When you think of Chickpeas, a lot of people think of savory recipes. Have you tried making sweets with a chickpea base? If you haven’t, you really ought to. This Chana Doce is a Goan sweet served at Christmas time, weddings and special occasions. It is made with chana dal and coconut and mildly flavored with cardamom. There are heaps of Indian sweets that use some form of chickpeas as a base, like these Besan Laddoos or even these sweet flatbreads called Puran Poli. These two are just the tip of the ice berg and I hope to try and bring you some more Chickpea deliciousness in the future.
Today, I’m sharing with you a Goan sweet recipe. This Chana Doce is a Goan delicacy and makes an appearance at Christmas time, weddings and special occasions. The recipe calls for chana dal, which is hulled and split chickpeas. Everytime we visit Goa, we always bring some back home with us. A good Goan bakery is paradise if you have a sweet tooth. Our typical haul would include this Chana Doce and a Coconut variant, the ever popular Bebinca, Dodol, Baath, Bolinhas and Pinag. I think that about covers it. Our favorite place to buy these treats is a quaint little bakery in Mapusa called Simona’s. They also have outlets in Porvorim and Sinquerim. What’s your go-to place to buy your favourite Goan treats?
It’s hard for us to get back to Goa as often as we did when we were in Mumbai, so I’ve decided to try and make these delicacies at home. And after some experimenting, I’ve finally got a recipe for Chana Doce that I’m happy with. This is a softer version of the sweet and just melts in your mouth. The commercially available one is a little harder and has a slightly longer shelf life, but its slightly more difficult to make. We actually quite like this softer version and hope you do too.
Chana DoceCourse: DessertCuisine: GoanDifficulty: Medium
A melt in your mouth sweet made with chana dal and coconut and mildly flavored with cardamom.
1 cup Chana Dal (hulled and split chickpeas)
1/8 tsp Salt, or to taste
6-8 green cardamom pods
1 coconut, grated (approx. 2 1/2 cups)
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp of ghee (clarified butter)
- Wash the chana dal by passing it through some water at room temperature 3-4 times. Add enough water to cover the dal by about 2 inches and let it soak for 3 hours. After letting it soak, drain the water, pass it through some fresh water and drain again. Cook the chana dal with 1/8 tsp of salt and sufficient water till soft. Drain the dal and reserve the cooking water. Let the dal cool to room temperature.
- In the meanwhile, crack the cardamom pods open and grind the seeds to a powder.
- Grease a large tray or board, the back of a large spoon or spatula, a rolling pin and a sharp knife with a little more ghee.
- Grind the coconut to a smooth paste using just a little of the reserved cooking liquid from cooking the lentils. Use as little water as you can. Place the ground coconut in a large heavy bottomed pan.
- Grind your chana dal with a little reserved cooking liquid to a smooth paste. Again, use as little liquid as possible. Add this to the pan.
- Add the sugar to the pan and stir well to combine.
- Place the pan on a medium heat and cook till it thickens and starts leaving the sides of the vessel, stirring continuously. As it thickens, drop the heat to a medium low, add the cardamom and 1 tbsp ghee and continue cooking. This process takes around 30-45 minutes.
- Once the mix starts forming into a ball, take it off the heat and immediately transfer to the greased tray. Level it using the back of a spoon and tidy it off with the greased rolling pin. Set it aside to cool.
- Using the greased knife, cut into the traditional diamond shapes or any other shape of your choosing.
- Leave the cut pieces on the kitchen counter to cool down completely and set. Your Chana Doce is now ready to serve or store. Store in an airtight container. This will keep refrigerated for a 6-8 days.
- You can cook the chana dal in the pressure cooker or in a pot on the stovetop. The pressure cooker will cut down cooking time drastically. Mine takes about 10 minutes to cook all the way through. Cooking time will differ among different brands of pressure cookers. Follow your manufacturers instructions to cook the lentils till well done.
- Use as little water as possible to grind the coconut and the chana dal. The more water you add, the longer you’re cooking time will be.
- Always use a heavy pan to cook this Chana Doce. It keeps it from burning easily. If possible, use a wide pan. A wide pan, increases surface area and decreases cooking time.
- Cooking time will vary depending on a number of factors like amount of water used while griding, heat level used during cooking, size and thickness of the pan, width of the pan etc. It took me 32 minutes in total. Like most Goan sweets, its hard to time the cooking process. You need to go by what you see and feel. My step-by-step video will help with this.