Green chickpeas have been in the markets for a few months now and their fresh, petit-pois sweetness is what makes it such a hit when cooked in sabzis, mashed into a hara bhara kebab-like tikki, or even pulsed into a hummus. If you’re short on time, some markets will shell the chickpeas for you, but if like me, you have a ton of TV backlog to catch up on, you could bring the unshelled variety home on a Sunday afternoon and shell the chickpeas out of their papery skins leisurely.
The Daagh I refer to in the post title is what us Sindhis call our tomato-onion gravies. The ratio of tomato and onion changes with every dish, and also every home. Every mum makes a slightly different version, at times in a pressure cooker, but it is without a doubt the most common gravy found in a Sindhi home. The dry spices added in after the daagh base is ready would be turmeric, quite a bit of coriander powder, red chilli powder, and often, a bit of garam masala. If you master daagh, you can make countless veggies in it-from mushrooms to peas and potatoes, aubergine, and even chicken. It’s one of the Sindhi mother-gravies.
Hara Chana In Daagh With Poppy Seeds
Yield 3-4 servings
Daagh refers to the mainstay onion-tomato gravies made in practically all Sindhi households in form or another. Here I've cooked green chickpeas in it with poppy seeds to thicken the gravy slightly and make it taste richer and nuttier.
Green chickpeas 250g
Vegetable oil 2 tbsp
Onions 2, medium-sized, finely chopped
Tomatoes 2, medium-sized, finely chopped
Poppy seeds 1 tbsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder 1/2 tsp
Garam masala 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves a small bunch, freshly chopped to garnish
Preheat a kadai or a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in the vegetable oil and let that get hot. To this hot oil, add in the onions and sauté it for a minute or two until starting to turn translucent. Sprinkle over a bit of salt along with the poppy seeds and give it a good toss, and reduce the heat slightly to encourage the onions to brown slowly but not burn. When the onions are nicely browned, and yes this is important, add in the tomatoes to scrape up any golden bits stuck at the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat up and toss the tomatoes, then add in the turmeric and chilli powder and let the tomatoes cook on a medium-high heat till the oil starts to separate from the sides of the tomatoes.
Reduce the heat, add in the rest of the dry spices-the cumin, coriander and garam masala powders and give it a good toss. Tip in the chickpeas, then combine the masala and chickpea together stirring it a few times every now and then.
Add in water enough to come up just a little over an inch above the surface of the chickpeas. Bring this water up to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, put a lid on and let the sabzi cook till the chickpeas are soft. Alternately you could at this stage transfer it to a pressure cooker and cook for 10 minutes, or till the chana is cooked. Season if necessary and scatter over the coriander leaves before serving.