Pindi Chana epitomises all that is so wonderful about authentic Indian restaurant-style dishes from the North West frontier region of the country. This dish of sauteed chickpeas is actually called Rawalpindi Chana, often shortened for ease. Hailing from Rawalpindi in Pakistan Pindi Chana is traditionally served with a delicious puffy deep fried flatbread called Bhatura, it has a sublime taste that is the end result of a seemingly endless list of ingredients. Oh and the chickpeas need to be soaked overnight in tea liquor for that characteristic deep and rich colour. There's not much solace I can offer about the ingredients list, but my recipe for Pindi Chana uses a tin of chickpeas and takes 30 minutes to cook. On the upside, you better stock up on these spices because the first time you make this definitely won't be the last.
Make a strong cup of black tea with the tea bags. Rinse and wash the chick peas then place them in a mixing bowl with the tea liquor and the sodium bicarbonate.
While they are soaking, roast the cumin and coriander seeds with the anardana powder lightly for about 20 seconds on a low heat. Then take off the heat and let cool.
Peel the ginger, garlic and puree to a smooth paste along with a couple of teaspoons of the tea with the roasted spices. When you’re paste is ready, deseed and julenne slice into strips the green chilli. You may want to reserve some of the ginger to julienne too for later.
Now, bring a wok or kadai to medium heat with the oil. When it’s hot, drop in the whole spices. As they sizzle up, spoon in the spice paste. Cook this for a minute, then add the chilli powder, the green chilli strips and the chick peas with the tea. Cook this on medium for 20 minutes until the water evaporates.
Finish by stirring through salt to your taste, the garam masala powder and the amchur. If you want to deepen the shade of brown on your pindi chana, you can add a drop of black colouring but it’s not compulsory.