Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chana Bateta - Chickpeas and Potato in Tamarind Sauce

If you ever happen to be in India, outside a Bohra pilgrimage place, you will likely spot a stall with chickpeas and potatoes simmering on the stove, stationed closely would be suspicious looking neon red liquid, a deep brown tamarind sauce and chopped red onions. On placing an order, the vendor wearing his rugged topi (a white and golden threaded Bohra cap) takes an earthenware bowl from the tall stack and ladles in heaps of chickpeas and potatoes. He will ask you if you liked it spicy, and even though the thoughts of the burning sensation crosses the mind, it is inevitable to answer - yes.

My favourite has to be the vendor in my own town or the one found in Mumbai. They both have different approach to it. The former adds red chilly liquid and tamarind followed by fresh sprinkling of chopped coriander. The one is Mumbai adorns his with fresh chopped onions, diced tomatoes and sprinkle of red chilly powder along with tamarind sauce.

In my town, you have to be at the stall before the afternoon onset as in no time he is sold out. And then it would be another day long wait till you get any chana bateta.  A day without his legendary sweet, spicy and tangy concoction of chickpeas and potatoes is a vacation fail. It meant you couldn't call your cousins abroad and tell them how they are missing out on life's best pleasures and that they should have after all joined you for the holidays to enjoy all that street food. I think life as an expat can be pretty exciting that way, having friends and relatives all over the world, talking endlessly about food we crave back from the country.

Black chickpeas are best in this recipe but white garbanzo are preferred by some. Soaking the chickpeas overnight is best and pressure cooking them certainly cuts down the time considerably but in a pinch, and really just when life's a little to mad at you or vice versa, a can of chickpeas would work.

Chana Bateta -  Chickpeas and Potato in Tamarind Sauce
Serves 5-6

1 ½ - 2 cup black chickpeas (kala chana) or regular chickpeas
½ kg potatoes 
4 tbsp chickpeas flour (besan)
½ tsp turmeric powder 
1 tsp red chili powder 
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
4 tbsp oil
½ tbsp ginger garlic paste
2-3 green chilies 
3 ½ cup water
¼ cup tamarind chutney
1/4 cup coriander leaves
Salt to taste
For garnish
Chopped  mint leaves
Red chilly powder 
Chopped coriander leaves
Chopped onions 
Boil the chickpeas and potatoes separately and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add the ginger garlic paste and the spices.
Tip in the besan and keep whisking it to ensure it doesn't’t burn. Look for cooked besan aroma (about 2 minutes) and then add the water. Whisk to remove any lumps and let the mixture come to a boil.
Add the boiled chickpeas and the let it reduce to a slightly thick gravy.
Add the potatoes and coriander leaves.
Add the tamarind chutney and adjust the sourness to desire.
Garnish with coriander leaves, mint leaves , sprinkle of red chili powder and onions.



  1. Scrumptious and comforting! The kind of dish I could eat on a weekly/daily basis.



  2. This sounds perfect! I freaking love lentils.

  3. Perfect! Brings back memories of my childhood!

  4. I guess I ate something like this during my Pune days. Really yummy...with warm buttered pav on the side. I am drooling as I write this :)

  5. I was just wondering what to do with the black chickpeas in the cupboard. I don't have any chutney but I think it will still be good. Maybe I can do something with plain tamarind.

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  7. OOh how divine. I would eat this with fresh baturas. I simply love tangy channa!

  8. oooooh this sounds like the perfect late winter meal. YUM!

  9. Hi Kulsum, I had been a silent visitor here for some time and love your recipes as well as photography. Tried this Chana Bateta yesterday and it turned out very well. Even my fussy eater husband who normally won't go for a potato-chickpea combination loved it :) Thank you for a fantastic recipe.

    1. Thank you so much Priya! Your post looks beautiful :)

  10. Hi kulthum! Fantastic recipe. Made twice in the week.


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