Quick and Easy Channa

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Posted By: MD
Posted In:  Beans
Page Views:  1037 views
Preparation Time:  60 minutes
Cooking Time:  60 minutes

Other Info

Serves:  14.

Additional information: Seasonings: Nicaraguans didn't use anything else. My last batch
had fresh dill and cilentro (yum). You can also add hot spices oranything else you like (add at the end and taste the beans first, youmay not "need" anything at all.Clean (sort out bad beans and rocks, if any) and wash beans. Cookuntil soft. I use a pressure cooker; it takes about 2 hours. If youdon't have a pressure cooker, soak the beans in cold or roomtempurature water overnight and cook in a pot. As they begin to cookis the time to add salt, if you use any, and some whole cloves ofgarlic (unpeeled is fine). You should end up with extra bean-water.

Prepare a large frying/saute pan or a pot. I recommend non-stick ifyou have it (especially if you plan not to use oil). The family Ilived with used cast iron. You have a choice here of refrying all thebeans, or just enough for one meal (pick the size of your pan/potaccordingly).

Heat oil in the pan and add chopped onion (chopped garlic too if youforgot it when the beans were cooking or just like it a lot). Sauteonions until slightly brown. (Note: if you don't use any oil, add theonions after you add beans. The onions will have a different flavor.)

Take the pan off the burner for a second, quickly add as many beans asyou plan to cook and lots of bean water (stand back, it willsplatter). Now comes more waiting. If you are impatient (or hungry),cook the soupy beans down once (30-45 minutes). If you want moreflavor (and have the time), cook the beans down several times (keepadding bean water or regular water (cold or room tempature)). Thisprocess can take several hours. The longer you cook the beans, thesweeter they will be. The texture will be softer and smoother too, sodon't do this if you like your beans to have individual personality.If you only add a little water at a time, you can stop the process onquicker notice (disadvantages: you are more likely to burn the wholepanful). Stir a lot when there is little water, a little when thereis a lot of water.

Zero to 10 minutes before you finish cooking, add any of the followingoptional ingredigents: chopped tomato, fresh herbs, lime/lemon juice(about one teaspoon per large serving of beans--this adds flavor andhelps cut any greesiness).

Serve. These can be a side dish or center piece dish. Serve withrice, tortillas, potatoes/yuca (cassava root), fried eggs (if you eatthem), or whatever you like. Store in fridge (I haven't triedfreezing) and reheat as often as you like.

A very common Nicaraguan dish is Gallopinto ('guy-oh-'peen-toe--namedfor the colors of the rooster (gallo) and pinto). To make it, addcooked rice when you add the beans to the frying pan (about 50-50 orto taste or availability). Cook down once.

If you cook the beans down a lot but keep the final version soupy, youwill end up with black bean soup. Such soup is a Cuban (and Dominicanand Puerto Rican, I think) dish, but I don't know enough about Cubancooking to tell you what to do with the soupy beans to make them thefull dish.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2" stick cinnamon (optional)
  • 6 cloves, crushed (optional)
  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed (optional)
  • 2 teaspoon INDIAN curry powder (see NOTE below)
  • 2 or 3 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • 2 14-16 oz. cans chick peas (garbanzos)
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves (


Although this is not absolutely authentic, it's quick (unlike most Indian dishes), and easily made for a delicious approximation of the real thing. Adding the optional ingredients helps the flavor, but a quick-and-dirty onion-garlic-curry powder-ketchup-chick peas version isn't too bad, either.

Fry the onions in oil at medium-high heat until golden and translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, fry for a minute. Add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, fry for a minute (until the kitchen begins to smell really good!). Now add the curry powder to the onions, fry for a minute or two. As the mixture begins to stick, add the ketchup to make it more pliable. Keep on frying for about 5 minutes, stirring fairly constantly. Once this "base masala" is ready (one hint is if the oil starts separating from the mixture), just add the chickpeas, including the water they are in. Stir to mix, heat until it boils, then cover and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes, take off heat and stir in coriander leaves. Serve hot, with heated pita, tortillas, Indian vegan bread (roti, naan or puri) or rice.

NOTE: McCormick's or other American "curry powder" just isn't as good as the powder you can find in Indian stores. In case you are finicky and an Indian store isn't easily available, a fair approximation can be made with 1/2 tsp. corinader, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, 1/4-1/2 tsp. hot chile powder.

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