December 30, 2014

Pindi Channa

Pindi channa, named after the place from where it is originated "Rawalpindi", is a dry chickpea curry that is unbelievably simple and very flavorful. This recipe uses just ginger and green chillies from the vegetable family and the flavor-part comes mostly from the fresh spice powder made with whole spices like dried pomegranate seeds, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon etc. Apparently, this recipe gained its popularity during the Indo-Pakistan war times when there was limited access to vegetables. 

I am using dried pomegranate seeds and black cardamom for the first time in cooking and am totally in love with all the finger-licking flavors that the spices created. Just like any other recipe, you can find umpteen versions of "authentic" pindi channa out there in the internet, but this one I thought really stood up to its authenticity. Though I haven't tasted pindi channa before, I believe this is how an authentic pindi channa should taste. For variation, you may use onion/tomatoes or make this curry into a gravy, but the recipe tastes best without vegetables and when dry.

When I first came across this recipe, my blogging instincts immediately started to look for alternatives for dried pomegranate seeds and black cardamom. The soury/tangy flavor from dried pomegranate seeds and the smoky bold flavors of black cardamom is truly irreplaceable. In short there are no alternatives and even if you come across one, PLEASE do not use it, for I do not want you to miss the original flavors.

Though the original recipe suggests using white chickpeas / kabuli channa, I have used the smaller darker variety. The original recipe also suggests that cooking in an iron cast/skillet gives chickpeas its characteristic dark color. The recipe might be a little too spicy for kids but rightly spiced for adults, so adjust to your liking.

Serve this protein-rich dry curry with poori/any Indian flatbread for a delicious filling meal.

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 8-10 hrs
Cook time - 30 mins
Serves - 2-3
Recipe source - mmskitchenbites

Spice Powder
Anardana/ Dried Pomegranate seeds - 2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1.5 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cloves - 5
Black Cardamom - 1
Cinnamon - 1”
Black peppercorns - 10-12
Salt to taste

Chickpeas - 3/4 cup, black or white variety
Bayleaf - 1
Cloves - 2
Black Cardamom - 1
Cinnamon - 1”
Black peppercorns - 4
Salt to taste
Water - 1.5 cups

Oil - 3 tbsp
Green Chilies - 5, slit vertically
Fresh Ginger - 2 tbsp, finely grated/shredded/julienned

Dry roast all the ingredients given under "Spice Powder", cool and then grind into fine powder.

Wash and soak channa overnight. On the following day, drain, wash and pressure cook channa in 1.5 cups of water along with the whole spices given under "Channa" and salt. I pressure cooked for 4 whistles, 2 on high and 2 on medium heat, but if you are using white chickpeas 2 whistles on high would be just enough. Let it cool and drain the cooked channa. Discard the whole spices but reserve the water.

Heat oil in a kadhai, fry green chillies, ginger till golden and crisp. Add cooked channa, spice powder and mix well. Adjust salt, add 1/2 - 3/4 cups of reserved water, cover & cook for about 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and cook until the channa reaches the consistency you want – ideally dry.

Serve with poori or roti.


  1. Lovely post! Full of information about your flavourful recipes :)
    Thanks very much for sharing!
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