The city of Hyderabad is flooded with carts selling fresh green chickpeas during the month of January. This seasonal crop is in high demand. 100’s of these carts roam the city selling these chickpeas, on the branch, picked in small bags or cleaned. They are almost a nuisance, not because they do anything wrong, but because the car in front of you suddenly decides they want to buy some and brakes urgently to start haggling. In the US, these are available in the frozen section all year round, with no road hazards or drama. This is a recipe that I cook every year and sometimes repeat more than once. I usually cook a recipe only once a year, it gives me an opportunity to try something new continuously. I first tried this recipe about 10 years ago and it has stayed on my menu ever since.
These kebabs come together quite easily. They are wonderfully flavoured, the spices hit the right notes and are balanced by the herb in the fresh chickpeas. I have served these during quite a few barbecues, and am always surprised to see die-hard meat eaters devour these with gusto. Yes, they are that good! I serve these with with Cilantro-yogurt chutney.and some bread like naan or parathas on the side.
This out-of-print cookbook is the bible of Indian grilling. I have cooked over half the recipes from it and each recipe is delicious. It is packed with chicken, lamb, and seafood kebabs, and includes a large section on vegetarian and paneer kebabs, and tandoor bread. I could grill from here every week. I highly recommend this cookbook for those who like to light up the grill and are looking for Indian flavours.
For more delicious recipes from this cookbook click here.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
10 curry leaves
1 onion, finely minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, stems and leaves
1 tablespoon ginger paste
2 teaspoons garlic paste
2-3 green chillies, finely sliced, or to taste
3 cups green chickpeas, podded
1/2 cup yoghurt, full fat preferred
1 cup grated coconut, frozen ok
Salt to taste
Chickpea (besan) flour
Oil or ghee
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil or ghee in a pot and add the cumin seeds. Stir for 30 seconds till they get lightly browned and add the onions. Turn the stove down to medium heat and cook the onions till they are translucent and soft, about 4-5 minutes, do not brown.
Add the ginger and garlic and sauté till fragrant and the ginger no longer smells raw. Add the chickpeas, cilantro, curry leaves, and green chillies and cook for an additional five minutes till the chickpeas are well heated through and cooked.
Add the yoghurt and simmer till the yoghurt dries out completely, about another 10 minutes. Eat a chickpea to make sure it is cooked but still tender. Set aside to cool.
Add the mix to a blender, leaving aside about 10% of the chickpeas. Take care to pick out the cilantro, curry leaves and other stuff and add them to the blender. Purée the mix, I like these kebabs with some texture, so I leave it to the consistency of chunky peanut butter. I also try not to add any liquid to the mix, so this means blending it and then scraping down the sides and repeating till you have a consistency you like.
Make a small taster patty. In case you have added water to help with the blending, add some chickpea flour to help bind it together. Fry in a touch of oil till browned on both sides. Taste and adjust for spices and salt.
You can cook these in a few ways. To grill, make wide patties that are quite thick and grill on a medium heated grill till they are charred on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. To deep fry, make small 1-inch balls and deep fry till coloured on the outside and soft inside. To pan sauté, make round flat patties and pan fry with oil or ghee till browned on both sides. To bake make flat patties in any shape you want, line on a baking sheet and broil in the oven about 9 inches from the grill till browned on one side. I have tried this grilled, pan sautéed and broiled, they taste just as good.
Serve immediately with Cilantro-yogurt chutney.