In contradistinction to the English calendar which has 365 days in a year, the Muslim calendar which is primarily a lunar one is short of 11 days. That is the chief reason this month is not restricted to any particular season. It defies all the seasonal changes as demarcated by our normal yearly calendar.
As far as my memory can go this is probably the hottest Ramzan I have witnessed till date. The days get longer and longer and the urge to break the fast gets stronger. The Iftari, if you ask me is a very calculated meal; the equation of which changes from one part of the world to other. Being from the tropics our iftar palette usually consists of loads of juicy elements especially seasonal fruits (summer fruits for this Ramzan). From watermelon to lychee 50% of my iftar meal is about fruits. Another very important iftar element is Chana or gram seeds. While elements like haleem, Kathi rolls and fritters get most recognition as Iftar food, the focus from the important elements like chana gets easily diverted. Its presence in my household is evident in more than one form. From soaked and swelled ones to sprouted ones, from the fried ones to spicy cooked ones, Chana makes up for a ramzan essential and I have decided to dedicate my first Ramadan post to chana.
After a long day of fast gram seeds act as the primary source of protein but when consumed uncooked with the seed coat makes up for a good source of roughage too.
A favorite during Ramadan is the Chhola kosha or spicy gram curry (dry).
Sharing below is the recipe for the same.
Prep time: 10 hours Cooking time: 30 minutes Serves: 4
Here’s what you will need:
- 250 gms gram seed
- 2 big onions (chopped)
- 2 green chilies chopped
- 1tsp coriander powder
- 1/2tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic and ginger
- 1tbsp mustard oil
- 2/3 tsp chana masala powder
- Fresh coriander leaves (chopped)
Here’s what you need to do:
In a pressure cooker warm 1 tbsp mustard oil and add chopped onion, garlic and ginger to it. Stir for a minute and add the water soaked gram seeds after staining the water out. Add all the dry spices to it, give it a good stir and add 1 1/2 cups of water. Set the pressure lid on and leave it on high flame for 10 minutes or till it pressure is released through the vent thrice.
After 10 minutes lower the flame and eventually cut off the heat.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a heavy bottom pan and cook till the water is reduced to nil and everything comes together. Add chana masala, chopped chilies and coriander leaves. Give it a thorough stir and cut the heat off.