A few days ago I got a message on Whatsapp about the short term availability of the fresh green chick pea otherwise known as green channa. I was delighted and quite eager to get my hands on this rarely available ingredient.It’s not really common in South Indian cuisine because they are grown primarily in the upper most regions of our country.
The channa in this fresh green state is harvested for a very short duration before it is left to mature and develop to a darker brown stage which most of us are familiar with. This young channa is highly nutritious and a great source of protein.It is also much easier to digest in this form and does not cause as much flatulence as the brown ones.
The colour is such a pretty shade of green ,like a new leaf that unfurls to the first light of day after a cold spell. It looked extremely appetising and we couldn’t wait to add it to a few dishes.The chick pea has a rare characteristic,in that,it is both a protein as well as a carbohydrate. Also like most greens it has a good amount of calcium.
‘Hara channa ‘ as it’s commonly referred to in the North is popularly eaten ,when green, as a chaat dish. Mixed with the tongue tickling flavours of tamarind, coriander and garlic chutney ,topped with sev and curd,it makes for an unbeatable combination of flavours that are fresh and tangy.Our marwari friends make yummy versions of this chaat and that too in copious quantities to share with all.
This ingredient definitely spiced up meal options for the children at home. We made a simple gravy for dinner to mop up with millet rotis as well as some hara channa kebabs.The chick pea absorbs savoury flavours the best. A simple masala of ground onion,tomato and ginger with a tempering of green chilli, jeera and whole cinnamon was all that was needed to make a mouthwatering side dish.The boiled channa does turn darker when cooked but it retains the freshness and that wholesome texture.
The kebabs were made by simply adding fresh coriander leaves, green chillies and pumpkin seeds to the boiled green channa. A quick mix in the blender followed by the addition of a few spoons of gram flour and the mixture was the right consistency to shape into round cutlets.
In addition to eating these foods when in season,it also helps children learn about how a simple ingredient can be elevated to becoming a delicious meal ,with a little effort.
While people throng stores to buy products that have travelled across the seas and are thereby leaving a deep carbon footprint, small inputs on our part is all that it takes to enjoy the different produce that is grown fresh in various corners of our own country.
The green chickpea was not so easy to come by in Coimbatore,in the year past . Thanks to the connect achieved by technology, healthy ,seasonal ingredients are but a phone call away. The green chick pea will only be available for a few more days.They can be procured both at Pazhamudhir Departmental Store or by placing an order with Ms.Madhu Wadhwa (9894712054)
When we as a community come forward to encourage the availability of fresh produce,please know that we are instrumental in being the catalyst that brings about the change that will ultimately benefit the people who rightfully belong at the top of the food chain-The farmer.