Every Friday when I was in school, I would wake up to the sound of fresh pepper being ground in the traditional Indian style spice grinder. No modern pepper mills for my mother.. even now its the same. The pepper would then be added to a seasoning for cooked brown/black chickpeas - kaala chana - along with a handful of coconut gratings to make Konkani style chona upkari.
Every Friday it was a ritual to include chickpeas in the menu. No idea why this was but most Konkani homes followed this tradition on Fridays and also festival days as well.This continues even today and come Thursday night, I will soak chickpeas (black /white) or rajma or other dried beans (being little experimental).
Ugadi or New Year for Konkani, Kannada and Telugu communities falls today and is being celebrated with traditional rituals and food. A New Year for me means Khotte/Ittu along with my mom's special coriander chutney, lemon pickle (nonche), chana ghhasshi and upkari. Every Konkani festival this was my breakfast. Though ofcourse marriage changed all this. Its good to have a spread when your mom is cooking, but when you have to do it, then its a bit tough...ahem !!
Anyways today being Friday and also Ugadi, I thought I would share the simple chana upkari with you all. Khotte/ Ittu being a distant dream due to lack of jack fruit leaves and inability of yours truly to turn the leaves magically into a basket.. Oh.. the Goodness of mothers..
Brown Chickpeas : cooked 1 cup (any chickpeas will do)
Soak 1/2 cup chickpeas overnight and cook it in a pressure cooker next day or 1 hour on stovetop adding little salt.
Mustard: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds/Jeera : a very small pinch
Curry Leaves: 5-8
Dried Red Chillies: 1-2
Fresh grated Pepper : 1/2 tsp +/- (adjust the chillies and pepper )
Salt: as per taste
Fresh coconut gratings: handful /as per your taste
Wash and pressure cook the soaked chickpeas adding little salt. Once done drain the cooking water. You can keep this water for later use like to make rasam or whatever you want as its good healthy lentil water. You can even use canned chickpeas after draining off the water.
Heat oil in a deep pan. Add mustard. When it sizzles add cumin ,red chillies, curry leaves and fresh grated pepper. Let these sizzle till you get a nice aroma from the pepper. Add in the cooked chickpeas and saute well to mix everything well.
Mix in the coconut gratings and let it cook for 1-2 minutes on low flame so that water if any is remaining will be absorbed by the coconut and we get a dry curry. Adjust salt and garnish with more coconut if needed before serving.
Serve as side to whatever you like - idli, khotte/ittu, dosa, puri ,roti/breads or even rice.. Goes well even as a teatime snack... be creative and be traditional.
Wishing all a healthy & prosperous Ugadi and wonderful year ahead..