Thursday, January 30, 2014

hara chana, green gram or tender green garbanzo beans | a subzi, a salad and a tea time snack with hara hana

4 ways with green garbanzo beans or hara chana

Harey chane or green garbanzo beans are a seasonal pleasure. Tender kernels of green gram, sweetish in taste and a fresh crunch in the texture. How much I dig for season's fresh produce and this one is really a prized catch whenever we get them fresh.

hara chana or chholia

The tender green legumes are available in the winters, in abundance in rural areas and small towns across India, the legumes mostly still attached to the whole plant. Yes, the whole plant is uprooted and sold in markets for a reason. The chana plant gets almost dry and woody when the beans ripe, the rural folk fire up the whole plants in bundles during winter evenings, sitting in their veranda or in the open. A good campfire that results in fire roasted tender green chana which is shelled out of the charred legumes and had with either jaggery or chilly garlic chutney. I see this as a very clever and practical way to spend evenings outdoors in foggy winters of Hindi heartland with a warm nourishing snack being prepared on the spot. It has been ages we did that, it was an occasional thing that we did as kids. Banaras still gets some hara chana horha as the whole plant with green gram is called.

We get these tender harey chane shelled here in Delhi and I buy a bag of it whenever I spot it. I remember how we used to make harey chane ka nimona, ghugni and even desserts (harey chane ka halwa) with it. We are having our fill of harey chane ki subzi with potatoes for spicy winter meals right now. This subzi is also called as ghugni but harey chane ki ghugni will be more dry if made the traditional way.

harey chane ki subzi

We mostly have this subzi or ghugni as it is for breakfast, some crackers are had with it sometimes and Arvind wants a crisp flaky paratha with it sometimes. This is something you can even have with rice for a lunch or dinner. Truly versatile as my grandmother used to say..chane ke kayee khaney (many foods with gram), green gram of hara chana is something you wait for the whole year. Small little things to make you happy.

This subzi is more like a quick ghugni that is made with minimal oil and powdered spices. Winter morning are so hassled we want quick and tasty food, something that cooks in a pressure cooker with minimal seasoning and powdered spices from masale ka dabba. Yes, I am reminded of the masala dabba in my mom's kitchen, I don't use any masala dabba now as there just too many spices and powders to keep.

hara chana 250 gm
one large potato scrubbed and cubed
turmeric powder 1 tsp
chopped coriander greens and stems 2-3 tbsp each
red chilly powder or chopped green chillies to taste
salt to taste
mustard oil 1 tsp or a bit more
sometimes I chuck in a few roughly chopped garlic too
amchoor 1 tsp


Heat mustard oil in pressure cooker pan and make a paste of all the powdered spices with 2 tbsp water. Tip in the spice paste into the hot oil and stir for a few seconds till the spices get aromatic. 

Add the potato cubes and toss well to coat. Add salt and chopped garlic if using. Add the chopped coriander stems as well, sometimes I add 2-3 tbsp of green chutney to this subzi and get a nice tangy green hued subzi. Add that if you have some chutney in the fridge.

Now add the hara chana, toss to coat well. Add a cup of water and pressure cook till the first whistle blows. Take off the flame, let the pressure get normal, open the lid and add the amchoor powder. 

Mix the subzi well so some of the potatoes get mushed up and make the subzi a mish mash or potatoes and harey chane. Serve hot or at room temperature. This subzi is meant for a rustic meal, a favourite with kachori and poori lovers but we rarely had this with pooris.

alu harey chane ki subzi

Since the subzi tastes so good even at room temperature, Arvind loves it in his lunch box as well. The spicing can be adjusted if you like some aromatic garam masala but we never made this curry with any garam maslaa added. The everyday curry powder works really good for it.

We like a simple salad with harey chane too. A tomato salsa is mixed with rinsed green garbanzo beans and had like a salad or as a tea time snack with added puffed rice to it.

harey chane ka salad

To make the tomato salsa, just chop 2 large tomatoes, microwave them for a minute and mash them with the back of a fork. Add chopped garlic, chopped green chillies to taste, salt and a little mustard oil and mix well. Add a little vinegar if you want to keep the salsa for a day or two in the fridge. Add chopped onions or spring onions and mix with the harey chane or use otherwise. Ass much hara chana for as much tomato salsa you want. Make it to your taste and enjoy.

Another harey chane snack is a quick stir fry in mustard oil and cumin seasoning for us. 

This one is a really nice namkeen type snack with our evening tea. Just heat 1 tsp of mustard oil, chuck in a tsp of whole cumin seeds and may be one broken dry red chilly. Add about 200 gm hara chana and salt to taste, mix well to coat and cover the pan and let it cook for 3-5 minutes on low flame. I do it till the milky ginger tea boils on the other side of the stove. You might need to stir it once or twice in between. Squeeze lime or sprinkle amchoor powder if you wish and have warm with tea.

harey chane ki jhalmudi

I know you make some equally yummy snacks with harey chane as well. Share them with me and other readers here. Sharing is a great way to learn more.

I am dreaming of the harey chane ka horha with some hot lasun mirch ki chutney till then. May be I get a chance to taste that smoky goodness this season.


  1. looks wonderful need to find me some fresh garbanzo beans have you grown them?

    1. How I wish I could grow them Rebecca :-) They are from the local markets and we will keep getting them for a month or so, till they ripen into brown gram..