The bustling streets of the Punjab region in northern India are lined with food stalls selling khatta chana, or stewed chickpeas in a tart tamarind sauce.
It's a dish we learned to make firsthand from Meeru Dhalwala, co-owner of Vij's restaurant in Vancouver. Dhalwala adds heft to the chickpea curry by spooning it over sautéed brown-sugar greens, a nontraditional side dish.
For our take on Dhalwala's unusual pairing, we combined the chickpeas and greens in a delicious one-pot braise that dials down the sweetness and uses canned chickpeas—a shortcut that also thickens the curry with a touch of their starchy water.
Toasting onions to dark brown provided a base of flavor before we combined the cumin, turmeric, garam masala, sugar and tamarind into an aromatic paste. The sturdy collard greens braised until tender, and we used tongs to mix them, scraping the greens along the bottom like a broom to ensure they were evenly coated with spices.
The resulting dish, a bright stew of chickpeas and greens, satisfies because of its balance between sweet, sour, salty and oniony.