Lisa's Black and Yellow Chickpeas in a Sweet and Spicy Sauce with Luchis - A Deep-fried Indian Flatbread
I have bookmarked a few of Lisa's recipes to try out and the first of them that I "tried and tasted" was her Black and Yellow Chickpeas in a Sweet and Spicy Sauce. Adapted from Raghavan Iyer's660 Curries, Lisa says this recipe makes "an intense but balanced blend of smoky, hot and pungent flavours from fried spices, fresh and dried hot peppers, and mustard seeds popped in hot oil complements an earthy and buttery mixture of beans in this simple but beautiful and fragrant Indian-style chili."
I stayed with her version except that I left out the red chillies (my green chillies were spicy enough), used red cowpeas instead of kidney beans (because I didn't have any), and used fresh coriander for garnishing.
To me, this curry represents an interesting blend of south Indian (mustard seeds, black chickpeas and asafetida) with north Indian flavours. The use of honey (instead of the traditional jaggery, perhaps) is also an unusual innovation in this very Indian preparation.
We had this curry for lunch with luchis. Luchis are pooris (a deep-fried Indian flatbread) made from all purpose flour and are a very pale golden colour (almost white). These pooris are typical of cuisine of the Indian states of Bengal and Orissa, and very tasty.
This is the recipe that I always use to make them, though not as frequently as we would like as I try to minimize the amount of deep-frying I do.
- I use the food processor to knead this dough but it can be done by hand. Put all the above ingredients into a bowl (or the food processor) and add enough water to make a stiff and elastic dough. Make sure the dough is kneaded well or the luchis will not turn out soft. If the dough is not stiff, you will end up with very oily luchis.
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover and allow to rest for about half an hour to an hour.
- Divide the dough into pieces, rolling each into a smooth 1 1/2" ball. Roll each ball into a thin circle about 4' to 5" in diameter, using oil on the rolling pin and dough to ensure it doesn't stick. Do not use flour, as this will burn up in the oil and discolour the oil and the luchis when they are deep-fried.
- Heat the oil in a wok (not till smoking point). Fry the luchis immediately, using your slotted spoon to gently press down the luchis as they are frying, to coax them to puff up. Once the luchis are beginning to just change coclour and are cooked, remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels.
- Do not allow the luchis to brown. Also remember that the luchis will not cook if the oil isn't hot enough, and they will burn if the oil is too hot. Serve the luchis warm with a curry of your choice. This recipe make approximately 15 luchis.