Chickpeas and Chana Dal Cooked Together in a Mint Sauce (Paraati Chana) India

Here is a perfect stewlike dish for large gatherings or a family get-together. This Punjabi speciality is sold in the streets of North India and people stop to buy a plate as Americans might stop for a hot dog. It is served from a large round, high-sided tray known as a paraat — hence it is known as paraati chana. Decorating the edges are whold green chiles and wedges of limes and onions. The chana dal in the dish melts, providing the larger chickpeas with a lovely, spicy sauce that is best sopped up with Indian breads or Middle Eastern flatbreads such as pita. If you cannot easily get the exquisitely flavored Indian yellow split chickpea known as chana dal, use ordinary yellow split peas. 

This is generally eaten as a snack but it could easily be served at a meal with breads, vegetables, and a yogurt dish.

From page 35 of Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian.


1.5 cups dried chickpeas, picked over, washed, and drained

3/4 cups chana dal or yellow split peas, picked over, washed, and drained

1 tbs peeled and finely chopped garlic

1 tbs finely chopped ginger

fresh hot green chiles, finely chopped

1 cup mint leaves, packed, washed, and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup peanut or canola oil

medium onions, finely chopped

1/2 lb very ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2.5 tsp salt

1.5 tsp ground coriander

1.5 tsp ground cumin

0.5 tsp garam masala

3 tbs thick tamarind paste or fresh lemon juice to taste


1. Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water to cover by about 5 inches.  Drain, discarding the soaking liquid.  

2. In a large pot, bring the chickpeas and 7 cups of water to a boil.  Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 1 hour.  Skim off any chickpea skins that may be floating on the top.  Add the chana dal or split peas to the pot, cover, and continue simmering for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the chickpeas and chana dal are tender.  Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, green chiles, and mint leaves in the container of a blender.  Add 6 to 8 tablespoons of water as needed and blend, pushing down the mixture with a rubber spatula several times, until pureed.  Set the minty mixture aside.

4. Heat the oil in a wide, medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and stir and fry until they are a rich, reddish brown.  Add the tomatoes.  Stir and cook until the tomatoes reduce and darken and the oil begins to show at the sides of the pan.  Add the green spice paste and stir over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  Add the chickpeas and their cooking liquid, then stir in the salt, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and tamarind paste, mixing thoroughly.  Cover, lower the heat, and simmer gently for 30 minutes.  Serve hot.


Serves 6 to 8


Meal   DinnerCuisine   Indian
Dish   Main DishCooking Method   Sauteed
Main Ingredient   Beans/LegumesStyle   One Dish Meals
Prep Time   less than 15 minutesCooking Time   more than 2 hours
Features   Dairy-Free, High-Fiber, Vegan, Vegetarian
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