Kabli Channa – Curried Chick Peas

Margaret Fulton is to be thanked for this recipe. She is a kind of Grand Dame of Australian cooking and it was her slim book on Indian cooking that I bought many years ago after I’d promised to do an Indian dinner party for a friend. The book is detailed but amazingly impersonal, I don’t think there’s a single “I” or gushy reference to the romance of India in the whole thing, let alone an account of being violated, possibly metaphorically, in a cave. Regardless, the dishes work well. For some reason, the smell of bacon doesn’t do it for me any more, but for olfactory jollies , the cooking-spices-in-oil technique of Indian food is up there.

Chick peas are great and I should have them more often but getting my crap together and soaking them the night or the morning before is just too hard. Just give them a wash and soak them – apparently, the longer you soak them, the less of a danger you become in confined spaces.


250gm Chick Peas and 3 cups of water with a little salt and simmer until the chick peas are tender. Drain but reserve the water for later.

Heat 2tbs oil (or ghee) and then add a chopped onion and fry until coloured. Add four cloves and an inch of cinnamon stick and fry for a few seconds before adding 2 crushed garlic cloves; 1 inch of ginger-chopped; 2 green chillies – chopped finely; and 2 tsp of ground coriander and fry for 5 minutes. Add one chopped tomato and cook until the liquid’s gone.

Add the chick peas and cook gently for 5 minutes. Then add the reserved water and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Add 1 tsp garam masala and stir well. Top with some chopped coriander.

A bit dry on it’s own and could have done with a saucier accompaniment.