Patoora or Bhatura
Leavened Fried Bread
Black Chana Masala is a dish made with black chickpeas (also known as black gram or kala chana). I always go for the dried variety (but you can get them tinned from Indian grocery stores). Kala Chana are dark brown in colour and have a very rough outer texture and are known to be packed full of nutrients. They can be cooked with onions, tomatoes and a few simple spices for a great curry or roasted as snacks, boiled or steamed and added to salads or to stews.
These chickpeas are known as Indian chickpeas and are different to the more widely consumed white chickpeas. They are heartier and have much more of an earthy flavour and what is so special is that they are known for their health benefits. Very high in fibre, packed full of protein, a great source of vitamin B6, C, folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin as well as minerals including manganese, phosphorus, iron and copper. My mum will still cook kala chana just for the nutritious gravy the dish produces if she is feeling like she needs a boost. Not only is the gravy packed with all these nutrients it is also very easy to digest. In fact as a child I can remember my mum soaking pieces of roti in the gravy to give to my elderly grandma as it's an easy to digest meal that would give her all the nutrients she needed.
Now, it's also important to recognise these do require some cooking. Firstly, these dried chickpeas are hard and have a tough outer coating so they benefit from soaking (minimum of 6 hours but overnight is best). This allows the skin to soften so you are able to digest them more effectively.
Secondly, I would always recommend cooking these in a pressure cooker. It basically eases the long laborious task of softening and infusing flavour into a much easier and simpler process.
Thirdly, these chickpeas have a slightly harder texture even when they are cooked they won't go as soft as white chickpeas.
I like to have these in a fairly liquidy gravy but if you prefer a thicker sauce thats fine too - you just need to cook them for slightly longer and simmer with the lid off once they are cooked through. and either is fine.
Here's my recipe.
Kala chana masala is great with soft fluffy roti's