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.
Goa, renowned for its beautiful beaches and people is an idyllic getaway for many. Every school holiday meant a trip to Goa to spend time with family. Along with beautiful weather and some of the most amazing produce, what I enjoy most are the traditional Goan sweets. Since moving from Bombay, these sweets are no longer within easy reach for me. So over the last few years, I’ve done the next best thing – learn to make them myself. A lot of these sweets make an appearance on the Goan Christmas platter also called Kuswar (pronounced koos-wahr). So far, I’ve had brilliant luck with quite a few and I will list them along with links to their recipes at the end of this post. I’m hoping to get a few more of them up earlier this year. So check back soon.
Today, after a long wait, I’m happy to share with you a recipe for Dodol. Dodol is almost a jelly like sweet made using Goa Jaggery, coconut and rice. Traditionally made, it is a very labor intensive recipe, but the results are so worth it. You use coconuts, freshly grated and juice extracted, the rice roasted and ground and after the jaggery is added you cook it long and slow, stirring continuously. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have access to Goa Jaggery in Sydney. But I was told that I could use Molasses instead. So on my last grocery shop, I picked up a bottle of Molasses. I decided I was going to try a few short cuts to cut down on time involved and used rice flour and a can of coconut cream. I’m happy to report that the whole prep and cooking process that usually takes hours, took be about half an hour from start to finish. The hardest part was leaving it overnight to set. You may not need to leave it that long, but I made the dodol in the evening and it was too warm to cut into after dinner.
But when I did cut into it, it was soft and delicious, just like I remember. I would recommend refrigerating it for a while before serving. It cuts a lot easier when cold. So if you’ve been putting of making Dodol because you can’t find jaggery, go get some molasses and get making. When adding the molasses, don’t go by the color of the mix, but taste for sweetness.
1 1/2 cup rice flour
1 can (400ml) coconut cream
3 tbsp roughly chopped cashew nuts
1 tsp ghee to grease the loaf tin and knife
Water, as needed
Grease a loaf tin with a little ghee and keep aside.
In a large pan (I use the 12″ Kitchenaid Stainless steel skillet) measure out the rice flour. Add enough water and make a batter (almost like a thick pancake batter). I use a whisk for this as it mixes the flour well without any lumps.
Pour in the coconut cream and whisk till dissolved.
Add the molasses and stir.
Now, place the mix on a medium heat and let it cook, stirring continuously.
When it starts thickening, drop the heat to low and continue stirring. I find that you may still find lumps in the mix even inspite of stirring. Use a whisk and break them up. It returns to a smooth consistency very quickly. I had to do this about 3 times.
As it thickens, it gets harder to stir. Add the chopped cashew nuts and keep stirring.
After about 20 minutes, here’s what my mix looked like.
Continue cooking till the mixture starts leaving the sides of pan and looks a little glossy. I cooked the mix down for about another 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
At this stage, you need to work quickly. Pour into the greased loaf tin and flatten it down using the back of a spoon or a spatula.
Leave to set and cool completely. Once it has cooled you can either refrigerate it for later use or demould it to serve. To demould, just place a plate, slightly larger in size than the loaf tin, on top and tip the tin over the plate. A slight shake of the tin and plate should be enough to loosen the dodol and let prop it on the plate.
Slice and serve.
Pin now and try later.