Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bhatura and Chana Masala Curry

Chana, chole, chickpeas, garbanzo beans...ahh, the many names for this nutritious bean.
The garbanzo bean or chana/chole, as it is known in India is such a champion, hearty legume. And the dish I bring to you today is one I was introduced to when I lived in India. I first had the chana masala with bhatura, a crispy-soft ,deep fried bread, in Cochin, a city near my hometown. It was love at first bite.

The light golden, oversized dough puff, paired with the spicy, slightly tangy curry--oh yes, my tastebuds were singing!  This is sort of an express( express on time, not on taste) chana curry, using canned garbanzo beans, instead of the dried beans soaked overnight.

Traditionally, bhatura is made from a yeasty dough, using either yeast or combinations of baking soda , baking powder. Here I've used boiled potatoes, mashed with a smidge of a teaspoon of baking powder to achieve a similar conclusion. The result is a wonderfully delectable pairing adapted from the popular Punjabi dish.

Hopefully your tastebuds, too, will sing after trying my version of the bhatura and chana masala curry.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 medium potatoes, boiled, drained and mashed
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp oil
  • *2 cups canola or peanut oil or enough for deep frying 
The oil bath.
  • Sift and mix your flour , baking powder and salt, sugar.
  • Add in the potatoes to the dry mixture, mix well with your hands.
  • Combine yogurt, 1 tsp oil and incorporate all ingredients.
  •  Either with your hands or with a food processor  (what I use) start kneading the dough.
  • Knead until you get a smooth dough ball.
  • Keep the dough covered and aside for at least 45 minutes.
  • Divide the dough and roll into individual 1 inch balls.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball into a circle of about 5 inch diameter and 1/4 inch width. Keep aside.
  • *Heat oil.
  • Add your bhaturas one by one, and deep fry on moderate heat until golden brown on each side.
Makes about 20 bhaturas.
Once you set aside the dough to rest , make your chana masala while waiting...scroll further down and you'll find the recipe.


Peanut, sunflower, canola are good oils for deep frying as they have high smoke points.
If using a deep fry thermometer, the oil temperature should register between 350- 365 degrees.

Chana Masala:
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • I cinnamon stick 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
  • *1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • *1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp juice of a lemon
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro 

  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Turn to moderate heat and add in your cinnamon stick.
  • Add chopped onion, saute until translucent.
  • Mix in ginger, garlic, jalapeno and saute for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in the spices from the cayenne to the turmeric. Saute.
  • Mix in your tomatoes.
  • Combine everything and saute for 3 minutes or until the oil separates and tomatoes cook down.
  • Add hot water and garbanzo beans.
  • Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Season with salt and garam masala.
  • Take off heat.
  • Add the lemon juice and stir well.
  • Pat on your butter.
  • Top with the cilantro.  

If you haven't experienced this dish before or want to test some Indian flavors , I urge you to give it a try and let me know how it goes ! And for those of you who do know how the flavor plates out, give this version a go. Enjoy!
Some more notes:

If you don't like too much heat, reduce the amount of cayenne or substitute with paprika.
Garam masala is an Indian blend of ground spices.You can find this blend of spices at an Indian/Asian grocer or the spices aisle at many local supermarkets.

 While kneading for bhatura, add warm water by tablespoons if the dough does not pull into a smooth ball. 

When I'm pressed for time I actually cook the potatoes in the microwave. I then peel the skins off and mash them to add into the flour mix.

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