Chana Madra/Chickpeas in Yoghurt Gravy

What is Chana Madra?

Chana Madra is a chickpea and yoghurt based mild curry from the state of Himachal Pradesh. It’s easy, flavorful, and does not involve too many ingredients. There are quite a few versions available for this. The recipe I am going to share with you all is my take on Chana Madra. My family loves it and I love how easy it is to make this dish. I serve this with bread /baguettes or sometimes with rice.

Can You Make the Yoghurt Gravy a Little Thick?

Absolutely. Traditionally, rice flour/rice is mixed in chana madra to make the gravy thick. I love a little soupy consistency so I only used a little. If you want, you can definitely make it thick.

My Story Behind Chana Madra

Long back, when our son was just one year old, we visited Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Let me tell you, it was a hot Indian summer and since Shimla is easily accessible from Delhi, the capital of India, it was super crowded. If you have ever visited the tourist places in their season, you can totally understand the point I am trying to raise here.

Anyways we had amazing fun; the food was delicious and the last day, my husband suggested that we should have this traditional Himachali thali from a very famous place. So as agreed upon, in the evening we left for the place, and let me tell you- Shimla is hilly place, and no road is flat and for the people of plains like us, it was a nightmare. So that evening, my son, who was cooperating very nicely suddenly got cranky and was not ready to sit on the stroller. Boy, you know how hard it is to convince little kids and then he just wanted to stay in my lap. I was on the very thin side at that time and carrying a baby on those hills was almost impossible.

Somehow, we managed it. So, you may ask why I am telling you this story. Well, that evening we had chana madra first time. We loved the simplicity of the flavors. Later at home, we developed a recipe which we loved. Last night, when I made Chana Madra, I remembered to click a few pics and write the ingredients. I am sure you will also love this like our family does.

Can You Store Chana Madra?

Absolutely. You can store it in freezer safe containers / microwave safe containers and keep it in the fridge or freezer for 2-3 days. You can have them after re-heating. If you like clarified butter / ghee, just add a spoonful. It will make your bowl super comforting and fresh.

Ingredients Needed for the Making of Chana Madra

1.Chickpeas– We need boiled chickpeas. I soak and dry chickpeas overnight and then boil it. Sometimes, I boil chickpeas in the instant pot without soaking; however, it takes a little extra time. You can certainly use canned ones. They are easy to use and instant. I always suggest everyone to rinse the canned beans since they have a lot of salt. Discarding the the liquid and rinsing under running tap water is the best solution.

2.Yoghurt- In this recipe, we are using plain yoghurt to make the gravy. You can use any type of plain yoghurt. Flavored ones will not work in this recipe and they will ruin the taste.

3.Different Types of Whole Garam Masala /Spices- We are using a few different types of whole garam masala which you can get from any Indian Store, Amazon, or ethnic store.

4.All Purpose Flour and Rice Flour– You can get it from Amazon or any Indian grocery store.

What to Serve With Chana Madra-

You can serve Veg Fried Rice, white rice, or any Indian flat bread with this. Sometimes, I like to have this with just a few slices of bread or any kind of bun.

Can we make Chana Madra Vegan?

Yes.Use coconut milk for vegan alternative .Chickpea curry will still be delicious.

Chana Madra / Chickpeas in Yoghurt Gravy

Chickpeas simmered in a flavorful yoghurt sauce.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian Cuisine.
Servings 4


  • 1 Cup Chickpeas
  • 1 Cup Yoghurt
  • 2 Tbsp Ghee/Oil of your choice(You can reduce the quantity to one tbsp )if you want.
  • 1 Tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 Dry red Chillies
  • Pinch of asafoetida(optional)
  • 1 1 inch Cinnamon
  • 2 Black Cardamom
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 10-12 Cashew Nuts.
  • 1/2 Tsp Sugar
  • Salt according to the taste
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro for garnish.
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Flour


  • Rinse the chickpeas in fresh water and boil chickpeas in 4 cups of water .Add 1 tbsp of salt in it.Boil it on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  • The texture of peas should be soft ,then only you will be able to feel that melt in mouth chana madra.
  • Take a pan .Add ghee to it .Heat it .
  • Add cumin seeds ,cinnamon ,cloves and black cardamom and Cashew to it . Saute it for 1-2 minute,till spices crackle and cashews turn light brown.
  • Take a big bowl .Add yoghurt ,turmeric powder,red chilli powder ,asafoetida,coriander powder,cumin powder and rice flour to it .
  • Whisk it well to make it lump free.
  • Add this yoghurt mixture to the pan .Keep the flame really slow and stir it continously to stop it from curdling.
  • Add chickpeas with all the boiled water to it .Let it boil for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add salt after tasting the gravy .Do not add before tasting the grave .Add just a little at a time.
  • Curry will thicken a little after boiling for 4-5 minutes.If the consistency is good for your liking switch off the flame.If its thin let it boil for 1-2 minute more.
  • Garnish with some fresh cilantro leaves.
  • Serve with rice ,bread or just like that.
  • Enjoy.
Keyword Chana Madra, Chickpeas in yoghurt gravy, Easy Chana Madra, Himachali Chana Madra

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