The longer they cooked, the darker they became. But I am not complaining. It really doesn't matter what color they are. This dish is a knockout. It tastes like I struck gold.

Dried Green Chickpeas
Dried, this variety is much smaller than the more common
white chickpea, even after it is cooked.

Green Chickpeas with Spinach (Palak Hara Chana) from 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer.

Given my changes to this recipe are quite insignificant (oil reduced to 1 tablespoon; water reduced to 1 1/2 cups; chickpeas cooked the day before), I will not venture an "adapted" rewrite. You can find the full recipe here, miraculously as it is presented in the actual cookbook, PDF'd by Google Preview.


This is my own contribution to MLLA 23, hosted here by me. Please stay tuned for the round-up, likely at end of the week, when I will announce the winners of May's two random drawings while I show off all your fabulous recipes. I've received at least another dozen just today. Please bear with me while I sort through them. I expect to visit and comment on each on Tuesday, June 1. Thanks so much for spoiling me with your participation! I hope you've all enjoyed your weekend!

Diana of A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa will be announcing MLLA 24 shortly. Please stop by to feed her with your legume posts during the month of June.

This recipe is also for Preeti of Write Food, inaugurating her Green Gourmet Event. You have until June 9 to send her your gorgeous and healthy green recipes.


  1. made me laugh aload!
    it happens all the making the table to fit the colour of the dish..and then..the dish turns out all another colour...
    and me boiling
    ok! will stay tuned! can't wait to see the round up!!
    baciussss my dear!

  2. I'd love to find fresh chickpeas here... That dish looks wonderful and so healthy!



  3. This is great susan! I love 660 curries by Iyer. Perfect for GG-1, you should send it!

  4. In my quest to find new legumes to love this is a winner Susan.

  5. Your pictures are beautiful and sooooo mouthwatering! I had no idea that chickpeas could be eaten green.. These little green things look super yummy :-)

  6. Lovely post Susan. Have you tried pressure cooking? Pressure cooker is indispensable in an Indian kitchen.These beans would have cooked in 10 minutes flat rather than 3 hours. Do you accept late entries? I was away for the long weekend and I would like to contribute.

  7. Wow Susan, it sure looks super tempting. I am going to check the recipe right now :)

  8. Susan Palak with green chana looks very delicious and very tempting.Love the bright colors of the dish.

    Coming to my dishes I sent in,Amaranth leaves I used in the daal is fresh not dried.The fresh amaranth leaves are occassionally available in Indian and chinese grocery stores.They have red and green leaves.

  9. Never saw green chickpeas before. Looks soo yummy and it's definitely healthy too. Lovely clicks.

  10. Lovely dish looks wonderful and beautiful clicks too.

  11. ;-)
    I love to eat the fresh green ones straight from the pod; never contemplated cooking them.

    I love this recipe. I got a bag of green chickpeas in the pantry. I always use pressure cooker to cook the soaked beans.

  12. Hara Chana with Palak looks super!! I get these chana at my grocer and when they are tender you can just peel and eat raw. As for the dried ones, I rocommend a pressure cooker!! Make life really easy:)

  13. lovely curry and that photo of the dried green chickpeas is truly beautiful - and how lucky are you to find fresh green chickpeas in your supermarket - will look out for them now

  14. This is such a wonderful post! Found your blog on foodbuzz! I am so excited to read more of your posts!

  15. Dear Susan,

    After seeing your post, I will look for fresh chickpeas this weekend at out farmers market probably looking for gold would be much easier, wish me good luck:-)

    I can't wait for the round up since this is the first event that I joined!

  16. I am green with envy that you can access fresh chickpeas ;)

    And the sweet n sour chickpea sounds fabulous.

  17. This is the second time in a week that I've come across a post about green chickpeas! (Isn't that amazing how that happens?)

    The dish looks delicious! What a beautiful photograph.


  18. You know Susan, I've never seen a fresh chickpea, at least not that I remember.
    Those pods look like little green baby mice!

  19. Oh, btw, a pressure cooker is highly efficient to deal with soaked beans.

  20. This is a winner of a recipe Susan. A dash of coconut on top and yo should be in chickpea heaven.

    I have tried frozen green chickpeas once. Beans and greens make a great combo whatever the green or bean maybe.

    I will echo Sra, with all the bean love a pressure cooker is a must :)

  21. In all the chaos of the last month, I forgot to answer the comments in this post. My humble apologies. I'll have them ready in the morning.
    Thanks for your kind words and patience.

  22. Hi, Brii! Ah, the sometimes unpredictable results of cooking. ; )

    Thanks, Rosa. They're pretty hard to find here, too.

    Val - : D

    Preeti - Thanks. I just received 660 Curries as a gift. It's truly a stunner of a cookbook. Iyer has such a lovely, agreeable personality to match his innovative recipes.

    Thank you, Vanessa. Someday I shall have a garden again. Would love to grow these from seed (or should I say bean)?

    Cool Lassi(e) - Thanks. A pressure cooker is definitely in my near future. I cook dried beans too often not to save some significant time and fuel.

    Priya - Thank you!

    Kiran - Thanks. I was very happy with this recipe. Thank you for explaining amaranth to me. I have since done some research on it, and am sure I will someday spy it in my Indian grocery.

    Thank you, Shriya! Yes, it's very healthy. No guilt whatsoever as I dug in. : }

    Thanks, Simply Food!

    Soma - Fresh really are a special treat. I've made this recipe twice. I plan on keeping my cupboard well supplied with dried hara channa.

    Apu - Thank you. It's official. I will be getting that pressure cooker very soon. I love cooking, but prefer not to be a slave to the stove.

    Hi, Johanna! Thanks so much. It is just dumb luck; I never expected to find these.

    Welcome, Sook! Thanks very much for your visit. Do come by again.

    Esra - LOL! It's true.

    Hi, Anh! Thanks. I do believe there is a very short window of availability, a spring thing (well, spring for the northern hemisphere, anyway).

    Thanks, Elizabeth. Yes, life works in mysterious and lovely ways sometimes.

    Sra - And I would have thought you would be familiar with them long before I would. They were, BTW, the tastiest mice I've ever eaten. ; D I'll be shopping soon for a pressure cooker.

    Indosungod - Thank you. Funny you should mention coconut. It did occur to me. I shall try it when I prepare this for the third time. The recipe is definitely a keeper.

  23. The green chick peas are my favorite from childhood. And we don't get them here. All I do manage to do is get the dried ones, soak and cook.

    A fresh salad with chopped tomato, onion, cucumbers, radish, coriander, lemon juice, crushed, roasted cumin makes an amazing green chick pea salad.