Kaale channa Ka khatta (Choliyaa) – black gram chickpeas sour curry

This gram chickpeas curry called choliyaa or khatta  is one of our best memories of childhood. This is something everyone waits for in dham (the traditional festival food ) served by botis  ( traditional chefs since generations). The traditional Dham differs in every region of the state. However the Kangri Dham  (Kangra) is the most famous among all, which comprises of almost 10 to 11 dishes. It is served in patals ( plates made with fresh green leaves of Sal or Banyan tree leaf and connected with small wooden sticks which you can take from brooms stick , or any sharp thin splinters etc). Here is the recipe of the appeitizing choliyaa:
  • 2 cups black gram brown chickpeas with shell , soaked overnight
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (Methi)
  • Salt to taste
  • One small stick of cinnamon/ dalchini (Optional)
  • 2 black cardamom pods (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsps mango powder dried (amchur) or tamarind pulp
  • 2 tsps coriander powder
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 2 tbsps chickpea flour (besan) or Rice flour or wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida (hing)
  • Water (optional) or use the stock from boiled channa
  • 2 tbsps coriander leaves chopped
    1/2 tsp jaggery or dried dates (Chuhara)
  1. Boil the soaked black gram in a pressure cooker till it is tender.
  2. Drain the black gram but save the stock (liquid).
  3. Heat the mustard oil in a big pan.
  4. When the oil reaches its smoking point, add dry spices (Cumin, fennel seeds, fenugreek, dried red chillies, cinnamon, cardmon, asafoetida, dry mango powder)
  5. Saute for a minute, now  add the cooked black gram and salt to taste.
  6. Once the dried spices are mixed. Take 1 cup from left over stock of channa water and mix with chickpea flour. Stir it well so that there are no lumps. If you don’t have gram flour you can use rice flour or wheat flour. Add in the pan and keep stirring.
  7. This step acts as a thickening agent (Ottan in regional language).
  8. If you are using amchur add in the beginning with dried spices. If using tamarind, add at this stage.
    (I used the reserved liquid in which the gram was cooked and added a little more water to make up the quantity), and cook till desired consistency is reached. I like soupy consistency. If you feel the curry is too sour, then add the jaggery or you can add dates or dried dates also in tempering
    Garnish with coriander leaves.
  9. Enjoy with steamed white rice.

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