Boil and fry channa is another one of those school yard, street food snacks that have followed me into adulthood. I LOVE chickpeas. In fact when I was in grad school, many nights I opened a can of chickpeas added some salad dressing and that was dinner. True story. Those were some of the most tiring days of my life. I just didn’t have the energy to sauté the chickpeas to make channa.
In Guyana we call chickpeas channa. We typically make Boil and Fry Channa by boiling dried chick peas, then sautéing it with fresh herbs and spices. It is not really fried as the word fry, as in “fry up” in Guyana many times means to sauté. This dish is a popular street food and street vendors serve channa with mango sour, a spicy condiment made by cooking mangoes in spices and wiri wiri (chili) peppers.
My friend Sarika’s dad makes the best channa I’ve ever eaten. When I lived in New York, I constantly asked him to make channa for me, until one day I asked him to share his tips and tricks. The secret was that he cooked down the channa is some of the liquids after sautéing it. It gave the dish a creamy, fluffy texture unlike the dry texture of most channa I had eaten before. I’ve been making it his way ever since and it has never disappointed.
Making Boil and Fry Channa with Dried Chickpeas
When making this dish using dried channa, I highly recommend soaking the channa with warm water for at least an hour. For best results soak over night. There are many benefits to soaking peas and beans, including making it easier to cook and easier to digest. Check it this great article on The benefits of soaking, nuts, peas, beans and grains for more information.
Cooking the channa from dried chickpeas can be done by boiling it on the stovetop, pressure cooking in a traditional pressure cooker or cooking it in an Instant Pot (instructions on this method can be found below). Once you’ve cooked the dried chickpeas sautéing it is very quick and simple.
Making Boil and Fry Channa in the Instant Pot
To make boil and fry channa in the instant pot, the process is slightly reversed. I start by sautéing my garlic until it is slightly brown and soft. Then I add the soaked (drained and rinsed) chick peas, salt and just enough water to cover the chick peas. Seal it up and pressure cook on high for 20 minutes.
After pressure cooking, I release the pressure following the rapid release instructions, then put my instant pot in sauté mode. Then I add the green onions and geera and cook until all the liquids cook off and I’m left with a creamy channa. I love making channa this way when I have a bit of extra time, but you can also whip up channa quickly by using canned chickpeas.
Making Boil and Fry Channa with Canned Chickpeas
When I am really craving channa but don’t have time to soak and cook chickpeas I use canned chickpeas. I’ve used many brands but Goya is the best. The chickpeas are soft and perfect for boil and fry channa. With other brands the chickpeas are a bit al dente and require some additional cooking to get to that creamy texture that I love about this recipe. To make channa with canned chickpeas, simply sauté your green onions and garlic then add the chickpeas and the liquid from the can to the pan. Add salt, geera and a pinch of cayenne pepper and cook until all the liquids cook off and you are left with creamy and delicious channa. Top it off with some mango sour and you are in business. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to make channa with canned chickpeas and I am not mad about that!
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The Printable Boil & Fry Channa Recipe
- 1 cup of dried chickpeas, soaked overnight then rinsed and drained, or
- 2 cans of cooked chickpeas (liquid from can included)
- 5 green onions, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 1 teaspoon roasted ground cumin or geera
- ½ teaspoon of salt or salt to taste
- Pinch of cayenne powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda (optional)
- Drain and rinse soaked chickpeas, then add to a large saucepan with enough water for boil (about 4 cups of water) and salt
- Place saucepan on medium heat and bring to a boil uncovered
- Boil until chickpeas are tender and can be crushed with your finger tips without having a grainy texture. This should take about 30 minutes. You may add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water for faster boiling
- When the chickpeas cooks to your desired texture drain chickpeas reserving ½ cup of the liquids, then set aside
- Next, add oil to a large frying pan or skillet on medium heat. When the oil comes up to temperature add the green onions and the garlic and sauté until the garlic is a little brown. This should take about a minute
- Then add the drained chickpeas, the geera or cumin, cayenne pepper and the liquids you reserved to the sauté pan and mix together well
- Sauté until all of the liquid cooks off and your channa has a soft and creamy texture but is not mushy
- Place instant pot in sauté mood. When the display indicates that the instant pot is hot add the oil and bring up to temperature
- When the oil is hot add the garlic and sauté until slightly brown and translucent
- Then add salt and the drained and rinsed soaked chickpeas. Mix together well then add 1 cup of water
- Next hit the cancel button to take the instant pot out of the sauté mood. Then cover and seal the instant pot and prepare for pressure cooking
- Pressure cook on high for 20 minutes
- When the instant pot completes the pressure cooking cycle release the pressure using the rapid release function then add the green onions, geera or cumin and the cayenne pepper and mix together well
- Put the instant pot in the sauté mode and cook until all the liquid cooks off and the channa is soft and creamy but not mushy
- Add oil to a sauté or frying pan on medium heat and bring up to temperature
- When oil is hot add the green onions and garlic and cook for about a minute until the garlic is slightly brown and translucent
- Then add the chickpeas, including the water from the can followed by the geera or cumin, salt and cayenne pepper and mix together well
- Continue to cook until all the water cooks down and chick peas are soft and creamy but not mushy
Try my Mango Sour recipe
Check out these other Guyanese Style Street Food Snacks!