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.

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This is my all time favorite dish in Pahari cuisine.

Khatta literally means sour and that is really what this dish is all about.

It’s a scrumptiously sour gravy which is made of amchur powder which is basically a spice made by pulverizing dried green mangos. The way I like making khatta is with fried besan ka boondis (fried chick pea flour balls) but this can be substituted with regular chickpeas too.

You can make your own the boondi or buy it. A good brand of Boondi is Haldirams and is available at any Indian grocery store.



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Pahari Food/ Dishes from Himachal Pradesh

Pahari food, is a little known cuisine, that can be traced back to the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. My family is mostly Pahari. Our origins lie in the beautiful Kangra Valley region which is nestled in the majestic Himalayas. The word “Pahar” literally means mountains.

There is a such a wide variety of foods in this region and it is all delicious.  When I was growing up, every year at Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, we would cook a traditional pahari meal. Last year ….after 14 years I made it back home for Diwali to eat my favorite meal of the year. Over the next few days, I will blog some of the recipes of this wonderful cuisine.

Here are some of dishes we make – the titles link you to the recipes.





Masala Fried Okra