Curried Rice Salad with Black Chickpeas and Mango

by on July 17, 2012
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Curried Rice Salad with Black Chickpeas and Mango

Have you ever gotten excited about a new food only to try it and wind up disappointed or, even worse, hating it? I finally got around to trying black chickpeas last week, and I’m sorry to say that I was disappointed and my family was even less impressed. My husband, who likes almost everything, just tolerated them, and our daughter wound up picking them out of her food. So why am I posting this recipe? Well, this richly spiced rice salad was delicious in spite of the black chickpeas, which can easily be replaced with regular chickpeas or another legume.

So what are black chickpeas? As you might have guessed, they’re chickpeas and they’re black. Or, at least, they’re darker than the chickpeas most Americans use, sort of a reddish brown, and they’re smaller, too. I’ve bought them at both Whole Foods and at an Indian grocery store for about a quarter of the Whole Foods price (two pounds for $2.99), so I recommend buying them from an Indian grocery if you can. They’ll probably be labeled “Kala Chana” or “whole black gram.”

Black Chickpeas or Garbanzos (kala chana)

Black Chickpeas (Kala Chana)

Besides being darker and smaller than regular chickpeas, black garbanzo beans are firmer and have a much thicker outer skin. I think it was this outer skin that put my family off. We’re used to the soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture of white chickpeas, and the firmness of these prevented them from blending well in the rice salad. I enjoyed their chewiness and slightly nutty flavor much better when I ate them alone as a snack, sprinkled with cajun seasoning. If you like to snack on roasted chickpeas, you might want to try boiling up a batch of black chickpeas for a change.

To prepare them, I put them in my slow cooker and added boiling water until it was about two inches above the peas. Then I cooked them on high for 6 to 8 hours, checking every now and then to see if they were tender. (This is how I cook regular chickpeas, too, though they usually cook more quickly.) I still have two pounds of black chickpeas left, so I’ll be giving them a second chance soon. See the bottom of this post for a list of delicious-looking kala chana recipes from other bloggers.

Curried Rice Salad with Black Chickpeas and Mango

Black Chickpea Recipes from Other Bloggers:


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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michelle @ Eat Move Balance July 17, 2012 at 8:42 am

Thanks for the heads up on black chickpeas. I would have been the first to buy a big bag of them–because I love chickpeas, and a different version would have intrigued me. Maybe I’ll just keep my eye out for some in a bulk section, and try a bit. :)

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2 Devi July 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I didn’t even know that there are black chickpeas… and I know many weird foods. Maybe I should have a look at a big asian market…

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3 Khadijah July 17, 2012 at 9:54 am

This looks so delicious! This is going on my Must Try Soon list, but with regular chickpeas I think! Thanks!

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4 Stefanie July 17, 2012 at 10:09 am

I had the same disapointment as you with the black chickpeas. They are not bad but not worth going out of your way for. Your recipe looks good though.

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5 Judith July 17, 2012 at 10:33 am

I was glad to find that someone else shared my experience with black chickpeas. I saw them at Whole Foods for the first time last month and bought a bag. Cooked them with my regular chickpeas (pressure cooker for 2 hours). Hated them! Didn’t like the texture, taste (not much of anything) and the atrocious skins, which made me gag. After the first experience, I picked out all the cooked black chickpeas from the regular ones and fed the garbage disposal, then tossed the uncooked remainder into the trash.

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6 Millie Snyder July 17, 2012 at 10:43 am

This recipe looks delicious despite what you thought of the black chickpeas. I’ve never tried them though so I’ll have to give them a try. I think I’m more fixated on the mango you used. I love mango! It looks like a nice addition to these flavors. Thanks for sharing!

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7 Susan Voisin July 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

I love mango, too, and I’ve been using it in everything lately. Expect at least one more mango-infused recipe from me this summer!

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8 Reena July 17, 2012 at 10:59 am

I’m a regular reader of your website and have made many of your creations. Love your recipes and your creativity :)

In this case, I would recommend making the black channa the Indian way, like some of the other links you’ve included. Keep in mind it’s also an acquired taste. In Indian cooking, it is also pressure cooked with water and salt. The water reserved for drinking plain (hot, it’s delicious and also a remedy for colds) and the dry cooked channa used in a recipe similar to the link you included ( http://honestcooking.com/2011/08/25/masaledar-kaala-channa-spicy-black-chick-peas/ ).

Black channa is great for losing weight, with so much fiber and protein.

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9 liz July 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I grew up eating black chickpea curry. In Kerala, in southwestern India, we eat it with a steamed coconut rice cake (that’s not really a good description – google “puttu and kadala” if you want a better description or images). It’s a yummy and hearty breakfast. The puttu (rice cake) is a bit hard to make as it requires special equipment, but the kadala curry is great with rice. Susan, perhaps you could try a batch with your leftover chickpeas?

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10 janet @ the taste space July 17, 2012 at 11:09 am

Totally with you, Susan. I didn’t not like the black chickpeas, I just didn’t like them as much as regular chickpeas. I don’t plan on replenishing our stash once we use it up but until then, I am still on the look-out for great ways to use them. Thanks for the other links, too.

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11 Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy July 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm

that looks so delicious! i’ve never had black chickpeas before — i’ll have to check them out!

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12 Kalyn July 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I’m surprised you guys didn’t like them. Maybe it was the long cooking in the slow cooker that made the ones I had so good. And I didn’t notice the skins on the ones I had either.

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13 Angela W July 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hi Susan — Just made your dish for tonight’s dinner. I took your experience to heart on the black chick peas and simply used the “regular” chickpeas. The dish tastes FANTASTIC! It’s chilling in the fridge. I think it will go great with a side of marinated cucumber slices (of which we have an abundance from our garden!)

Thanks so much. :-)

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14 Lisa @ The Raw Serenity July 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I have never heard of black chick peas before, so thanks for the introduction!
They sound suitable for roasting them for a crunchy snack.
This dish looks and sounds amazing, thanks for sharing x

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15 Reia@TheCrueltyFreeReview July 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I don’t know if I’d go out of my way to buy black chickpeas but I will certainly try this recipe. It looks perfect for a summer lunch!

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16 sharron sussman July 17, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Hi, Susan –

I, too was disappointed in kala chana after just one dish I modified slightly from a traditional one in the big Indian Vegetarian cookbook. But your suggestion about roasting them for a snack was a good one!

Any specifics about pre-roasting textural goal? ( I live at 4500′ & can’t count on simple boiling time, which also probably depends on the age & source of the bean…..) Also roasting time/temperature? I’m nearly 70 and have never roasted a bean, can you believe it?!

Sounds like a nutty idea…

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17 Susan Voisin July 18, 2012 at 6:37 am

Sharron, I haven’t actually tried roasting them, but I do have instructions for roasting regular chickpeas here: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2008/08/healthy-crunchy-three-guilt-free-snacks.html. I think it’s one of those things that you have to play by ear. I would probably cook them until they’re soft and then roast them until they’re crunchy.

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18 GetSkinnyGoVegan July 18, 2012 at 8:16 am

Oh this looks wonderful!

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19 juggernaut July 18, 2012 at 9:48 am

I’m wondering did you get a bad batch- they look more wrinkly than the ones I’ve got in UK and Ireland and they look a bit darker too. I totally agree that you have to use them in a indian recipe and ressure cook with salt – try that and see if they improve. They should be slightly tougher than regular chickpeas but also a bit nuttier (plain chickpeas can be a bit dull).

If you still hate them try sprouting them. Now I think of it I’ve never used them for houmous – wonder what its like?

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20 Angel July 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm

The salad looks very nice. Thanks for sharing about black chickpeas. I have never tried them before. They look nice and add good contrast to a dish. Hopefully you will like them better in the next recipe! :)

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21 Hema July 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm

First time here, loved the different recipes with the Indian ingredients, would come back for more, following u on FB..

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22 Vegetarians July 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I just saw these Black Chickpeas at the market today and I was so curious, but thanks for that I won’t have the same disapointment as you did with the Black Chickpeas.

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23 Kimberly July 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I’d never heard of black chickpeas, either. :) This rice salad looks delish…

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24 Emily July 20, 2012 at 11:12 am

Thanks for sharing this recipe! My dining hall during freshmen year used to serve a delicious curried rice with pineapple salad. (Come to think of it, that was the ONLY good thing they served!) I can’t wait to try this out!

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25 Rachel July 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Mmmm…I love mango and I LOVE Indian spices. I might have to try this with white chickpeas!

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26 Debra Thomson July 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I’m glad you posted this even though the recipe didn’t turn out the way you hoped. I’m going to try it with regular chickpeas – I just bought some dried chickpeas today for the first time, and I had no idea what I was going to do with them! Perfect timing – Thanks!

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27 Anu July 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Kala chana can be an acquired taste for someone used to eating regular white garbanzo beans, but I have very fond memories associated with them. My mother used to prepare Sundal with these. Kala chana chat is a popular beach food. We’d go to Juhu Chowpatty beach and there were vendors who would scoop these into little bowls made of leaves and we would stroll around enjoying a tangy-sweet treat. I always loved that these vendors would be found scattered along the beach, away from all the crowded pav bhaji stalls clustered together. My mouth is watering even as I write this :)

Ok, coming to main point. I had little success making a flavorful dish out of this pesky little bean till a few months. Then, my friend suggested (pressure)cooking it a little longer and with more water than white garbanzo. She also suggested cooking with Badshah chana masala powder – just follow the recipe on the box. It worked! I eat is as a curry with some whole wheat loaf bread or as a salad with some fresh tomato/onion/raw mango/cilantro/lemon juice. Oh, do give it a try!

http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/archives/2006/07/24/chickpea-sanaga-guggullu-black-and-white/
http://www.ishopindian.com/badshah-chana-masala-pr-21905.html

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28 Balvinder July 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Hi Susan, I have never seen a non indian cooking black chickpeas. Most of them do not know and if they do they don’t like cos it takes long time to cook. and I just love mango in sweet and savory dishes.

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29 Hannah August 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Try adding half a teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to soaking water and more to the pot when you’re cooking the chickpeas. The fiber in the skins toughens when cooked in an acidic environment. Bicarb raises the pH for more tender peas.

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30 Lynn August 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm

like Liz, my family is also from Kerala, India. I grew up (in the US) eating “cudla” in a couple different ways and it is still my favorite bean– but I have never had success cooking it in a non-Indian recipe. My favorite way to eat it is sautéing the precooked beans ( in a pressure cooker) with onion, curry leaf, fresh shredded coconut , salt, and chili powder. This is traditionally served with “congee” or rice soup and is delicious.

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31 Linda August 18, 2012 at 10:58 am

This looks yummy! Just a suggestion on the cooking of the chick peas here…in my experience you have to soak these chick peas overnight and then pressure cook them, it softens the outer skin. Now they are among my favorite tasting!

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32 The Vegan Gypsy August 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Oh, this looks delicious! I’ll definitely be trying this one with regular chickpeas soon!

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33 Alma October 31, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I’m puzzled by the long time in your pressure cooker. Did you not soak them for 24 hours as is common in Indian recipes?

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34 Susan Voisin October 31, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I cooked them in a slow cooker, not a pressure cooker.

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35 Padmaja February 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Hi Susan, Don’t know if you’ve tried the prepare the brown chickpeas since you posted this recipe. I prepared this recipe from Show Me The Curry.com
http://showmethecurry.com/subzis-vegetables/butternut-squash-with-black-chickpeas-subzi-kumro-chokka.html

It was delicious, and with all of the warming spices, perfect for the cold and damp weather we’ve been having. I had i t over a some steamed kale. But, I served it to my family with brown rice, and steamed spinach.

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36 Herley Taylor July 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm

I might be only 24 years old but I love to cook. My mom used to always try to get me to stay out of the kitchen until one early morning back in 2002 just before I turned twelve years old as the sun’s mango tinted rays streamed into her bedroom I walked into her room with a cheddar cheese grits, scrambled cheddar eggs, bacon, toast and a glass of orange juice on a tray whilst she confabulated with an acquaintance of hers on her cordless house phone. I’ve been living on my own since I turned 18 years old and obviously had to learn how to cook many dishes or otherwise would have wasted so much money purchasing take-out and/or delivery.
Anyhow, I will be staying at home with my “mommy” and step dad for the rest of this summer just until school starts again and I can’t wait to fix them as well as myself this dish for the first time. This is NOT typical dish within the African American community but I’m sure that’s a no-brainer. I’m so happy to have discovery this website and dish…. you will see more comments from me frequently. For me healthy dishes that are visually appealing are a must-try.

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