Kale chane, halwa and poori– without these three things, Navaratri in our house is incomplete. Navaratri meaning ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit, is the major Hindu festival celebrating the goddess Durga.
During the nine nights and ten days, different forms of Shakti (Durga Ma) are worshiped. Prayers and food are offered to God as well as dance festivals known as ‘Garba & Raas’ are held in celebration. It’s one of my favorite times of the year as the countdown to Diwali begins!
Because of the auspicious time, foods prepared during Navaratri are void of any onion, garlic and non vegetarian ingredients. Vegetarian foods prepared during Navaratri vary all though out India and kale chane are a specialty of North India. Kale chane and halwa are both staples on auspicious days in most North Indian homes.
The first time I made Kale chane was my first married Diwali. I was fasting and wanted to prepare a perfect Diwali thaali (Diwali plate) just like my mom did while we were growing up. I asked her for the recipe over the phone and set forth making the dishes one by one. The kadoo ki saabzi, raas wale aloo and kheer took me little time as I had made them all before and had an idea on proportions. When it got time to make the kale chane I started following the recipe, checking every ingredient off the list. After Diwali puja my husband and I sat down to eat.
I was so excited for him to try the kale chane (it’s one of his favorites). He gave it a taste and did all he could not to spit it out. In all the jumble of cooking so many dishes I had notated the recipe wrong and double the salt! They tasted terrible to put it gently, but we had a good laugh at my fumble. You can bet the next time I made kale chane was a non fasting day, so I could taste as I go.
This recipe is for the Navaratri friendly version but is full of flavor and tastes great any time of year. If you are cooking this another time of year you can sauté 1/3 cup chopped onions and tomatoes at the start to make it with more of gravy. Black chickpeas are high in protein and fiber and are considered a ‘super food’.
Growing up if we made a fuss about eating then my dad would reply “It’s horse’s food, it will make you strong!” After getting married I remember my husband mentioning how it was horse’s food, all I could do was smirk at the coincidence. Black chickpeas are very dense so soaking them overnight is not only suggested it’s almost necessary to ensure quicker cooking time.
Kale chane are a great finger food for kids if they are at the chewing stage. You can add them in chaat, salads; have them with roti or just on their own. My favorite thing to do is roll them in a hot poori with some halwa… a sweet and spicy poori roll – yum!
Try these Kale chane & have a festive & flavorful Navaratri season!
Kale Chane (Black Chickpeas)
- 1 cup kala chana (Black Chick Peas) (soaked overnight)
- 2 teaspoons finely crushed ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon roasted jeera powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon black salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- fresh cilantro (for garnish)
|Wash the soaked chick peas and pressure cook them for 3-4 whistles (or until soft).|
|In a heavy bottom pan heat oil and add cumin seeds to it. Once the seeds start sputtering add the drained chick peas.|
|Add the black salt, haldi, red chili powder, jeera (cumin) powder and mix thoroughly.|
|Keep it on simmer for 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat, add lemon juice and chopped cilantro.|
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