Channa kulambu prepared using small black chickpeas was one of the few curries I liked to relish during my childhood days. In those days large white chickpeas were sparingly used for the reasons still unconvincing to me. Eventually I switch to large white chickpeas for their soft, melt-in-mouth texture and prepare even more delicious channa kulambu. Nowadays I like to prepare chettinad style aromatic channa kulambu using white chickpeas, drumstick pods & eggplants (brinjal) to savour the beautiful aroma of drumsticks & delicious flavor of channa.
Earlier we were served tangy konda kadalai kulambu along with rice, mashed spinach (kadaintha arai keerai), yogurt based mixed vegetables curry (avial) and scrambled potato (urulai kizhangu puttu) for lunch. But I like to serve channa kulambu to my family with creamy avial made using red chillies, scrambled sweet potato (sakkaravalli kizhangu podimas) and crispy tapioca appalam as shown below.
Chettinad style channa kulambu goes very well with any millet or traditional rice variety particularly with red rice (mappillai samba arisi).
Channa Kulambu recipe:
|Cooked white chickpeas (Kabuli channa)||1/2 cup|
|Tamarind||a small lemon sized ball|
|For kulambu masala:|
|Sesame oil (for roasting the spices)||1 tsp|
|Coriander seeds (dhania)||1 tablespoon|
|Poppy seeds (khus khus)||1/2 tsp|
|Fennel seeds (sombu)||1/4 tsp|
|Garlic (poondu)||6 pods|
|Sesame oil (nallennai)||1 tsp|
|Cumin seeds||1/2 tsp|
|Curry leaves||a few|
|Asafoetida (hing) powder||1/8 tsp (a pinch)|
- Heat a pan with 1/2 tsp of sesame oil in medium flame.
- Roast all the ingredients for masala except ginger & garlic.
- Remove them from pan when the aroma is released.
- Add 1/2 tsp of oil into the pan and saute ginger & garlic until done.
- Grind them into a smooth paste after adding little water as shown below.
- Microwave tamarind after adding 100 ml of water for 1 min. (or soak in hot water for 15 min.)
- Make tamarind juice using about 700 ml of water and keep aside.
- Heat a pan with oil in medium flame.
- Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, curry leaves into the pan and fry for few seconds.
- Add asafoetida powder followed by chopped drumsticks & brinjal.
- Saute for few minutes until the flavor from drumsticks is released.
- Add tamarind extract and kulambu masala into the pan.
- Bring it to a boil at high flame.
- Reduce the flame to medium until the vegetables are cooked.
- Add cooked channa while vegetables are half cooked.
- Add salt when the vegetables become soft & tender.
- Now reduce the flame to low and cover the pan with its lid allowing kulambu enriched with flavors of spices & drumsticks.
- Remove from heat when it reaches the required consistency.
- Serve hot with rice, soft idli, or spongy dosa.
Tips & Tweaks:
Here I used wrinkled Byadagi chillies for the bright red color & intense aroma, but you may use other chillies according to the desired heat & color, Salem gundu milagai are famous for blistering heat, whereas Guntur long chillies are for both the color & heat.