Receding winters in the North bring along with carts selling mounds of green bush like vegetables all over the place. If you look closely, you will find little green pods in those bushes and inside them are the precious green seeds popularly known as cholia or green garbanzo. They are essentially fresh green version of the dried chickpeas.
I have very fond memories of eating roasted cholia as a snack while growing up, every evening there would be a cart walking down the streets with a large cast iron kadhai in which he will almost char the green pods, cooking the inside beans slowly resulting in a sweet pod that was a delight to eat even when peeling was a tedious affair.
Cholia: A Storehouse of Nutrients
Cholia is really good for your health as well.
Super rich in vitamins C, E, K and B complex, it also contains minerals like magnesium, zinc, calcium and iron, which make it really healthy to have. It has great antioxidant properties and help keep the blood and digestive system clean!
It is also supposed to control blood sugar and cholesterol levels. And it is the perfect high-protein plant source. Now, this is reason enough to eat cholia, isn’t it?
And if you are wondering what to do with it apart from the traditional stuff, here is a hummus recipe for you which will blow your mind.
Perfect as a dip, sandwich spread or as a healthy mid-meal snack.
Recipe: Green Garbanzo or Cholia Hummus
Here’s a list of ingredients required:
- In a microwave safe bowl, steam the cholia for 2-3 minutes. Don’t overcook this, unlike the drier versions the fresh hara chana cooks really fast.
- In a food processor mix all the ingredients including the garbanzos and process together.
- Add more water if required little by little until you reach the desired consistency. Adding chilled water will help make a lighter version.
- Store in an airtight container in fridge upto a week.
Other Ways To Enjoy Cholia
Roasted as a snack is not just the only way to eat them though, these little green gems are used in a wide variety of dishes, most common one being in a pulao, a curry like aloo-mutter and a stir fried sabji for everyday eating.
In Uttar Pradesh, it is turned into cholia ka nimona, a spiced soup like stew commonly made with green peas.
In fact, one would go ahead and think it’s most common to replace cholia with peas commonly in the winters, the flavours are similar yet there is a depth to cholia that cannot be missed.
It is also used in a variety of sweets in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, like barfi and halwa. The roasting of these a slow tedious task but the result is a surprisingly delicious dish with a depth of flavour far better than any other halwa I have eaten.
Interestingly, the greens of the dish the plants are relished as much as the pods and often used in daals, stir fries and parantha fillings.
(Monika Manchanda is an ex-IT professional turned into a food blogger, consultant, home baker and an amateur food photographer. She loves music, writing, food, and travel, but not necessarily in that order! She can be reached at email@example.com)