This vegetarian dish epitomises most of what one imagines about Indian
cooking. It is full of flavour, and the spice-level can be finely tuned. I
believe I make this dish the way everyone else makes it, but I could be
wrong on that score.
- 3 medium-sized onions
- Green chillies (5-6 of the tiny ones, fewer if they're bigger)
Jeera - one flat tablespoonful
Dhania - one heaped teaspoonful
- Cinnamon sticks - 2 or 3
- Cloves - 5 or 6
- Garlic - 5 or 6 cloves
- Ginger - a third of a finger
- Turmeric powder - a pinch
- Soak the chana in water for 3-4 hours.
- Chop the garlic, ginger, onions and chillies into coarse chunks.
- Heat up some oil and when it is hot, brown the jeera and the dhania.
Add, in order, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, chillies and onions.
Agitate the mixture till the onions get a bit soft. You may also add salt.
Add chilli powder if you want it really spicy. Add the turmeric too.
- Put all of the above in a food processor and finely grate it, or make
a paste out of it. Adding some water helps.
- When done, heat up a little more oil and dump the paste in it. Cook on
medium high so that the onions get done.
- In the meanwhile, if you have soaked the chana, pressure cook it till
it gets squashed when pressed, but remains firm otherwise. If this process
sounds cumbersome, just get a can of chana and drain out the water after
- When the onions smell semi-cooked, add the chana. Add water to make a
loose paste. Heat on low to medium heat for half an hour or so.