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Friday, 31 January 2020

Chainsoo / Uttarakhand Style Black Gram Recipe

Chainsoo is a traditional Garhwali delicacy , a simple yet flavorful lentil (black gram) preparation from North Indian State of Uttarakhand. This protein rich dish is very different in texture and taste from the usual boiled kali urad dal as it is cooked by roasting the lentils and then grinding it to a powder, which is then cooked with a few basic Indian spices like black pepper, red chilies and garlic in an iron pot on low flame giving it an earthy taste and aroma. Black gram Chainsoo topped with ghee is a winter food for the pahari people of Uttaranchal and can be paired with some steamed rice or roti.

Uttarakhand: Uttarakhand formerly known as Uttaranchal is a state in the northern part of India. It is popularly referred as " Dev Bhoomi" owing to the numerous Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres found throughout the state. Uttarakhand became the 27th state of Republic India in the year 2000. Dehradun is the largest city of Uttarakhand and its capital as well. The  natural beauty of the state with snow capped mountains, high Himalayan peaks and glaciers, deep valleys, lush green forests and large rivers is mesmerizing and  will make you spell bound for sure.

Food of Uttarakhand:

Uttarakhand Cuisine is simple yet flavorful and nutritious. Made from locally grown ingredients it uses very basic spices .Uttarakhand cuisine comprises of cuisines from its two regions, Garhwal and Kumaon. Lentils, wheat, buck wheat, barley  and local seasonal greens are used extensively in cooking. The food of Uttarakhand is both palate pleasing and full of nutrition. The food is mostly cooked over slow flame imparting an earthy flavor to it. Some of the famous traditional dishes of Uttarakhand include Kafuli/Kapa - a healthy dish made from leafy greens like spinach, fenugreek and lai(alternative of mustard leaf), Baadi- a nutritious dish made from buck wheat flour, Rus/Thhatwani -A slow cooked lentil based stock that is served with rice, Jhangore ki Kheer, a scrumptious millet dessert, Phaanu - a native lentil dish served typically for lunch, Chainsoo - a delectable protein rich dish made from roasted and ground black gram. Aaloo ke Gutke- a simple potato dish with roasted and ground spices served on festive occasions with poori.

The related Event: 

I made this protein rich, Chainsoo as my contribution towards the food from the North Indian state of Uttarakhans. It is month end, and the time for my regional Indian post for our Facebook group, Shhhhh cooking secretly challenge, started by Priya of  Priya's versatile recipes and atken further till date by Mayuri di who blogs at Mayuris Jikoni. In this group, each month we select an Indian state depending upon the alphabetical order and partners are assigned for the challenge. The chosen partners then exchange a set of ingredients among themselves and cook a dish with it from the regional cuisine of that month. The other group members who are not aware of the secret ingredients, then take turns to guess the ingredients just by looking at the pic of the dish. Doesn't this all sound interesting !

My partner for the theme was Kalyani Sri who blogs at Sizzling Taste Buds. Kalyani gave me Black gram and mustard oil as my two secret ingredients and i made this delicious Chainsoo using the ingredients. In return i gave her ginger and sesame seeds and she prepared a soulful Uttarakhand delicacy using the set of ingredients. 

What goes in this Chainsoo?

As mentioned above Chainsoo is a Garhwali dish which is very unique in its preparation style as it is  prepared by roasting the black gram ( kali urad dal) and then making a powder of it, which is further allowed to slow cook in basic spices in an iron pan until done. I have referred Chef Ajay Chopra's recipe where apart from black gram, a small quantity of black eyed beans is also added. The percentage of lobia beans to black gram is 30:70. The dry roasted beans are powdered in a grinder jar to obtain a coarse powder. A mustard oil tempering is done with minced garlic, cumin seeds, asafoetida, black pepper corns and dry red chilies. Ground dal is added to it and further seasoned with coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt. Water is added to this mixture and cover cooked on low flame for around 30 minutes or until the dal is well cooked. Lastly garam masala is sprinkled over the cooked chainsoo and it is topped with generous amount of ghee before serving. So let's get started.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 1//2 cup split black gram / kali urad dal
  • 2 tablespoon lobia beans/ black eyed beans
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 2-3 dried red chilies
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida (skip for a gluten free version)
  • 10-12 black pepper corns
  • 6-7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1-2 tablespoon ghee to serve ( skip for a vegan version)
  1. In a wok, preferably iron one, dry roast the black gram and lobia beans for 3-5 minutes. You will get a lovely aroma while you roast the lentils. Do not over do it. Put off the flame, transfer the roasted lentil to a grinder jar and make a coarse powder of it. 

2. In the same pan heat mustard oil to smoking point. Let it cool down a bit, now add cumin seeds, asafoetida, black pepper corns and broken dry red chilies. Let the spices sizzle in oil for few seconds before adding the minced garlic to it.

3. Sautee the garlic for around 30 seconds to 1 minute. Now add the powdered lentil and stir fry for a minute or so. Now, add coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt to taste. Give a good mix and add around 2 cups of water giving a good stir.

4. Cover cook the dal on low flame for around 30 minutes or until its is well cooked and mushy.

5. Lastly sprinkle garam masala over the cooked chainsoo. Mix it well and put off the flame. Top the hot chainsoo with a generous amount of ghee and serve with steamed rice or roti.

Recipe Notes:
  • I have followed this recipe from a cookery show by Chef Ajay Chopra.
  • I would recommend not to skip the ghee while serving chainsoo if you are looking for the authentic taste. However, you may omit its use for a vegan version.
  • The dish as such is gluten free if you do not add the asafoetida/ hing in tempering.
  • Chainsoo is protein rich and a filling dish. It is regarded as difficult to digest, so have it in moderation.
  • Adjust the spices as per your spice tolerance.
I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.
For more dal recipes, do check out the following from this blog:

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Matar Karanji Recipe

Matar Karanji is a delicious winter delicacy from Maharashtrian Cuisine. This savory gujiya made using seasonal fresh green peas is an irresistible tea time snack. A flavorful filling is made with green peas , fresh coconut and aromatic spices. I have replaced maida (refined flour )with whole wheat flour to make the outer pockets. The stuffed green peas dumpling so formed is then deep fried until golden brown and crisp. This matar karanji recipe is vegan and onion-garlic free. It tastes good on its own and can be paired with ketchup or any dip of your choice. I have served the matar karanji with lip smacking Khajur Imli Ki chutney / dates and tamarind dip and masala chai.

What is Karanji ?

Karanji is a traditional Maharashtrian fried sweet dumpling made on special occasions like Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi. It is some what similar to North Indian dish - Gujiya. The sweet karanji is usually stuffed with a mixture of sweetened coconut or sweetened khoya and dry fruits. The outer covering is usually made with refined flour, suji and ghee. There is another variation called pudachi karanji which is a layered gujiya. Savory karanji can also be made by stuffing spiced veggies.

What goes into this Matar Karanji ?

Matar Karanji is a winter delicacy made using fresh green peas. I make this karanji twice or thrice every winter. Matar Usal is another green peas curry to enjoy the seasons fresh produce. To make the stuffing of matar karanji, fresh scrapped coconut is added to tempered fresh green peas along with aromatic spices like asafoetida, cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Green chilies, ginger, cumin coriander powder and garam masala spice up the stuffing. A bit of sugar, lemon juice and fresh coriander leaves make the green peas stuffing all the more flavorful. The outer covering of karanji is usually made with pastry flour. Here, i have replaced maida with whole wheat flour. Little semolina is added to the whole wheat flour along with salt to taste. Hot oil is added to the flour and incorporated well with the flour to give it a bread crumb like texture. A stiff dough is then kneaded which is allowed to rest for around 30 minutes before shaping it to karanji. Small balls are pinched from the dough and rolled out to a small disc. around 2 tablespoon of the matar stuffing is placed at the center of the disc and then it is shaped into half moon shape. The edges are sealed using some water and shaped artistically to make the karanji. This stuffed dumpling is then deep fried in hot oil on low flame until it is crisp and golden brown from all sides.


This Maharashtrian style Matar Karanji is a crowd pleaser for sure. I made it recently for my Sankranti Haldi Kumkum gathering and everyone loved it . Below is the spread i served to all the married women who were invited for the occasion.The spread had Vegetable Kuzhi PaniyaramCoconut ChutneyTomato SoupWhole Wheat NankhataiBanana Muffins and Tilgul ladoo apart from these matar karanji.

Green Peas:

Green peas are one of the most nutritious leguminous vegetables. Fresh tender peas are low in calories and are good sources of protein, vitamins, and soluble as well as insoluble fiber. Fresh pods are excellent sources of folic acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and many other essential B complex vitamins. Furthermore, they are rich sources of many minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese.

Savory Affair @ Healthy Wealthy Cuisines

I am apart of a Facebook gourmet group, Healthy Wealthy Cuisine wherein participating bloggers share recipes every fortnight on a pre-decided themes. Savory affair is the current theme suggested by Shalu Jain who is a wonderful person and a versatile food blogger. I am in love with her food styling and food photography. For this theme, she wanted us to share recipes of savory snacks which are generally served at tea time. Winter season is at its peak and i could not think anything better than these delicious matar karnjis that go perfectly with some masala chai on a winter evening. If you have not yet tasted this Maharashtrian winter delicacy, you should to try out this matar karanji recipe before the fresh green peas disappear from the markets.

Checkout the following contributions by my fellow bloggers on this theme


Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 10-12 matar karanji

Ingredients: Measurements used 1 cup = 250 ml

For the outer covering of karanji
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2-3 tablespoon fine semolina
  • 2-3 tablespoon hot oil
  • Salt to taste
For the stuffing
  • 1 cup fresh green peas
  • 1/4 cup fresh coconut, scrapped
  • 2- 3 green chilies
  • 1/2 inch ginger 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon oil + for deep frying
  • Pinch of asafoetida / hing
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
Method :
  1. To begin with making the matar karanji, we will start with kneading the dough for the outer covering of the karanji. For that, in a mixing bowl, take whole wheat flour. Add semolina/suji and salt to taste. Mix well. Now heat 2 tablespoon oil and add the hot oil to the flour. Mix it well so that the oil incorporates well with the flour. The flour should appear like bread crumbs. This step of adding hot oil makes the outer covering crisp and flaky.

2. To this flour, add water little at a time and knead the flour into a semi stiff dough.  Cover the dough with a moist muslin cloth and allow it to rest for around 30 minutes.

3. While our dough is resting, we will prepare the green peas filling. For that, heat 2 tablespoon oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and fennel seeds to it. Once the seeds sizzle, add in asafoetida, followed by the green chili and ginger paste to it. Saute for few seconds. Now lower the flame and add the turmeric powder, garam masala and cumin coriander powder. Stir fry the spices in the oil for around 30 seconds before adding the fresh scrapped coconut to it.

4. Stir the masala well. Now tip in the fresh green peas and saute it with the coconut masala for about 1-2 minutes. Now, add sugar and salt and cover cook for 5-7 minutes or until the peas are soft and tender. Stir the mix in between so that it does not catch the bottom. You may add around 1-2 tablespoon of water if required to the peas while cooking.

5. Once the peas are done through, garnish the matar stuffing with fresh coriander leaves and season it with lemon juice. Put off the flame . Mildly mash the stuffing with a potato masher and allow it cook down completely.

6. After the resting time, knead the dough again for 1-2 minutes. Pinch out small portions of the dough and make equal lemon sized balls out of it. Roll out each dough ball using a rolling pin to a poori size disc. Do not apply oil or flour while rolling out the dough. Place 1-2 tablespoon stuffing in the center of the disc. Brush the edges of the dough disc with water and give it a half moon shape. Seal the edges and cut the karanji with a cutter or shape it in a karanji maker (mould). You may alternatively, give artistic shape to the karanji by pleating the edges or pressing the edges with a fork as shown in the picture below.

7. Make a batch of 4-5 karanjis at a time and then proceed towards frying. You may shape all the karanjis first and deep fry them together. If doing so, make sure you keep the shaped karanjis and the dough covered in a muslin cloth so that they do not dry out.

8. Heat enough oil in a small kadhai (frying wok). Once the oil is hot, tip in 2-3 karanji into it. Do not over crowd while frying. Lower the flame and deep fry the matar karanji until it turns crisp and golden brown from all sides.

9. Remove the karnjis with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on an absorbent sheet. Deep fry all the karanji similarly.

10. Serve the crisp and flaky matar karanjis at tea time on its own or with some dip of your choice. I have served them with masala chai and khajur imli chutney.


Recipe Notes:
  • Matar karanji is typically made during winter season using fresh green peas. However, you may enjoy this delicacy whole year round using frozen peas.
  • You may add some boiled potatoes also along with green peas to make the stuffing as a variation.
  • Lemon juice can be replaced with amchur powder.
  • You may adjust the quantity of spices and green chilies used here as per your spice tolerance.
  • Make sure the dough is rested for atleast 30 minutes before making the karanji and the stuffing is cooled completely before shaping the karanji.
  • Deep fry the karanjis in hot oil on low flame so that they become crisp and flaky.
  • The matar stuffing can also be had as a flavorful side dish with hot pooris or in sandwiches , samosa or kachoris.
  • This is an onion garlic free dish, however you may add minced garlic and finely chopped onions if you wish to.
I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.

If you are looking for more green peas recipes, do check out the following: