I think my geography is a little dicey but I have a pretty good idea of Indian geography. I know where each state of India is located and I promise that I know this even before I did A-Z Indian states marathon. I’m surprised that most of the people from the North are so confused about the 4 south Indian states. They think everyone from the south is from Chennai and no the hindi movie ‘Chennai Express’ does not help even a little bit.
So anyway I know where today’s starter is coming from 🙂 This dish is from the western state of Gujarat. I saw this recipe in ‘Vegetarian Cooking of India‘ cookbook by Mridula Baljekar. These protein packed squares are simple, delicious and nutritious. They are excellent to serve as snack/ appetizer along with some ketchup and/ or sweet tamarind chutney.
It is called Amiri Khaman in the book. But when I googled it I found out that Amiri Khaman is actually a dish that is made of leftover crumbled khaman dhoklas. I give it to the Gujaratis for coming up with amazing dishes and they find delicious ways to even use up leftovers.
But this recipe is made from scratch using chana dal (skinless split chickpeas) and is flavored with ginger and garlic. It is very simple to make, very flavorful and just melts in the mouth. They are great served warm or at room temperature. I personally loved munching on them with some sweet tamarind chutney.
Wash the chana dal/ chickpeas and soak in cold water for 5~6 hours or overnight. Drain and process the chana dal into a fine paste adding just enough water.
In a non-stick pan, heat 1tbsp oil over medium heat. When hot, add mustard seeds and once they splutter, add asafoetida/ hing, follwed by ginger, garlic, green chilies and turmeric. Fry for about 1 minute.
Add the ground chickpea paste, salt, sugar and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture dries out and gets crumbly, about 3~5 minutes.
Add ⅓ cup of milk, mix well and continue to cook, stirring constantly for 2~3 minutes. Repeat the process with the remaining milk.
Add the lemon juice and stir until well blended. Once the mixture leaves the sides of the pan, remove it onto a lightly greased plate (8" rectangle would work best) and sprinkle over the coriander and coconut, pressing them down gently so that they stick to the chickpea mixture.
Cool and cut into squares or diamonds and serve hot or cold. Serve with tomato ketchup and/ or sweet tamarind chutney.