|Bengal Gram Sprouts: Chane ka saag|
My dad and I would water them every morning and evening, and I counted the leaves on them. I learned my first lesson in plant anatomy here - my dad pointed out how the leaves come out as one and then split into many small ones...but they were all still one leaf- a thought that my teacher in high school completed when she taught us about compound leaves. Anyways, we had to let the sprouts grow till there were at least 7 leaf stalks on them...I have no idea why. May be my dad just made that up so he could shut me up for the next 2 weeks. And then we carefully broke off the bottom 5 stalks leaving the tips intact, so the plants could grow one more time. And dad made me present the booty proudly to my mom. She'd give him the glare, but still take the bowl and make my dad his favorite Chane ke saag ki chutney and pakora for brunch that Sunday.
Earlier this month, as I was thinking ahead for Father's Day; somehow this memory resurfaced. And I soaked a fistful of Kala chana overnight. The next morning, both girls helped me plant the seeds, and they got the honors of watering the sprouts too...like I did many years ago for my dad. This past week, we actually made the chutney from the 3-week-or-so old sprouts; and pakoras of course!
Chane ke Saag ki Chutney
Chane ka saag (Bengal gram greens): a whole bunch
Green chillies 3-4
Salt 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice 1/2Tbsp
Cumin seeds 1tsp
- Separate the leaves from stalks and wash thoroughly. Then strain through a colander. (I'd soaked a fistful of beans; and that gave me a huge potful to start with. Look the picture of the potted sprouts to get an idea)
- Combine all the ingredients listed above in a food processor.
- Heat the ghee and splutter cumin seeds. Put these in with everything else.
- Grind it all together into a smooth chutney.
My two cents: When I was putting it together, two things struck me at once: 1) This is the only chutney I know that integrates ghee in it, bringing it closer to the pesto preparations here in USA and (2) this doesn't use any root vegetables (like onion or garlic)- at least not the way my mom made it. That makes it a strong contender for a traditional Jain recipe.
favorite chutney, I will like to share it through the FSF- Father's Day event hosted by Sonia and Chutneys and pickles event at Ammaji's.