Saturday, March 19, 2011

Peshawari Chana Masala

To begin with, my mother-in-law brought two fantastic things from Indore. First and foremost is the heavy iron kadhai. I wanted one for so long, and it is absolutely beautiful. You absolutely have to hold it with both your hands. Food tends to turn black, though, in this kadhai. This is because of the iron. It is also the reason why my recipe looks so dark today, but don't worry; yours probably will hold all the beautiful colors of every ingredient in the recipe.

Which brings me to the second thing that she brought from Indore. Farm fresh green chanas from the farm of one of our relatives. The aroma, oh! My stomach starting rumbling from hunger even as I was cooking the chanas in my pressure cooker.


  • 2 cups soaked chana dal (sprouted is even better, and healthier)
  • 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 7 to 8 cloves of garlic
  • 3 large tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala or chana masala (whichever is available)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 green tea bags, or black tea bags or 2 tsp black tea wrapped in a fine muslin cloth
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 to 3 tsp oil

Wash and pressure cook chana with 2 cups of water for about 10 to 15 minutes. Keep them aside.

Heat oil in a kadhai. Add the onion and saute till it is translucent and pinkish in color. Make a paste of green chillies, ginger and garlic. I prefer to do this in a mortar and pestle. I have been wanting to buy one of those old-time grinding stones which our grandmothers used to use to make pastes. It brings out the flavors of all the ingredients so well. I remember once grinding the masala for pani puri on one such grinding stone in my mother's kitchen. My mother was sure that after grinding about 10 green chillies I would be completely disinterested in grinding masalas on the stone, and would never bother her again. My hands started burning soon afterward from the green chillies, and they hurt for quite some time. It was a whole evening before my hands felt normal again. Yet, I have yet to come across a pani puri which tastes as great as the one I ate that evening. My mother was wrong. I was hooked on to the grinding stone for life.

Coming back to the recipe, add the ginger, garlic and green chillies paste to the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add all the dry masalas and fry again for two to three minutes. Now throw in the chopped tomatoes, and cook till they are tender and spouting oil from every side. Throw in the cooked chanas with the water used for cooking them. dip the two tea bags in the gravy and remove them after about four to five minutes. Add salt to suit your taste. Boil the gravy for about 10 minutes. Serve hot with chapatis or parathas.

Here's how it looked.

This was one particular recipe which was unanimously accepted to be really tasty by all my family members. Even my nephew Sarthak liked it, so there is reason to be hopeful, I guess. :-)

Happy cooking!

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