Chana Madra – They Don’t Cook It Anymore

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We are becoming moderns, at the cost of the culture though. And, unfortunately, even the hills have started to feel the heat as we are forgetting our heritage that once took shape in our attire, attitude and ood.

We are particularly referring to a traditional recipe from Himachal Cuisine, Chana Madra, which is on the verge of extinction. Once a favourite food of Himachalis, especially in the Kangra valley, it is now only cooked on special occasions like marriages and that’s too in limited areas. And that’s a hint how the lifestyle in the region is changing fast.

Chana Madra is fat-rich food, cooked with dollops of ghee and yogurt which makes it quite an unhealthy food. But then question arises how does it suddenly became unhealthy when our forefathers were relishing it since ages.

The reason is simple. Himachalis, traditionally, were hard-working people who had to work hard to make their living. In addition, the tough geographical conditions required rigorous physical movement which increased their fat requirement and probably that’s why such fat-rich recipes from Himchal Cuisine would have been invented.

But nowadays, the life has become comparatively simpler and physical activity levels have significantly reduced and in such a scenario such recipes have lost their relevance. Though we know, it is difficult to revive this recipe, there may be people and chefs from the state who can serve it to coming generation as Olive Madra or some other so-called healthy versions.

Meanwhile, we are sharing with you the original recipe as it was cooked in the households on those chilly evenings, using the terminology they used. Maybe, you can try its micro portions. 


  • 150 gram Desi ghee
  • Jeera seeds, red chilli, coriander powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Garam masala
  • 250 gram dahi (yogurt)
  • Boiled chhole 


  1. Add 150 gram ghee (desi ghee preferred) in a kadai (pan)
  2. Add some jeera seeds.
  3. Then add some red chilli, coriander powder, turmeric powder and garam masala
  4. Now add yogurt
  5. Allow it to cook until water dries
  6. Now add boiled chhole and cook it for 15 minutes
  7. Make sure you stir it and don’t let the contents stick to the base
  8. Now add 400 ml water.
  9. Allow it to boil on low flame for 20 minutes
  10. Serve and enjoy


Photo Courtesy: Eatopian Chronicles

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