Pindi chana is chickpeas curry from Rawalpindi, Punjab in Pakistan. It is a dry/semi dry curry with no onion and garlic, and is usually served with poori, bhatura, kulcha or paratha.
It is said that pindi chana originated in Rawalpindi, hence the name. Pind in Punjab means village. I do not know if this chana preparation is still popular in Rawalpindi but it is in North India. Since it originated in Rawalpindi, this is my combo from Pakistan.
Unlike the other chana curries; chana masala, Punjabi choley and choley masala, pindi chana is a semi dry to dry curry. Like with many recipes, there are many versions of pindi chana. Regardless of the versions, this is a dry curry or at least the gravy is very thick, more towards the dry side.
Many versions have onion and tomato, and also call for cooking chickpeas / chana with tea leaves for a dark brown color. I followed Mona’s recipe that uses no onion, no tomato and no tea leaves. Her ancestors are from Rawalpindi & moved to Delhi during partition. This is her mom’s recipe and this was good enough to follow this recipe as this is the most authentic recipe I could find online.
No Onion Garlic Chana Recipe
Since it has no onions and garlic, chana is on the dry side. Hence it is a great one to prepare for festivals and occasions when onion garlic is not consumed. Navaratri is around the corner and this would be a great addition to navaratri menu.
However, for some extra gravy add more water to keep it semi dry and some tamarind juice or concentrate in the final stages of cooking. This is what I do sometimes as my family prefers a semi dry to gravy chana. Do not mash chickpeas to adjust the consistency of the gravy, as we do with other chickpea curries.
- Chickpeas – I use dry chickpeas or Kabuli chana. You can use canned chickpeas but for this preparation I have never used it. Soak chickpeas are cooked along with whole spices and when using canned ones, this stepped is eliminated and may miss out on some additional flavors.
- Whole Spices – chickpeas are cooked with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and black peppercorns. This infuses some flavor into chickpeas and also gives chickpeas a shade of dark color.
- Spice Powder – is a blend of anardana (dried pomegranate seeds), coriander seeds, cumin seeds, coves, black cardamom, cinnamon and black peppercorns.
- Tempering – unlike most Indian tempering, for this preparation it is just heated oil and, green chilies and ginger infused oil.
- Garnish – roasted or fried green chilies and julienne ginger.
How to prepare
- Cook soaked chickpeas with whole spices until tender but firm. Reserve some water and discard the rest.
- Mix spice powder with chickpeas.
- Pour some heated oil on spiced chickpeas and mix well.
- Roast ginger and green chilies separately in some oil. Ginger and green chilies are for garnish.
- Roast spiced chickpeas in ginger & green chilies infused oil (the same oil in which these were roasted). Add reserved water (in which chickpeas were cooked) and cook until the chana is done. Curry is semi dry or dry.
- Garnish with fried ginger and green chilies.
How to Serve
Serve pindi chana with poori, paratha or kulcha. We usually have it with poori, paratha or roti. This is how it is usually served, but I also like eating pindi chana as it is with some sliced onion and some yogurt one the side. You can also eat it like a chaat. Top chickpeas with some yogurt and garnish with some copped or sliced onions, and additional chaat add ons of your choice.
Dos and Don’ts
- Do not use tea leaves when cooking chickpeas.
- Do not over cook chickpeas. Keep chickpeas firm but tender.
- Do not mash chickpeas for a thick gravy. This is a dry/semi dry curry.
- Do not use onion, garlic, tomato and amchur.
- You can add some tamarind for semi dry curry.
- If possible use a cast iron pan or iron kadai. If you do not have either of those, use any pan other than a non stick pan for dark colored chickpeas curry.
Pindi Chana Recipe
- Bowls to soak and also mix chickpeas
- Pressure cooker or a pot
- Frying pan or a kadai or wok
- Knife & Cutting Board
- 1 cup dry Chickpeas or Kabuli Chana
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 3 Cloves
- 1 Black Cardamom or Badi Elaichi
- 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
- 5 Black Peppercorns
- ¾ Salt
- 2 – 2 ½ cups Water
- 2 tsp Anardana ~ Dried Pomegranate Seeds
- 1 ½ tsp Coriander Seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 5 Cloves
- 1 Black Cardamom
- ½ inch Cinnamon Stick
- 10 Black Peppercorns
- ¾ tsp Salt
- 4 tbsp Oil use another tbsp of oil, if needed
- 5 Green Chilies slit into half
- 2 tbsp finely shredded Ginger
- Wash and soak chana overnight. Chana will double in quantity and yield about 2 – 2 ¼ cups after soaking.
- Change water and cook chana in a pressure cooker using fresh water with all the ingredients listed under chana.
- You can tie whole spices in a cheese cloth and this will make it easy to weed out the spices once the chana is cooked.
- Pressure cook for 5 whistles or however long it takes in your cooker. Chana should be tender but hold its shape. in Instant Pot, 5 minutes manual on high pressure.
- Let the pressure release naturally. Drain and reserve some water, discard the spices and put the chana in a separate bowl.
- While the chana is cooking, dry roast all the ingredients listed under spice powder.
- Cool the spices and grind to a fine powder.
Preparing Pindi Chana
- Mix spice powder with the cooked chana.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan. When oil reaches almost smoking point, pour it over chana and mix well.
- In the same pan, heat remaining oil, fry shredded or julienne ginger till golden brown and crisp. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
- In the same pan, fry chilies until they change color. Remove and keep aside.
- Add spice coated chana to the same pan and stir for 4-5 minutes on high heat, stirring constantly. Make sure not to burn the spices.
- Add boiled chana water, about 1 cup, cover and cook for 5 – 10 minutes on medium – medium high flame. If your chana is already very tender, do not cover the pan. If you feel the chana is not tender enough, cover and cook until tender.
- Uncover and cook until water evaporates.
- Remove cover and cook until required consistency is reached. I cooked uncovered for about 5 – 10 minutes on low flame.
- This curry is suppose to be almost dry but if one prefers gravy, make a thick gravy. The gravy should not be runny like the usual chana masala or choley.
- Garnish with fried ginger and green chilies. Serve it with bhatura or pooris with some sliced onions.
- Chana in pindi chana should be firm and avoid the temptation to over cook it. And do not mash the chana as it is done with other chana curry preparations.
- This curry is suppose to be dry and if you do make a thick curry, you can add some tamarind pulp. For the dry version like I prepared, do not add any tamarind. I feel it is not required either as the anardana gives a nice tanginess to the chana.
- I did not use tea or teabags for color. Frying the chickpeas with the spice powder and cooking in a cast iron pan gives the brown color.
Buffet on Table, month long blogging marathon – Pindi chana with poori is comb from Pakistan. This week’s theme for this month long marathon is combos from different countries. Check out the link below for what my fellow bloggers have come up with.