Bengal gram are black chickpeas, which here are soaked overnight then simmered until tender and cooked in an aromatic blend of spices and chilli.






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  • 100 g (½ cup) Bengal gram (black chickpeas)
  • 1½ tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ cup thinly sliced white onion
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 long green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chaat masala, optional, plus extra to serve
  • chopped coriander and lemon wedges, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


This recipe needs to be started one day in advance.

Serves 4 as a side.

  1. Place the Bengal gram in a bowl with 750 ml (3 cups) water and soak overnight.
  2. The following day, drain the Bengal gram, place in a saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and simmer for 1 hour or until tender. Alternatively, you can cook in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes. Drain the chickpeas and set aside.
  3. Heat the mustard oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the cooked Bengal gram and stir for a few minutes, then add the cumin seeds, nigella seeds and onion. Season with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the chillies and stir for a few minutes, then add the spices and simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavours to mingle. If the pan is too hot, add a splash of water to prevent the spices from burning.
  4. Scatter with chopped coriander and serve with lemon wedges on the side.


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Photography by Andrew Dorn.