“Eat a lot of kala channa”, said a well meaning family friend, when I was expecting Hari. This was ofcourse one amongst the many suggestions that I received from people around me. Pregnancy, after all is that time in a woman’s life when she is bombarded with a variety of tips, opinions, hints and recommendations.
Since I had a terrible first trimester and later on had specific food choices, I don’t particularly recall having eaten black chickpeas as much as this friend family friend would have liked.
But this legume is an important part of our current diet and we eat it often with jowar rotis, whole wheat chapaties and also in the form of curries combined with rice.
I have been cooking this recipe for many years, though not frequently. And since I kept changing the recipe each time and also since I didn’t have a written recipe on hand, I had to dig deep into the realms of my memory to unearth this recipe.
I made a few changes to my previous concoctions and the result was this fabulous dish.
Kala channa also known as desi (indigenous) channa or black channa is a very good source of vegetarian protein. And if you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you should be looking at including this legume in your diet.
Kala Channa Pulao makes a complete meal by itself. The carbohydrate from the rice and the protein from the channa together add great nutritional values to the meal. And the combination of spices add flavor and taste, making it delectable as well.
A cooling pomegranate raita is the perfect accompaniment to this dish.
Being a rice lover, I find this hearty combination of carbohydrate and protein very appealing and comforting.
Serve this pulao with raita as a part of your regular meal or make it a part of your lunch or dinner party menu or pack it up in your child’s lunchbox. I’m pretty sure, this is one of those dishes that if made once, will be made again and again.
Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by 24 Mantra Organic , as part of the Organic Mantras initiative . Make the switch to organic  in 2017, with so many organic products  to choose from, your switch becomes that much easier. To know more and to be a part of this organic movement, follow 24 Mantra Organic on Facebook  and Instagram .
Kala Channa Pulao | Black Chickpea Pulao Recipe
150 gm (¾ cup) black chickpeas or kala channa 
750 ml (3 cups) water
300 gm (1 ½ cups) basmati rice 
4 tomatoes, quartered
½ cup fresh coriander or cilantro
¼ cup pudina or mint leaves
2 tsp fresh ginger
1 green chili (optional)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1” piece cinnamon stick 
4 cloves 
¾ tsp yellow asafetida powder
1 tbsp coriander seed powder 
1 tsp cumin seed powder 
¾ to 1 tsp red chili powder 
½ tsp turmeric powder 
1 tsp garam masala powder  (optional)
water (as required)
2 tsp salt or to taste
Wash and soak the black chickpeas in plenty of water overnight or for 7 to 8 hours. Drain the water and place the soaked chickpeas in the pressure cooker with 3 cups water. Pressure cook the chickpeas until the first whistle, lower the heat and then cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
After the chickpeas cool down, strain the cooked chickpeas and reserve the cooking water. Add plain water into the reserved water to make it 3 cups.
Wash and soak the basmati rice in water for 30 minutes to an hour.
In a blender put in the tomatoes, coriander, mint leaves, ginger and chili if using and blend to a smooth puree.
In a heavy bottomed pan, with a tight fitting lid, heat the oil until warm. Put in the cinnamon stick and the cloves, stir fry for a few seconds until the spices start to sizzle, add the asafetida powder and then put in the ground puree.
Add in the rest of the spices, the coriander seed powder, cumin seed powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder and mix well.
After the oil begins to separate from the ground masala, add the drained rice and the drained cooked chickpeas.
Pour in the reserved chickpea water, add the salt and garam masala powder, give it a good stir and bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat, cover with a tight lid and cook until done.
Serve hot or warm with raita.
Serves 4 to 6