Tea and Ginger Simmered Chickpeas (Chai Patte Waali Chana)

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This may seem like a fusion dish if you are not familiar with some of India's regional curries. However, ask a northeast Indian about chickpeas in brewed teas, and he or she will nod in that oh-so-Indian way and rattle off many other tasty and unusual concoctions that use the region's world-famous tea leaves. Darjeeling's black tea is the cabernet of teas, with unparalleled body, aroma, and color in each hot sip. When added to sauces, it imparts, in addition to color and aroma, a slight perfumed bitterness. A good way to use up leftover brewed tea, wouldn't you agree?

From page 331 of 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer.
2 tbs black tea leaves, preferably Darjeeling
2 tbs mustard oil or canola oil
1 tbs cumin seeds
2 tbs finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tbs finely chopped garlic
2-4 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, to taste, stems removed, thinly sliced crosswise (do not remove seeds)
3 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1.5 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
juice of 1 medium lime
1. Bring 2 cups water to a rolling boil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the tea leaves, remove the pan from the heat, and allow the tea to steep for about 5 minutes; it will turn the water a deep reddish brown. Strain the infusion, discarding the swollen leaves.
2. Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle, turn reddish brown, and smell fragrant, 5 to 10 seconds. Then add the ginger, garlic, and chiles, and stir-fry until the ginger and garlic are light brown and the chiles smell pungent, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Stir in the chickpeas, cilantro, salt, and turmeric. Cook, making sure every chickpea gets well coated, about 1 minute. Pour in the brewed tea, stir once or twice, and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Stir in the lime juice and serve.
Serves 6
Meal   DinnerCuisine   Indian
Dish   Main DishCooking Method   Sauteed
Main Ingredient   Beans/LegumesStyle   One Dish Meals
Prep Time   15 to 30 minutesCooking Time   15 to 30 minutes
Features   Dairy-Free, Diabetic-Friendly, High-Fiber, Low-Calorie, Low-Carbohydrate, Low-Fat, Low-Sodium, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wheat/Gluten-Free

Matthew S

Member since May 2009

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