Not your usual - Pindi Chana

When I first ordered Pindi Chana in a restaurant, I thought it wouldn't be too different from chana masala. I was wrong. What was eventually served to me looked nothing like the dish I liked. It had no gravy, the chickpeas were almost black in color and the dish had a very heady aroma. I decided before taking a bite that I wasn't going to like the dish. Well, I was wrong again.

Pindi chana (named after its city of origin Rawalpindi) is different from the way chickpeas are commonly cooked (which I think is Amritsari). It doesn't have the omnipresent duo of onion and tomato and uses not one but two souring agents for a strong tang. As for the black color originally it came from powdered gooseberries (amla), now it comes from tea bags.

After that first sampling I tried quite a few recipes in the hope that I could recreate the same taste. No such luck; until the day we got a new pressure cooker and a booklet of recipes along with it. An authentic recipe for pindi chana in a cooker booklet?! "No way", I thought. But ... (y'all should know what's coming!) I was wrong; and here it is.


PINDI CHANA (Spiced Chickpeas)
(serves 2-3)
1 cup chickpeas (kabuli chana), soaked overnight
1 tea bag (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp pomegranate seeds (anardana)
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 black cardamoms (badi elaichi)
2 small sticks of cinnamon
3-4 cloves
1 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp garam masala
1-2 tsp mango powder (amchur)
3-4 green chillies, slit
3-4 thin slivers of ginger
2 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp ghee
salt to taste

In a pressure cooker or deep saucepan, combine (drained) chickpeas, tea bag, cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves. Add 3-4 cups of water, season with salt and cook until the chickpeas are done. Allow to cool then discard tea bag and whole spices.

Meanwhile roast cumin and pomegranate seeds on moderate heat until they become aromatic. Let cool then powder in a coffee/ spice grinder. Keep aside.

Drain excess liquid from the chana into a bowl. Add spices - pomegranate-cumin, coriander, mango, pepper and garam masala. Mix thoroughly until chickpeas are well coated. Add ginger and green chillies.

In a tadka ladle heat ghee and oil till they smoke (with an eye on your alarms please!). Pour evenly over chickpeas.

Next add the reserved cooking liquid and cook chickpeas on medium-high heat until it dries up. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with finely chopped onion and cilantro. Serve hot.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great recipe.Indeed chickpeas tastes great without gravy.My mom makes chana usli which tastes awesome.Would like to try out this recipe soon.Thanks for sharing.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:23 PM  
Blogger Manjusha Nimbalkar said...

Hey Ashwini,

Chickpeas look so nice.More than chickpeas i was looking at the sliced lemon wedges. Man i culd have never got it cut so thin.Do use any slicer for cutting onions etc ?

Chickpeas rock !!!

Catch ya

6:55 PM  
Blogger Nabeela said...

i always knew your heart was good and that you would definitely share any good recipes you come across ;)

7:38 PM  
Blogger archana said...

I always knew that you are good, and now i know that even better !!!! Thank you for the recipe.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Sumitha said...

Thanks Ashwini,always heard the name of this dish,never had a right recipe!

2:30 AM  
Blogger Vaishali said... does sound different. I have eaten this before, I think. I'll know whether it's the same dish, once I have tried it out.
Btw, did I tell you that I prepared Bhendi using your Ambat Batata recipe? It was so good, that my MIL went on eating the okra pieces like they were a snack. :) Blog Patrol will write about it soon, I've been informed. ;-)

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great recipe and as usual a great presentation Ashwini. I am gonnu try this today, it would be a nice change from my channa recipes.

BTW..have you seen hindi movie 'Home delivery'? Its the most horrible movie, but there is one scene with tiku talsania ..he wants to become a singer and throughout the movie he sings 'ravalapindiiiiiii' :)). Your title, immediately brought back his face infront of me :).

10:29 AM  
Blogger Krithika said...

I have always craved for this. None of the restaurants here serve this. In Delhi this is what is served with chana bhatura. Kabuli chana that is totally black. No trace of onion or tomatoes. Your recipe is very close to what my wedding caterer gave me. Thank you so much for sharing this.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Made this for lunch and it is yummy! I didn't trust recipe, so added more water at end, and that was a mistake (bad, bad!). Next time I will know better, and follow recipe. I did need to add water while cooking though.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Anon - thanks. I prefer drier versions too
Manju - thanks! No I don't use a special slicer (I dont know if there is one!). I use a smaller knife (compared to the chopping one) with a serrated blade. These are good for slicing tomatoes, lemons etc
Nabby, Archana, Sumi - thanks
Vaish - I am so glad you & your MIL liked ambat bhendi. That is my favorite one too btw. I didnt have bhendi that day so made do with potatoes :-)
Shilpa - you had me laughing out loud (and I havent even seen the movie)...let me know if you try it. If you like it maybe you can sing about it too :-D
Krithika - I actually keep looking for this dish in restaurants too! Glad to help :-)
Diane - glad you liked the dish

7:11 PM  
Blogger Anupama said...

Fantastic Ashwini, Chana is welcome in all its different forms and a new chana recipe will definitely be enjoyed by everyone in the family. Btw which restaurant did you go to?

4:38 AM  
Blogger indianadoc said...

That's very generous of u ashwini!!Never heard of Pindichana...but it looks definitely good..and should definitely taste good too!!Yes many a times we stumble upon recipes like a carton of cooker, on top of a vegetable packet etc...

7:05 AM  
Blogger Mandira said...

Ashwini - the chana sounds so good... and delicious. Will be trying it soon. Thanks for sharing.

9:38 AM  
Blogger BDSN said...

Wow!! Ashwini u r generous in sharing the recipe..I would luv to try this sometime with paav-bhaaji too..

2:45 PM  
Blogger Revathi said...

Channa just looks delicious - And I loved ur prelude very cohesive !!!

2:51 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Looks lovely

4:40 AM  
Blogger Shammi said...

oh yum. I love pindi chana! Nice write-up too :)

9:05 AM  
Blogger KA said...

Very generous indeed! Never heard about pindi chana before. Honestly, I would have thought its the same as the regular chana masala.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Terri the terrific said...

This turned out very well. Thanks for the recipe. The smoking ghee made all the difference, giving it a restaurant flavor.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Anupama - thanks. Which restaurant in India? I dont think I have left any partiality where good food is concerned :-)
Indiandoc, Mandira, BDSN, Revathi, Pushpa, Shammi - thanks
Krishna - this is very different from chana ought to try it
Terri - glad you liked the dish

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ashwini,is there any other substitute for anardana ?

1:57 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Hi Radhika, no not really. Pomegranate seeds have a very unique taste and frying them brings out their flavor. If you cant find them I'd say omit them instead of using something else. Let me know how the dish turns out.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ashwini, this sounds (and looks) so appetizing! One of the things I love about Indian food is -- every time I think I have a well-stocked pantry, along comes another dish I just *have* to try, for which I need *just one more spice*... this time it's the pomegranate. It's on my list now...

3:41 PM  
Blogger Pelicano said...

I tried this recipe two weeks ago and forgot to post a comment until now: most delicious!!! Thank you so much for sharing this.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Glad you liked the dish Pelicano

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I've been trying to achieve this result since ages and could only do it after following this receipe to the T. The result was AWESOME !!
It did look unusual when I started works !!
Thanks a lot once again.

Shalu Shah

4:52 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Glad you liked it Shailu.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for this unique recepie!! it really tastes great!!Ofcourse something different from the usual tarkas that are mostly the same in whatever you cook. names of the recepies change but tarkas always remain the same!! funny ...isn't it. But ur one is really different!! ur recepie rocks!!

1:53 AM  

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