26 January 2011

Chana Masala....a recipe

Black Chana Masala...or "Kaale Chane'"

Chana puri, a hot favourite with Punjabis, is a spicy dish made with chickpeas or kabuli chana, and served with puris.
My recipe uses the black kind also called Bengal gram- which is smaller in size and takes a little longer to cook.
This is one of the easiest recipes ever to prepare, especially for a beginner who likes to experiment. It involves no chopping of onions or tomatoes or ginger-garlic.   Once you boil the chanas you need just five minutes for tempering it. It needs no chopping, no dicing-just a few dry masalas (spices).
This is a dry preparation with no gravy so you should ideally combine it with some yogurt raita and halwa (a sweet) and puris, of course You will love this dish for the simplicity in preparation and cooking.

(for 2-3 people)
1 cup               black chickpea      
2-3                  black cardamom, crushed
1"                    cinnamon.
1 tbsp              cumin powder (lightly roasted and powdered)
1 tbsp              garam masala
1 tbsp              coriander powder
1 tbsp              aamchur or dry mango powder (optional)
1-2 tsp             red chilli powder ( or according to taste)
3-4 tbsp           vegetable oil (not olive oil)
2-3 tbsp           green coriander, chopped
salt to taste

Soak chana  for 4-5 hours. Discard the water and pressure cook in fresh water with cardamom, cinnamon and salt to taste for about 20 min. Once done discard the cardamom and cinnamon. Keep about 1/4th cup of the  liquid and drain and discard the rest of it.
Sprinkle the garam masala,  aamchur, coriander powder, cumin powder on the chanas and mix well. Keep aside.
In a separate small pan prepare the tempering or the ‘tadka’. Heat the vegetable oil well. This might seem like too much of oil but this recipe needs oil to give it the glossy look. 
When very hot add 1 tsp red chilli powder.  It will immediately turn black. (It is supposed to do that). REMEMBER NOT TO INHALE HERE TO AVOID ONE SEVERE COUGHING FIT.
Quickly pour chillies over the chana and mix well. Put back on fire and cook for a minute or so.
Sprinkle green chopped coriander, onion rings and sliced green chilli on top. 
Serve hot with puri and halwa. The halwa should be eaten with the meal…the three tastes compliment each other very well.
(Find the recipe for a typical Punjabi halwa here...)
Hope you make trhis and enjoy it as much as I do.
Note: To make cumin powder: lightly roast a few teaspoons of cumin seed in a pan. Let cool and grind into a powder and store in an air tight jar. This is one spice that can easily be crushed with a rolling pin.


  1. yummyyyyyyyyy..And I am so glad you started blogging.

  2. Ru,I made this and it was yummyyyyyyy..only i didn't add red chili powder and added chat masala instead of amchur-I didn't have any amchur..n red chili because,my little one doesn't eat anything spicy!
    Thanks for sharing:D

  3. Hi Trish,
    Thanks. I am glad you liked it.
    Next time why don't you try adding just a pinch of chilli in the hot oil because the very unusual flavour comes from the burnt red chilli.( The amchur is anyway optional...I too don't add it normally because my kids don't like the sour taste in this dish.)
    ..and thanks for following...)

  4. Ru (that is also my nickname for my daughter Rutha) your Chana recipe was delicious! We all loved it!

  5. Hi Ru,

    I tried your recipe and I loved it.
    However, instead of garam masala powder, I used roasted and grinded powder of caramom, cinnamon, clove and blackpepper. I squeezed a little lemon juice in it. It tastes suberb.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Hi Narayan,
    I am glad you liked it - it's a good idea to add your own masala combination. You know, your ingredients are quite similar to those used in the Garam Masala I use.
    Why don't you try the Punjabi Halwa too? You just might like it :)

  7. Hi Ru,

    I will surely try your Panjabi Halwa recipe. Thanks for your suggestion.


    1. Three ingredients - atta, ghee and sugar - and you are done! Do let me know how it turned out :)


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