Have you ever enjoyed the rare delight of Choliya or Green Chickpeas? The humble but very versatile chickpeas are usually dried when they reach us or packed in tins and kind of flavourless. Choliya or green chickpeas are harvested at their peak of freshness that’s why they are full of flavour and nutrition packed.
Being an excellent source of fibre, green chickpeas help us feel full for a longer time. They are also a fresh source of folate, antioxidants,vitamins and protein.
There are so many ways you can include them in your diet, like tossed in a salad or pasta, pureed to make hummus with them or simmered in a curry with potatoes but my favourite way to eat them is to make Choliya Pulao.
Pulao is a supremely aromatic and exquisite dish in its usage of elegant spices. While the spices rule supreme in most biryani preparations, in Pulao they are required to lend only a subtle flavour base to the broth in which rice simmer and fluff up. In this vegetarian version the broth acquires the fresh spring-like, earthy taste of green chickpeas, making the dish a perfect, one pot meal for hot days.
I usually serve it with just some lemon drizzled fresh salad and cumin raita but sometimes add aloo tikki (potato patties) too on the inside if I’m feeling a little lavish.
1/2 kg green chickpeas/choliya
3 cups long grain basmati rice
1 medium onion, sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
1 stick cinnamon
4-5 green cardamoms
1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
4 teaspoons salt or to taste
1/4 cup ghee or olive/coconut oil
This Is What You Do:
Heat oil in a deep, wide mouthed pan.
Add ghee/oil and sliced onions. Cook on medium heat till onions are golden brown.
Add ginger garlic paste and diced tomatoes, saute for 4-5 minutes.
Add all the spices and 1/4 cup water. Let simmer on medium low heat for a couple of minutes so that the spices release their flavour and fragrance.
Add green chickpeas and 1 cup water. Cover the pan and cook on medium low heat till the chickpeas are half done.
Add rice and enough water to come 1 inch over the surface of rice. Cook covered on medium heat till almost all the water is soaked but the rice are still somewhat wet looking (almost 12 minutes).
Reduce heat to the lowest possible. Wrap the lid of the pan in a clean cotton tea towel.
Cover the pan tightly so that no steam can escape. This method is called ‘dum’. Leave rice on dum for 10 minutes. The ready rice should be fluffy, no more moist, with each grain separate and green chickpeas soaked with flavour.