Channa Madra: A Himachali Recipe (Chickpeas with Yogurt Gravy)

Madra is a thick, yogurt based gravy that is a popular dish in Pahari or Himachali food. In my mother’s house, we make our Madra with chickpeas.

The most important step in making Madra is when you add the yogurt. You have to make sure that you stir continuously and do not allow the yogurt to curdle. This is a really crucial step or else you may have a disastrous gravy on your hands. If the yogurt seems to have curdled just a little bit, continue stirring the gravy and it will eventually thicken up and be fine.

Channa Madra: A Himachali Recipe (Chickpeas with Yogurt Gravy)

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled (or use canned chickpeas)

Asafoetida (hing), a pinch

2-3 cloves (laung)

1 stick cinnamon (dalchini)

2 pieces of black cardamom (moti elaichi)

1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

2 tsp. coriander powder

1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)

2 cups yogurt ( beaten till smooth)

2-3 tbsp ghee ( clarified butter)
Rice Mixture

¼ cup raw white rice

1 cup water

1-2 pods of green cardamom

• Soak  ¼ cup rice in 1 cup of water and cardamom.

• Grind this mixture and set aside.
METHOD:

• Heat 2 tbsp. mustard oil to smoking point on medium heat.

• Add a pinch of asafoetida, 2 cloves, 1 stick cinnamon, and 1 black cardamom seed.

• Add 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds.

• Stir for 30 seconds and add the coriander powder and turmeric powder.

• Stir for 30 seconds (do not let it burn or blacken.)

• Add the chickpeas and stir well.

• Add the yogurt to pot and keep stirring continuously.

• Do not stop stirring or the yogurt will curdle. (Even if it curdles slightly don’t worry as the gravy will even out as the dish thickens eventually)

• Stir continuously on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

• When it comes to a boil add the ground rice/water mixture.

• Stir the mixture very frequently and let it cook for about 20 minutes.

• Add 2 – 3 tbsp. of ghee (clarified butter)

• Turn the heat on low and cook the Mandra on a slow fire for about 30 minutes stirring often until the entire mixture thickens.

• Add salt to taste and serve hot with white rice.


41 thoughts on “Channa Madra: A Himachali Recipe (Chickpeas with Yogurt Gravy)

  1. Pingback: Pahari Food/ Dishes from Himachal Pradesh « The Food Fairy

  2. Confused about the rice mixture: So I soak the rice and cardamom pods in water for how long? And then I put the mixture in a blender and puree it to add later to the dish. This recipe looks amazing I just want to make sure I do it right.

  3. I’m not a huge fan of channa – chickpeas as such, as they are too heavy and hard for my digestion although raw sprouted channa are alright, but this recipe looks super delicious – cardomom and cinnamon sticks. Maybe it could work with sprouted chana too, making it even more nutritious.

    I’ve had a wonderful fresh fruit salad with channa dressing. The dressing appears yogurt-like, perhaps yogurt cheese that has been beaten smoothly. Have you ever heard of this dressing? It tops the fruit salad and is served topped with ground almonds. It’s my favorite breakfast. I’d like to know how to make the channa dressing. I’ve never seen or heard of it other than at the beautiful ashram retreats I stay at in the U.S.

    • Hi,
      I have not heard of a channa dressing but I think i you play around with it a little – it should be easy to recreate. Try blending boiled channas with little lemon juice, yogurt, salt and pepper and any herb of choice like cilantro or parsleys. This should make nice and really healthy dressing – adjust the consistency by adding water.
      Good luck. Ill keep my eyes open to see if I can find a recipe for you.
      Maini

    • Hi,
      I have not heard of a channa dressing but I think i you play around with it a little – it should be easy to recreate. Try blending boiled channas with little lemon juice, yogurt, salt and pepper and any herb of choice like cilantro or parsleys. This should make nice and really healthy dressing – adjust the consistency by adding water.
      Good luck. Ill keep my eyes open to see if I can find a recipe for you.
      Maini

    • yes , i know a chana salad recipe which is very popular in my home as a breakfast item or as a snack ; 1] soak chana overnight with meetha soda . 2] wash chana properly in running water 3]add to pressure cooker 4] add equal amount of water by volume 5] add a small onion roughly cut + 2 GREEN CHILLIES roughly cut + a piece of ginger roughly cut + 4 -5 garlic cut 6] add 5cloves + 2 cardamoms +1 stick cinamon + 8black pepper whole + salt to taste . 7] pressure cook for 8 – minutes and put the pressure under running water and open when all steam is out , 8] put pressre again on medium heat and dry up any water completly . 9 ] separate the chanas from all spices and onion etc. throw away the spices .now to make salad ; pl. add to this chana liberal amount of chana masala+ / siced cucumber , onion , green chillies ,tomato cut slice +fresh ginger and serve with a dash of lime juice and garnished with hara dhania —- enjoy !

  4. Thanks Malini for the superb effort. Tried making Madra as per this recipe today .
    Did not get the texture right though it tasted just fine. Then realised that I had put half a cup of rice to soak rather than one fourth a cup – a correction needs to be made to that section in the recipe. Also the quantity of the mustard oil needs to be specified for those who would like to go exactly by the book (for starters). Hoping to get it right the next time.

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    • Hi, Yes you can but lobia cook much faster than channa so you might have textural issues which will alter the taste. You should try it though.

  6. Hi, I must share that I make Madra in my cooking range at 125 degrees centigrade. Takes around 3 hours but tastes almost the same as you get in the dhams

  7. Pingback: 20 places in India whose local food you can’t miss ← Holidify

  8. Today I first time visit ur website. I like it. You are doing good job for freshers as well as experience holders in cooking😉. Well, I cooked Chana madra many times. It is easy and light from Punjabi chole. But I never add the pury of rice. Sure I’ll try this. I’m sure it tastes yummy. Thankyou so much for uploading folk recipes of Himachal Pradesh. Keep it up. 👍

  9. Pingback: Hammertime-23 places in India whose Local Food you can’t miss – Hammertime

  10. Pingback: Instant Pot Channa Madra | Pahari Cuisine Special Channa Madra

  11. Thanks for this recipe. I think today is the perfect day for this. It has been raining here since 2 day and temperatures have dropped to below 10°C. Also, I got my hands on lots of yogurt. What better comfort food than madhră on a cold evening. 😊

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