Chana Madra from Himachal Pradesh

Channa Madra, Chickpeas in a yogurt gravy, Chickpeas Yogurt Curry, Blogging Marathon, Pahari Food, Himachali Cuisine

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Himachal Pradesh is located in the Western Himalayas and is a beautiful scenic state. Most of the population lives in the rural areas and the capital city Shimla is well urbanized. It borders Jammu Kashmir in the north, Punjab on the west & south west, Haryana and Uttarakhand on the south east, and Tibet Autonomous Region on the east. It was nice to know that this state is ranked second in least corrupt states of India. Apple farming produces maximum income.

Channa Madra, Chickpeas in a yogurt gravy, Chickpeas Yogurt Curry, Blogging Marathon, Pahari Food, Himachali Cuisine

Food of the state is a lot similar to rest of the north Indian states which includes lentils, vegetables and breads. There are many valleys in the state and food eaten by the people living in the valley is called pahari food, pahar means mountain. Food from the region are madra, maahni, saag, siddu, khatti dal, patandea.
Siddu is similar to karijalu~karanji~gujjia~empanadas, patandea is a type of pancake and madra is a yogurt based gravy made with legumes.

Channa Madra, Chickpeas in a yogurt gravy, Chickpeas Yogurt Curry, Blogging Marathon, Pahari Food, Himachali Cuisine

Channa Madra is a thick yogurt based curry from the Pahari region of Himachal Pradesh. Cooked chickpeas are cooked in yogurt to make this gravy. Recipe called for raisins but I did not use. The spice level of the gravy was mild and the first day I served it with rice. The second day, I added some chili powder, garam masala, water and simmered it for few minutes. I served it with poori. This is an onion and garlic free recipe.

Channa Madra, Chickpeas in a yogurt gravy, Chickpeas Yogurt Curry, Blogging Marathon, Pahari Food, Himachali Cuisine

Adapted from: Nisha Madhulika
Total Time: 20 minutes (excludes soaking and cooking chickpeas)
Preparation: 5 minutes (excludes soaking and cooking chickpeas)
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 3-4


  • 2 Black Cardamoms
  • 4 Cloves
  • ¼” Cinnamon (opt. for the garam masala)
  • 10 Black Peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. Mustard Oil (can use vegetable oil or ghee ~ clarified butter)
  • ½ tsp. Cumin
  • Pinch of Hing ~ Asafoetida (I didn’t use it as I did not have it in my pantry)
  • ¾” – 1” Cinnamon stick broken into 2-3 pieces (for tempering)
  • 1 tbsp. Coriander Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Turmeric
  • 1 – 1 ½ tsp. Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 ½ – 2 tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
  • 2 cups cooked Chickpeas or 1 cup dry Chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked
  • 1 cup Yogurt
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Rice Flour (check notes)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp. Butter or Ghee (I felt I should have skipped it. Check note)
  • Cilantro chopped, for garnish


  • If using dry chickpeas, soak overnight and pressure cook it with little salt and 1½ cups of water until cooked. I usually cook for 5-6 whistles in my pressure cooker. Some people add pinch (1/8 tsp.) – ¼ tsp. baking soda when cooking chickpeas. Chickpeas cook faster with baking soda. I never used it though.
  • Remove the seeds from the cardamom keep aside. The cover of the cardamom can be used in the tempering but I discarded it.
  • Grind together cardamom seeds, cloves, black peppercorns ¼” cinnamon if using it (remember it is listed twice in the ingredient list). Break cinnamon into small pieces.
  • Mix rice flour with water and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a saucepan and add cumin. When cumin seeds are light brown and add asafetida if using and fry it for few seconds.
  • Add the garam masala powder, cinnamon pieces, turmeric powder and fry for few seconds.
  • Add cooked chickpeas, chili powder, salt and mix properly and fry for 2-3 minutes until spices coat the chickpeas.
  • If using raisins add them and fry for few seconds.
  • Turn the heat to low, gradually add beaten yogurt while stirring the chickpeas. This step is crucial. Keep stirring until yogurt mixes well. Increase the heat to medium and continue cooking until yogurt starts to boil. All the while, keep stirring the mixture to avoid the the yogurt from breaking up or curdling.
  • Add rice flour mixture, butter or ghee and keep stirring. Once it comes to a boil, cook for 3-4 minutes are until it is cooked and reaches the right consistency. Do remember the gravy thickens as it cools.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve with roti, puri or rice.


  • Canned chickpeas can also be used. Rinse the chickpea in running water before using it.
  • I used 2 tbsp. of butter but felt I could have skipped it. It tasted great but it also felt heavy do to butter. But the choice is your.
  • I used 1 1/2 tbsp. rice flour and the gravy was thick and the next day I added more water to the leftover madra to cooked it for few minutes. 1 tbsp. of rice flour might also work.
  • I had some left over madra and next day I added little bit of chili powder, garam masala powder, water and cooked it for few minutes. I served it with poori, the 2nd & 3rd pictures above were from next day.

This day in 2011 – stuffed Okra ~ Masala Bhendi and Homemade Vegetable Stock
Recipes I posted this month in 2009, in 2010, in 2011, in 2012 and in 2013.

Events: Chana Madra is on its way to Cooking With Seeds: Chickpeas, an event started by Priya and hosted by Nalini and to Avika’s My Legume Love Affair # 70, an event stated by The Well Season Cook and managed by Lisa’s Kitchen.

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