chick peas two ways: tea-and-chili chana

I’m posting these recipes in order of appearance, but this was actually the one I wanted to try first. Except that, for once, I didn’t have any chilis in the house, so the amchur recipe got made first.

When I did make this one, I still (as usual) used the wrong kind of pepper. Most of the time, it doesn’t really matter much. But occasionally, the difference in size and hotness does matter and this… might have been one of those times. This didn’t turn out too hot to eat, but it was definitely a sinus-clearer as made, which is why I’m giving the recipe as written.

As for the rest of the recipe, it’s simple and a little different, using tea as the liquid instead of water. I drink copious amounts of tea all year long, so this is right up my alley – at least in principle. In actuality, I drink copious amounts of rooibos all year long. But I still have loose Darjeeling in the house, so all was well. If you don’t, I’m pretty sure the culinary gods won’t strike you down from on high if you use a couple of Tetley teabags – just make sure they’re plain.


Tea and chili chana
(adapted from 660 Curries)

2 TB black tea leaves, preferably Darjeeling
2 cups water

2 TB neutral oil (canola, etc.)
1 TB cumin seeds

2 TB finely chopped ginger
1 TB finely chopped garlic
2-4 anaheim/serrano/cayenne chiles [or two medium jalapenos], sliced thinly crosswise, with seeds.

3 cups cooked chick peas
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1.5 tspn kosher salt
1/2 tspn turmeric

juice of 1 lime

Make tea. Bring the water to a boil, pour over leaves, let steep for five minutes, then strain.

Heat the oil until shimmering in a medium saucepan. Add cumin and stir until aromatic, 10 seconds.

Add ginger, garlic, and chiles and saute until the ginger and garlic start to brown and the chiles are fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Stir in the chick peas, cilantro, salt, and turmeric and mix well. Saute for 1-2 minutes.

Add tea, stir, and bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes until sauce is thickened slightly.

Stir in lime juice and serve.


Yes, I could have made tea in the teapot, but I didn’t want to foul it.




This? Is a lot of jalapeno. It’s two large peppers, which is possibly half a pepper too many because while it wasn’t too hot to eat, it was on the verge of being too hot to enjoy, which is the important barometer. I will say that it was less of an assault on the reheat/leftover side, though.


The dry sauté to cook the turmeric.


And here’s another of those do-as-I-say moments. I covered the pot after adding the tea and wandered off, not realizing until six minutes had passed that the whole purpose was to leave it uncovered so as to get rid of some of the liquid. So I reached for the besan (chickpea flour) and thickened it a bit that way, which is why it looks so thick here. (And please ignore that this bowl was not clean at the start; it is apparently the only picture I took after adding the tea.)


2 thoughts on “chick peas two ways: tea-and-chili chana

  1. Julie Sanhi, in one of her cookbooks, admits to occasionally using tea bags to color beans.
    Re: the chiles, there’s a big difference between Anahiem and serrano chiles. The former are large mild to slightly hot chilies whereas the latter range from very hot to suicidal.

  2. Pingback: take me out to the ballgame « Asymptotically Approaching Edible

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