Dry Kala Channa (Dark Chickpeas)

Growing up in Delhi, the Navratras were a big deal. Nine days where people ate vegetarian food or fasted, prayed (more) and abstained from alcohol. Our family doesn’t really follow this ritual, but we did enjoy the special food our friends ate during this time. It’s a time for buckwheat instead of flour, lots of potatoes, rock salt instead of regular salt, among other things – making for some pretty tasty food.

The best food though is on the 8th day, Ashtami, where there was a puja (prayer) for girls and everyone then got to eat puris, halwa and kala channa. Since we didn’t do the puja, we used to wait for our friends to share the food with us πŸ™‚ Priorities are clear, food above rituals πŸ™‚

This kala channa recipe is a modification of the ashtami once, with the addition of some tomatoes and ginger – garlic plus tweaking of the spices a little. But whenever I make it, it takes me straight back to those ashtami days!

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Once the channa is boiled (after soaking for 8 hours), this dish comes together in a flash. Super easy to prep ahead for and make after a long day at work or when you need a quick, tasty, healthy meal.

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The base has tomatoes, ginger, garlic and chillies. Once these cook down, add the spices, cook for a short while and done. It’s that simple. Really.

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This dish is best had with bread of some sort – puri, chapati, roti, parantha – you get the drift. Try this recipe and make this super easy, delicious, quick meal a part of your regular meal plan πŸ™‚

Dry Kala Channa

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


1.5 cups kala channa (dark chickpeas) soaked overnight/for 8 hours

3 cups water

1.5 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds

3 green chillies – slit lengthwise

1.5 tsp ginger garlic paste

2 tomatoes – finely diced

1.5 tsp turmeric (haldi) powder

1.5 tsp garam masala

2 tsp coriander (dhania) powder

1.5 tsp dried mango (amchur) powder

8 tbsp fresh coriander – chopped

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp oil

salt to taste


  1. Soak the channa overnight. Drain and add to a pressure cooker with water and 1/2 tsp salt. Seal and cook on medium heat for 7-8 whistles (around 30 minutes). On releasing the pressure, the channa should be cooked through and soft, but not mushy.
  2. Reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid from the cooker
  3. Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they crackle add the slit green chillies and ginger garlic paste.
  4. Cook for 1-2 minutes till raw smell goes away. Add the turmeric and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and a pinch of salt, mix well. Let this cook for about 5-7 minutes till the tomatoes get mushy and start to release oil from the sides.
  6. Add the boiled channa (no water) and mix well, cook for 5 minutes
  7. Now add all the spices – coriander powder, amchur powder, garam masala. Mix well so that the spices coat all the channa.
  8. To this add the 1/3 cup of cooking liquid and mix well. Let this cook for 10-15 minutes till the spices and water combine to form a paste that coats all the channa and the flavour has been absorbed. Stir occasionally, so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  9. Adjust the salt, add fresh coriander and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Once done, add lemon juice and mix in. This is now ready to be polished off πŸ™‚



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A baker, a dancer, a marketeer. Sometimes lazy. Always up to try new food, read interesting books and meet amazing people :)

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