Chana Madra is a popular Himachali curry prepared with chickpeas, yogurt and spices. It is best served with simple steamed rice. Here is how to make it.
Try a few more chickpea recipes – Chana Masala, Achari Chana Pulao, Chole, Palak Chole, Amritsari Chole and Achari Chole.
About This Recipe
Chana means “chickpeas” and Madra means “thick yogurt curry” in Himachal. So Chana Madra is nothing but a simple curry from the Pahari cuisine where white chickpeas are boiled and added to a spicy and tangy yogurt based gravy.
It is a quintessential part of the Himachali weddings/festivals and is popularly served in a traditional meal called Dham.
Chana Madra is best served with steamed rice. In the weddings, it is served along with other vegetarian delicacies mostly prepared with vegetables, beans and legumes.
Chickpeas – This recipe uses white chickpeas or kabuli chana that is soaked overnight and then boiled to add in the yogurt gravy.
Yogurt/Curd – Use fresh homemade or store bought yogurt! Avoid the one that tastes too sour.
I also mix a little maida/all purpose flour in the yogurt to avoid curdling. It’s totally optional!
Paneer – Paneer is optional, but tastes great in the curry. Homemade or store bought, use any fresh paneer.
Ghee – Make Chana Madra in only ghee for the authentic taste. You can substitute it with oil as well.
Spice powders – This simple chickpeas curry is spiced with basic spice powders such as coriander powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder and Kashmiri red chilli powder.
Regular red chilli powder can also be used, but Kashmiri powders gives the curry a nice colour without making it too spicy.
Whole spices – Cumin seeds, cloves, black cardamom, cinnamon and dry red chillies are added to hot oil, that lends a beautiful aroma and flavour to the curry.
Nuts – Addition of cashew nuts and raisins makes it richer. You can avoid adding it if making for your everyday meals.
Others – Hing, salt, sugar and fresh coriander are other few ingredients required for the curry.
Avoid hing for a gluten free version.
As it has chickpeas as its star ingredient, this curry is rich in protein. It is an apt recipe to include in your weight loss meals.
Also rich in fibre, it will keep you filled for longer.
It maintains good gut health.
Yogurt in the curry is great for your stomach and promotes digestion. It also improves bowel movement.
Himachali Chana Madra and Steamed Rice is a comforting combination you need to try for your weekday meals. You can also serve it in your festive meals with other North Indian delicacies.
It will even taste great with jeera rice, matar pulao or any other lightly spiced pulao.
As this curry has curd as its one of the main ingredients, it won’t last for long. Store the leftovers for 1-2 days in an air tight container in the fridge. It is not freezer friendly, as the curd will split while thawing.
Reheat in a pan or microwave. Add in a little water while reheating, if you feel the curry has become thick after refrigeration.
Step by Step Recipe
Wash the chana and soak in 3-4 cups water for 6-8 hours.
Drain the water and add the chana in a pressure cooker along with 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoon salt. Pressure cook until chana are nicely cooked. Remove the pressure cooker from heat and let the pressure release.
Heat ghee in a pan.
Once the oil is hot, add hing and cumin seeds and let them crackle for a few seconds.
Add bay leaves, crushed cloves, black cardamom, peppercorn, cinnamon and dry red chillies and fry for a few seconds.
Whisk curd with Maida, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder and red chilli powder and add it in the pan.
Cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add cooked chana, paneer, cashew nuts and raisins and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add salt to taste and ghee and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add more water if you like the gravy thinner and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve madra with naan or rice.
Chana Madra Recipe
- 1 cup Kabuli Chana
- 3 tablespoon Ghee
- ¼ teaspoon Hing
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 3-4 Cloves (Crushed)
- 2 Black Cardamom (Crushed)
- 1 inch Cinnamon (Crushed)
- 2-3 Dry Red Chillies
- 2 cups Curd
- 2 teaspoon Maida (I add it to avoid separation of curd. But it’s totally optional.)
- 2 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- ½ teaspoon Cumin Powder
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 2 teaspoon Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- 200 g Paneer (Cubed)
- 10-12 Cashew Nuts
- 10-12 Raisins
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Ghee
- 2 tablespoon Fresh Coriander (Chopped)
- Wash the chana and soak in 3-4 cups water for 6-8 hours.
- Drain the water and add the chana in a pressure cooker along with 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoon salt.
- Pressure cook until chana are nicely cooked.
- Remove the pressure cooker from heat and let the pressure release.
- Heat ghee in a pan.
- Once the oil is hot, add hing and cumin seeds and let them crackle for a few seconds.
- Add crushed cloves, black cardamom, cinnamon and dry red chillies and fry for a few seconds.
- Whisk curd with Maida, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder and red chilli powder and add it in the pan.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add cooked chana, paneer, cashew nuts and raisins and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add salt to taste, sugar and ghee and cook for 5-6 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh coriander.
- Serve madra with naan or rice.
I tried this recipe yesterday. Very interesting flavors and different from the curd based gravies I have eaten before.
I like its quicker to make as I’m always short of time.
Definitely going to make it again.
Thnx a lot for trying and leaving your feedback here. Looking forward to more from you. Have a great day.
Thanks, everybody liked it a lot. You made my day. Happy Holi. Keep updating us with such delicious recipes.
Thnx a lot for trying 🙂
I ended up making this to get rid of some vegan yogurt I had in the fridge – the dish was good! Like another commenter mentioned, it was very different from other curries I’ve made in the past that have been based heavily on onion/garlic/ginger. It had a nice kick to it 🙂 Thank you!
Thnx for trying it Laura. It is a very different style of curry. I am glad you liked it 🙂
Is there some vegetable side dish we can serve w this?
It pairs best with steamed rice or paratha.