This is a dish from Uttar Pradesh. I am not sure whether it is made in the entire state but definitely from Eastern Uttar Pradesh. It is essentially a winter dish as it uses fresh green channa, which is only available in winter.
I am a little late posting this as it is now no longer available, but about two months back I used to see this being sold in various places. It is a tedious task though to pluck the pods which contain the channa and then to shell it. Since a pod contains only one or two channas it is a time-consuming task unlike shelling peas which is faster.
But I wanted to make it this winter as I like to cook seasonal produce. The hubby tells me once the channa ripens a little more and the plant dries up, the entire plant would be directly put into the fire which would be used to keep people warm in the harsh winters of north India. The channa within the pod would then kind of get cooked and soft. This was then plucked and eaten as the family crouched around the angetthi keeping themselves warm generally in the evenings. Such a cosy family time I can envision here….
This is a very simple dish with mild flavours, primarily using whole spices. Here’s how it is made:
1 cup shelled fresh green channa,
2 cups rice,
2 tablespoons ghee,
1-2 small bay leaves,
2 green cardamoms,
1 black cardamom,
9-10 black peppercorns,
1 star anise,
½ tsp shahjeera,
1 inch of cinnamon,
Salt to taste
1 small finely chopped onion,
2 chopped green chillies
Wash the rice and green channa.
Heat the ghee in a pan and add in all the whole spices. When they splutter add the chopped onions and green chillies (this time I added 1 tsp of red chilli powder instead). Fry till the onions just turn pink and translucent.
Now add the rice and green channa. Saute around for about a minute. Add salt and required amount of hot water. The amount of water you add will depend on the type of rice you are using.
Let it come to a boil and then lower the flame. Cook covered with a little vent for the steam to release till done.
This simple seasonal dish is ready. You can serve this with any basic gravy or just with pickle, raita, salad and papad.