Monday, 6 November 2017

Himachali Chana Aloo Madra Recipe / Traditional Garbanzo Beans In Yogurt Curry From Himachal Pradesh

Himachali Chana Aloo Madra the decadent, rich dish from one of the most beautiful States in India is a complete treat for the senses. Himachal Pradesh which means abode or land of snow in Sanskrit is true to its name. Nature has showered it's bounty on this state. Situated in the northern most part of India and home to some of the most famous hill stations, just like the splendour around, the people who live here are synonymous with charm, grace and kindness loaded hearts. The cuisine of this region is spicy and makes use of a lot of yogurt, cardamom powder and is generally slow cooked to bring forth the huge array of flavours.

Himachali Chana Aloo Madra is a very special dish from here. It is basically a chick pea / garbanzo beans curry, which is cooked in a yogurt gravy and is perfumed with spices. It is noteworthy, that unlike most Indian curries, this does not make use of onions, ginger, garlic or tomatoes as its base masala. The entire curry is slow cooked in a yogurt gravy. If you all remember that this dish was part of my DIWALI MINI VEGETARIAN THALI I thought to balance out the Spicy dishes in my Diwali Lunch Menu, this Garbanzo Beans Curry in a very flavourful, yet mild yogurt base would be just the dish. I was absolutely right. It perfectly compliments the Fiery Mexican Rice / Arroz Verde and Spicy Chettinad Cauliflower Chukka and also balances the light sweetness of the Beetroot Paneer Curry with its hint of Tang. So let's take a look at the ingredients.

Himachali Chana Aloo Madra Recipe / Traditional Garbanzo Beans Curry From Himachal Pradesh  ~



250 Gms Kabuli Chana, Garbanzo Beans,
250 ~ 300 Gms Yogurt, Dahi
100 Gms Potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2~4 Tbsp Clarified Butter, Desi Ghee
8~10 Pieces Cashewnut, Kaju
1 Tbsp Raisins,Kishmish
1 Tsp Sugar
2 Cups Water to cook the garbanzo beans
Salt to taste
1/4 Tsp Baking Soda (optional)


1 1/2 Tbsp Coriander Powder,Dhanya Powder
1/2 Tbsp Red Chilli Powder, Lal Mirchi Powder
1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder, Haldi Powder
1 Tsp Rosted Cumin Powder, Bhuna Hua Jeera Powder


2 Bay Leaves, Tej Patte
2 Whole Dry Red Chillies, Sukhi Sabut Lal Mirch
1 Inch Piece Cinnamon Stick, Darchini
4 Cloves, Laung
8~10 Black Peppercorns, Kalimiri
1 Star Anise, Chakri Phool
2 Brown Cardamom, Badi Elaichi
4 Green Cardamom, Choti Elaichi
1 Tbsp Corriander Seeds, Sabut Dhaniya
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds, Sabut Jeera

Let's Get Cooking Himachali Chana Aloo Madra Recipe / Traditional Garbanzo Beans Curry From Himachal Pradesh, in easy steps ~

1) Soak the Garbanzo Beans, covered with water, overnight.
** In the morning, drain the water and transfer the garbanzo beans into a pressure cooker. Add 1 Tsp Salt and Baking Soda. Add water.
**Cover and pressure cook the garbanzo beans till soft. Keep aside.
** Boil the potato cubes covered with water in a saucepan, till done. Drain out the water and keep aside.

2) In a mortar using a pestle coarsely crush Black Peppercorns, Brown Cardamom, Green Cardamom and Coriander Seeds. Keep aside.

3) Take a large mixing bowl. Add Yogurt. Add all the ingredients under SPICE POWDER.
**Mix Well to form a smooth homogeneous mixture. Keep aside.

4) Take a wok or pan. Pour Clarified Butter into it.
** When hot add Bay leaves, Whole Dry Red Chillies, Cinnamon Stick, Cloves, Star Anise and Cumin Seeds. Saute them till fragrant.

5) Add the coarsely crushed spices from STEP 1. Saute till fragrant.

6) Remove the pan from the fire for one minute and let the clarified butter and the spices cool down.
** Now very slowly and stirring continuously add the Yogurt & Spice Powder Mixture from STEP 3.
NOTE ~ It is very important to keep in mind that the cooking vessel needs to be removed from the fire and it's contents cooled before adding the yogurt. If you fail to do so, the yogurt will instantly curdle, ruining your curry.

7) Only when you have mixed all the spices with the yogurt properly, place the pan / wok back on the fire. Keep the flame low. We will now cook the yogurt in low flame.
** Cook the yogurt and the spices till you can see them bubbling.

8) Now add the boiled Potato Cubes from STEP 1. Mix well.
** Next Add the boiled Garbanzo Beans without the water in which it was boiled. Mix well.
** Using the back of your spatula you can crush a few garbanzo beans and potatoes to get a thick textured gravy, but this is optional.
** Add the water in which the garbanzo beans were boiled and get the gravy to a consistency as desired by you. If you want a thick gravy, do not add water.

9) Add Sugar. Mix.
** Check for seasoning. Add Salt if required.
** Cook for another minute. Remove from the flame.

Your Himachali Chana Aloo Madra is ready to be served. Serve with rice or flat breads. This dish is a very nice amalgamation of a lightly tangy savoury curry, underlined with a fragrant note from the spices and aromatics. One thing I can assure you that this is very different in taste from all the Chana Masalas or Pindi Choley etc. you have had. This dish therefore adds a nice variety to your menu. The Himachali Chana Aloo Madra is traditionally served at weddings and celebratory occasions in Himachal Pradesh and is considered a rich curry. I however find it lighter than the other Chana / Garbanzo beans preparations, because of the absence of Onion, Ginger, Garlic and Tomatoes.

** The baking soda is added to soften the garbanzo beans. It is totally your choice, whether you will want to use it or not.
** The potato cubes can be substituted with cottage cheese cubes and tastes very good.


Cooking With Rekha

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