I've been on a slow cooker frenzy these past couple of days. I made Dal Makhani over the weekend and then decided that I was going to make my old favorite from my younger days in a slow cooker as well ... Kala Channa Curry.
Kala Channa, or Bengal Gram, is a cousin of the Chick pea, or Garbanzo bean. It is a legume, and super high in protein content, and it is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables. According to Wikipedia, 7,500 year-old remains have been found in the Middle East. I also found out today (thanks to Wiki) that India is the largest producer of Chick peas in the world - close to 6 million tonnes annually. Pakistan and Turkey, follow as not-so-close second and third, with less than a million tonnes each. As compared to the more commonly found light colored chick peas, the darker Bengal Gram are a great source of zinc, phosphorous, folic acid and protein. They are also very high in dietary fiber and hence a healthy source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin resistance or diabetes. They are low in fat, and what is present in the seed is mostly polyunsaturated. In the US, I've never found a can of Bengal gram .. while the lighter colored Garbanzo bean is everywhere. The dry bean is easily found in Indian grocery stores.
Prep Time: 8-10 hours in a slow cooker
- 1 cup Bengal Gram (kala channa)
- 1 Medium Red onion onion, diced
- 1 large tomatoes, diced.
- 4-5 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
- 1 tbsp Cumin powder
- 1 tbsp Coriander powder
- 1-2 tsp Red Chilli powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 cup Vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Wash and soak the beans overnight in ample amounts of water (3-4 times the amount of beans). Put all ingredients in the crock pot and about an additional cup of cold water and cook on high for pretty much the whole day. I set it in the morning before I left for work and it was ready when I got home. As with the dal recipe, the tomatoes, onions and celery will cook down so don't worry about how they're diced. A coarse chop is all that's needed. For the celery, I even chopped up some of the tender leaves and added them to the crock pot. In the evening, I tested the beans to make sure they're done, and tasted for salt. Garnish with pepper, a sprinkle of Garam masala and fresh diced coriander leaves, and enjoy over rice, or sop up with bread. The final dish should be quite soupy. I had it tonight with leftover Turmeric Spice Rice from the weekend. Yumm!