Weekend Breakfast: Kala Chana (Chickpea) Stir-fry & Black-eyed Pea Stir-fry

How was your week? In an effort to healthy up my life and detox a bit, I decided to reduce my dependence on caffeine by stopping it cold turkey for a while. Not a good idea. For the last few days I’ve been tired and unfocused and headache-y and cranky. Some people who shall remain nameless have asked me “how is that different from normal?” but I will be ignoring them because my ability to respond with a witty and biting comeback was also apparently dependent on caffeine. Don’t worry, I’ll get back to you all with a clever comeback someday. I tried decaf and sorry but I think it is disgusting – the smell and the taste is nothing like coffee.
Although this no caffeine thing is stressing me out, I’ve managed to start two of my Resolutions – planting sprouts and trying goat cheese – and I wanted to post about it but then I thought of other things that I could add to the posts. As such, they’re on the back burner, simmering on low until I can add the rest of ingredients to complete my post. Don’t you just love a good food metaphor? I could just eat them up….
I also finished my 2 smoothies a month thing for March although I know I cut it close again. Next month I’ll probably post about a few of the ones I’ve made recently. What I’m posting about today and bringing to Fiesta Friday is one of my go-to Weekend Breakfasts. I’m one of those people that love a long, leisurely breakfast on the weekends, where regular rules of time don’t apply to me. Lunch at 3? Sure. Dinner at 5? No problem. A second dinner at 8? Bring it on!  My ideal scenario is making a heavy breakfast so that lunch is kind of negligible. This directly interferes with my desire to sleep in and watch all of the TV that I didn’t get a chance to watch that week. What’s a girl to do? Especially a non-caffeinated one? Cook in steps. I roast my bell peppers when I have a chance and store in the fridge with a bit of olive oil in a ziploc bag and I cook my dried beans during the week and store in the freezer. If you prefer to use canned peas or beans, rinse thoroughly before use (you can reduce up to 1/3 of the sodium that way!). I’ve seen my Mom mince onion and garlic and keep it in the veggie drawer of our fridge, which I have yet to try but suspect I will soon.
Sunday Mornings at my parent’s house pretty much have a heavy brunch theme – pancakes or a black-eyed pea hash, stir-fried chana / chickpeas, soup, samosas, fruits, toast and whatever else my mom baked during the week. My siblings and I have a running joke that there are foods that our parents tried to make us eat so many times that we developed this disgust at the mere thought of it but the second we move out, we rediscover the food and can’t get enough of it. This has happened for carilla / bitter melon, eggplant, beans & peas on the whole, avocado, plantain, and so many other things. We have an abbreviation for it which I will not share because it was borne out of our mutual disgust for the food and frustration of having the same argument every week – as such its pretty rude :). Sorry parents!
Which brings me to today’s post. I’m bringing stir-fried chickpeas and stir-fried blackeye peas to the Fiesta Friday party for you to use as a Saturday / Sunday morning breakfast. Its a huge departure from pancakes, eggs and bacon but is a pretty great alternative or accompaniment. You can serve with toast, hard boiled eggs, I’ve even had it with crackers once and it was surprisingly good. Any leftovers can easily be used as a side dish for lunch or dinner or can be eaten alone for a quick lunch.
These two dishes are pretty flexible and I won’t be offended if you choose to throw in whatever veggies you have on hand (that half tin of corn lurking in your fridge? How about that one little carrot hiding in your veggie drawer?).
Black-eyed Pea Stir-fry
1/2 cup blackeye peas, dried (will make about 1 1/2 cooked cups cooked beans)
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped (jarred is fine, but use about 3-4 slices )
1.5 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp black pepper
2.5 tsp olive oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
Cook dried peas according to package directions. Warm oil in a saucepan. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add blackeye, red pepper, thyme, black pepper, pepper flakes and salt. Stir to ensure that everything is throughly coated with oil. Adjust to taste with salt & thyme. Cook for about 2 minutes more, until onions start to brown slightly at edges.

Kala Chana Stir-fry
3/4 cup dried Kala chana (dried / regular chana / chickpeas will work just fine. Just reduce dried amount to 1/2 cup since it will make 1 1/2 cups cooked)
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2-3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1.5 tsp dried basil
1 tsp black pepper
2.5 tsp olive oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
Cook dried chana according to package directions. Warm oil in a saucepan. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add chana, tomatoes, basil, black pepper, pepper flakes & salt. Stir to ensure that everything is thoroughly coated with oil. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated from the tomatoes and adjust to taste with salt & pepper.

I like kala chana because its smaller and has a slightly more refined taste than regular chickpeas. It doesn’t get mushy either and this holds together much nicer than regular chickpeas. The health benefits are also quite significant – protein, fiber, iron, calcium, folate and all that good stuff.

Both dishes take less than 10 minutes each to whip up (once you have your prepared peas) which leaves you more time to lounge around and fight with your husband over watching football and CBS Sunday Morning. So enjoy, Happy Weekend and see you on Monday!


  1. I tried a caffeine detox last year, and it was fairly disastrous for many reasons. I’m happy to have it back in my life… These stir-fries look and sound so delicious!

    • Thanks Laura! I think I may have to switch back to caffeine – at least a little bit because I’m still finding it pretty rough. I drink tea all the time! Smoothies have really saved my life though although I was trashing them about a month ago lol

  2. Hi Indira, first, these stir-frys look terrific—I’m with you on the long, leisurely weekend meals at any time. Dinners usually happen very late on Saturday nights because…I can. I went cold turkey on caffeine years ago. The first two weeks it was hard, but I stayed caffeine-free for nearly two years (during law school no less). It was foolish to bring it back into my life because like you, I would find it so hard to give it up, again. Good luck with the detox!

    • Thanks Ngan. I’m impressed that you were able to keep it off during law school…I practically lived on tea during my years at law school because I really didn’t like coffee then (I was adding milk to it then – plain black coffee was an absolute revelation). I think I may start back but keep it in moderation…you’d be amazed how often I crave a cup of tea! I really am a tea addict – when its cold, when its hot, when I’m tired, when I want to sleep…tea is the perfect beverage lol

  3. Hi Indira! I really enjoyed your post! I have tried to give up caffeine …sorry to say, it is not an easy one to forgo. I do love your breakfast dishes. I am always looking for new things to eat at breaky and I love the look of what you have brought for us. I want to try your recipes for sure!

    • Thanks Julianna! I hope you do try and let me know how it turns out. I cant eat heavy breakfasts every morning, but I do like to splurge on the weekends. I may restart the caffeine in moderation…its too hard!! LOL

  4. I’m not sure what I like better: your witty prose, even without caffeine, or these delicious breakfast ideas. I’m very much like you when it comes to weekend eating: casual lazy and big breakfasts, at whatever time I manage to get it all together, are ideal, especially if they circumvent my need to cook lunch. Ha.

  5. I didn’t know coffee is unhealthy and need to be detoxed out! I need to be in rehab! Your breakfast is interesting, to say the least. THIS is the breakfast of champions, not wheaties. Right? You’re so smart! 🙂

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