Punjabi Chana Masala (Garbanzo Beans Curry)

Food habits across India are evolving. When I interact with my South Indian friends and relatives, they invariably want North Indian food. During occasions like eating out or on days when they feel like a special treat. The youngsters prefer North Indian cuisine over the South Indian one. Amongst my North Indian friends, there is a huge fascination for South Indian food. I have been asked several times, by my South Indian friends and relatives, for the Punjabi Chana Masala recipe. Let me finally fulfill this request. This is a spicy dish from Punjab, but not necessarily chili hot.

2 cups garbanzo beans
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 medium sized tomato, chopped fine
2-3 green chillies, chopped
1″ piece ginger, grated
1 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
2 cloves (laung, kirambu)
2″ piece cinnamon (dalchini, lavangathu pattai)
1 black cardamom (badi elaichi, periya elakkai)
3-4 black pepper corns (sabut kali mirch, kuru milagu)
1 bay leaf (tej patta, birinji elai)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp chana masala
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp dried mango powder (amchur, mangai podi)
Salt to taste
Wash and soak the garbanzo beans overnight
Ensure you add sufficient water as the beans tend to absorb a lot of water
Heat a pressure cooker and add cumin seeds, asafoetida, cloves, cinnamon, black cardamom, pepper corns and bay leaf
Roast for about 15 seconds, but do not burn the spices
Next, add ginger, green chillies and onion
Saute till the onion is translucent
Add chana masala, garam masala, turmeric powder, chilli powder, dried mango powder and salt
Continue to saute for a couple of minutes
Add tomato
Continue to saute till the tomato is well done
Add garbanzo beans and 3 cups water
Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook on high flame for one whistle
Turn the flame to low and continue cooking for about 30 minutes
Turn flame off and let the steam release
Open lid and simmer for about 4-5 minutes to thicken the gravy (the consistency should neither be too thick nor too thin)
If the consistency is too thin, add a little more water and continue to cook till the gravy thickens
Remove from flame
Garnish, if desired, with onion slices or coriander leaves
Serve hot with Indian breads

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