Wednesday, 26 October 2011



1)    Chick peas (any variety) – 250 gm.
2)    Elephant foot yam – 150 gm.
3)    Coconut – ½
4)    Medium hot red chilies – 6 Nos.
5)    Cucumber tree fruit (Bilimbi) – 20 gm.
6)    Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
7)    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
8)    Coconut oil or any other cooking oil – 2 teaspoons
9)    Salt – 1½ teaspoons
To Cook:
Soak the chick peas (brown skinned or white) in water overnight. Peel the elephant foot yam and chop into chunks of roughly 1 inch cubes. Split the cucumber tree fruit lengthwise (see note). Grate the coconut. Set a small pan or wok on the stove. Put in a few drops of coconut oil and drop in the chilies. Roast on low heat for 30 seconds.
Drain the chick peas and put them in a pressure cooker together with the cucumber tree fruit and the chopped yam. Pour in double their volume of water. Put the cooker on the stove. As soon as you hear the second whistle, turn down the heat and cook for 3 minutes. Switch off the stove and allow it to cool naturally.
Set aside 2 teaspoonfuls of the grated coconut and put the rest in a wet grinder or in a food processor. Add the roasted chilies and grind to fine paste, adding a little water for grinding smoothly. When the paste is nice and smooth, chuck in a tablespoonful of the cooked chick peas and grind to fine paste (the chick peas will give the curry a beautiful body and taste).
Put the rest of the cooked chick peas and yam together with their stock if any in a vessel. Add the salt and a little water and boil for a minute. Now put in the ground coconut paste. Stir well. If the curry is too thick, add a little more water. Taste and add more seasoning if required. Boil nicely for a minute and switch off the heat.
Set a small pan on low heat. Pour in the rest of the coconut oil. Throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds are about to finish crackling, put in the 2 teaspoonfuls of grated coconut and stir. When it turns golden brown, add the curry leaves. Switch off the heat and tip over the contents of the pan into the curry. Stir once and cover with a lid. Let rest for half an hour. Your delicious chana ghashi is ready. Serve with rice.
1)    If the cucumber tree fruit (Bilimbi or Chilimbi or irimban puli in Malayalam) is not available, you can also use 10 gm. of tamarind. The reason I use cucumber tree fruit is that it contains a lot of essential minerals or vitamins and it also makes the cooking of all pulses much easier.
2)    The cucumber tree fruit is used to give some sourness to the curry. If you do not want any sourness in the curry, you can omit this ingredient.
3)    If the elephant foot yam is not available, you can use potatoes instead but the taste may differ a bit.

Cucumber tree fruit (Bilimbi)

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