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The Channa Masala or Chole

Channa Masala does not include chicken, but it is a Pakistani and Northern India classic that is easy to make and well worth mentioning. In Pakistan, during the muslim month of Lent, or Ramadan, the people become more focused and aware of their Islamic values. Mosques are packed at every prayer, Pakistani TV channels interrupt their usual programming for special Ramadan shows.

The fast is broken by a date or water; 3 hours before iftar or the evening dinner during Ramadan, preparations begin in houses and street stalls; some restaurants even offer a special menu for iftar. The iftar is usually a hearty meal in pakistan, with savory dishes such as jalebi, chicken rolls, samosas or pakoras; and the Channa Masala curry is frequently featured, to make up for the fasting during the day. The very sweet Rooh Afza drink, is also typically appreciated during Ramadan in Pakistan. Then there is also the Laghman soup, refered to as Kalli in Pakistan which is a dish also frequently served during the month of Ramadan.

Ingredients (for four guests):

* 2 cans chickpeas
* 2 onions, finely chopped
* 1 tsp grated ginger
* 1 clove garlic, to be pressed in
* 2 green peppers seeded and chopped
* 1 teaspoon turmeric
* 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 ripe tomatoes, finely diced
* 1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
* 3 teaspoons garam masala
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice
* 3 teaspoons chopped coriander
* A few sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped; save a few leaves for garnish


1) Drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid from the can

2) Fry the onion, ginger, garlic, chillies and turmeric in oil until ramollis. Add the tomatoes in.

3) When the tomatoes have started to melt, add the cilantro and chickpeas; simmer for 10 minutes, add one cup of reserved liquid from chickpeas cans.

4) Mix in the garam masala, lemon juice and the coriander.

Cook 2-3 minutes, adding more liquid if necessary, this dish is meat to be served with a sauce.

Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with rice.