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Also known as
Dried green chick peas
Green chick peas is a legume of the family Fabaceae. Generally, hara chana refers to the dried version of green chick peas, which is available all year round. It has a greenish colour, and a rough outer coating. Unlike fresh green chickpeas, the dried ones need to be soaked before cooking, and also take a longer time to cook. Hara chana is tastier than kala chana or kabuli chana as it acquires a slightly sweet taste when cooked. It can be used to make various recipes like cheela, sweets etc.
Boiled hara chana
First wash the green chickpeas thoroughly in cold water until water runs clear. Then soak it overnight. To cook it, place the hara chana in a vessel and cover completely with water. Add salt to taste, and cook it with the lid on. Once cooked, remove from the heat and drain the excess water. It can also be cooked in a pressure cooker. The cooking time depends on one’s choice and the use of the hara chana, whether it is needed firm or soft. Boiled hara chana can be enjoyed just like that, hot or warm or cold. It can also be tossed in butter with minimal spices, or used in chaats and subzis.
Soaked hara chana
First wash the green chickpeas thoroughly in cold water until water runs clear. Then soak it overnight in a bowl full of water. Soaked hara chana can be cooked and used to make delightful dishes like Green Chana Masala or just steamed and tossed in butter to be relished as a snack.
Sprouted hara chana
Wash the hara chana and soak it overnight in sufficient water in a flat-bottomed container. Then, drain the water and keep the chana aside. Take the flat-bottomed bowl or saucer, line its bottom with a wet 100% cotton washcloth. Spread the soaked chana on the cloth. Take another similar cloth and cover the chana. If the cloth is large enough, the same cloth can be folded over the chana, to make a bundle-like arrangement. Keep the container in a dry, dark place. You kitchen cupboard is an ideal place. After 12 hrs, sprinkle some more water on the cloth to make sure it is moist. Once the chana has sprouted to the desired length, you can remove and use it as required in the recipe.
How to select
• Choose from the variety of packet sizes available in market, as per your requirement.
• Ensure the packet is sealed properly and check the expiry dates as well.
• Choose uniformly-sized and nice green coloured chana, devoid of white or dark spots and holes.
• If buying from bulk bins, make sure the bin is closed and clean so as to ensure that the hara chana is devoid of dust and other particles.
• Make sure that the hara chana is devoid of any debris like stones and pebbles.
• The chana should be dry, and not show any signs of moisture or wetness.
• Boiled or sprouted hara chana can be made into exciting salads and chaats, combined with other veggies and fruits.
• It can also be used in a variety of curries and vegetable preparations.
• It can even be used to make recipes like cheela and sweets.
How to Store
• Store the hara chana in a clean, dry and air-tight container.
• Some people add four to five mercury pills per kilogram of the chana to improve its shelf life. In such a case, it may last for even six months.
• Hara chana is a good source of protein as well as carbohydrates.
• Green chickpeas are rich in B-vitamins, which help your body use carbohydrates, protein and fat from food.
• Even more impressive, half a cup of green chickpeas provides half of the phosphorus and about a third of the iron and magnesium you need daily, supporting your bone, blood cells, muscles and nerve function.
• Like other beans, hara chana is rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre.
• The soluble fibre in the chana helps stabilise blood sugar levels, while still providing a steady supply of energy.
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