August 19, 2013

Black Channa with Spinach

Do you always plan ahead the next day's menu? It sure brings me a sigh of relief, moment of triumph, smile of success, if I could plan the previous night itself. There also have been nights.. oh.. those terrible nights... when I wake up in the wee hours and start planning for the next day! And, if at all I miss the planning part, I will be taking my entire morning in just deciding what to cook.. arghhhh.... and that drives me nuts!

Well, if you are like me, you 'll know what I am talking about.

Especially, recipes like this that uses dry beans & pulses needs to be planned atleast 8-10 hrs ahead. Well, canned beans is an alternative option, but do you want yourself to be forced into "unhealthy" luxury of being lazy & forgetful?! And, that is one reason why I have stopped stocking up canned 'anything' in my pantry and is always full of raw & fresh ingredients. But remember, fresh, tasty & healthy food is only a step away.. if you could pre-plan & soak the pulses, it is as easy as opening the cupboard and taking the ready-made can of beans!!!

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 8-10 hrs (includes soaking time)
Cook time - 45 mins
Serves - 3-4

Black channa - 1 cup
Onion - 1 no (medium sized, chopped into small pieces)
Spinach - 3 cups (roughly chopped)
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Red chilli powder - ½ tsp
Channa masala - ½ tsp (replace it with garam masala)
Water - ½ cup
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp

Roast & Grind
Garlic - 2 pods
Shallots - 6-8 nos (peeled & roughly chopped)
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Grated Coconut - 2 tsp (optional)
Dry red chillies - 1 no

Wash and soak black channa in water for atleast 6 hours (overnight preferred). Drain and pressure cook channa with a tsp of salt & with 2 cups water for 2 whistles. Let it cool. Drain & reserve a cup of cooked water.

Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and roast garlic, shallots and coriander seeds on medium heat until fragrant & golden brown. Let it cool and grind it into a smooth paste with coconut using as little water as possible. Set aside.

Now, heat the remaining oil in a sauce-pan. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Next, add red chilly powder, turmeric powder and channa masala. Sauté this well with onions for about 3-4 minutes or until raw smell from the powders are gone. 

Add chopped spinach and saute until the leaves are wilted. To this, add the ground paste, give it a good mix and cook for a min. Then, add channa, 1/2 cup of reserved water and mix well. Adjust salt and let the gravy come to a boil. Add more water if required.

Switch off the heat and keep it covered until ready to serve. The gravy thickens as the curry cools.

Serve warm with rice/roti.

- Sending this off to Made with Love Mondays!


  1. Delicious and healthy palak channa, cant take my eyes from ur clicks.

    1. Priya,
      You are definitely one of those who is constantly encouraging my work!!
      Thanks a bunch!!!

  2. It's so true - cooking with dry beans or other some other fresh ingredients often takes a bit of pre-planning, but the results are so worth it. This is a lovely dish and I'm intrigued by the addition of grated coconut...

  3. I just saw this on Made With Love Mondays - and I have a bag of black channa I recently bought at an Indian store near me. Perfect!