11 April 2008


Last week I happened upon Cynthia's blog about Guyanese and Caribbean food at Tastes Like Home. I have to admit that I had no idea what constitutes Guyanese cuisine but was interested to learn that Guyana has a large Indian community and its food reflects its multicultural heritage. This chickpea dish, called Channa, is no exception. Cynthia's photo is much more appetizing than mine and her description of the spicy beans sounded so good I decided to make last week. Cynthia recommends using dried beans so I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately I remembered that dried beans need to soak at about midnight so poured half a bag into a bowl (without regard to the amount listed in the recipe since I hadn't printed it out yet) and covered them with an inch of water and went to bed.

The next evening I was very pleased when the chickpeas only took about 20 minutes to cook. I drained them, then added them to some onion that had been cooking, along with cumin and some cayenne pepper. I let it cook for a few minutes, had a taste and decided to add a bit more cayenne and cumin. I added the chopped scallions and then we ate. The channa was good, but it was missing something. You know that taste- it's good but you know it's just missing some little flavor that would make it amazing. We couldn't figure out what that 'secret ingredient' was- I tried adding a little lemon but it didn't seem to help. I would really like to try to make channa again and try to tweak it a bit (or maybe just try with a fresh jar of cumin as mine is a little old).

This is also my entry into the Tried and Tasted challenge that Zlamushka is hosting. If you'd like to take a look at Cynthia's original post, you can do so here.

Note: Cynthia was kind enough to stop by and pointed out something that I had completely forgotten to do- I didn't add any salt to the chickpea cooking water! No wonder they turned out bland. So- make sure you salt the water for the chickpeas if you are using the dried variety and cooking them yourself.

Adapted from Tastes Like Home

8 oz. dried chickpeas (don't forget you have to soak them overnight)
1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 t. cumin
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
4-5 scallion, dark and light green parts only, finely diced

- Soak the chickpeas overnight overnight.

- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the onion, cook till translucent.

- Add the chickpeas, cumin and cayenne and stir to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes, till heated. Add the scallion and lemon juice and combine. Serve immediatley or at room temperature.


kat said...

its does sound really interesting & has a lot of flavors we like, must add to the try this list

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Cynthia said...

You are being too modest :) your photograph is appetizing.

Did you cook the peas with salt water? I always find that if that is not done, the other ingredients always tastes, stuck on rather than a part of the peas.

I'm glad that you'll give it another try.

Jen said...

Hi Kat-- you should definitely give this a try but following Cynthia's suggestion!

Cynthia- I totally forgot to salt the pea cooking water- I realized it just as they were done so I think that could definitely be the problem. I will let you know how it goes next time--

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zlamushka said...

Hi Jen,
I am glad to hear your honest opinion. Cynthia is right, though. Salt makes wonders. And I usually use a pinch of amchoor (dried mango) powder to pulses to add a bit of sourness. Lemon juice for some reason doesn't do much.
Anyhow, thanks for your entry.