Jaisalmeri Kala Chana| Rajasthani Black Chickpeas Curry

Thinking about the state of Rajasthan conjures up mental images of caravans of camels walking through the arid desert, the most gorgeous of old-world havelis, serene lakes, bazaars filled with colourful goodies which would bring joy to any shopper’s heart. I’ve never had a chance to visit, but I’ve dreamt about it oh, so many times. I’ve also had the pleasure of trying out many of the wonderful indigenous dishes Rajasthan boasts of, here in Bangalore, and can’t wait to explore them in their homeland itself. This Jaisalmeri Kala Chana is one such dish exclusive to Rajasthan, which hails from a place called Jaisalmer.

Thanks to the extreme weather conditions in Rajasthan most part of the year, the state’s cuisine comprises of a number of dishes using sun-dried fritters (vadi), gram flour (besan), sour curd, dried pulses and lentils. This Jaisalmeri Kala Chana recipe is also one such – dried black chickpeas are cooked and then simmered in a sour curd gravy, thickened with besan, to make this delicious confection.

I recently prepared Jaisalmeri Kala Chana for lunch, and it went on to be hugely appreciated by the family. It is a very, very simple thing to make, but utterly delish and comforting, a lovely side to rotis and/or steamed rice. Full of the nutrition of black chickpeas too!

Let me now tell you how to go about making this beauty of a thing.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1/2 cup black chickpeas (chana)
  2. About 2 cups thick sour curd
  3. About 2 heaped tablespoons gram flour (besan)
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Red chilli powder to taste
  6. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder

For the tempering:

  1. 1/2 tablespoon ghee
  2. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  3. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  4. 4-5 dry red chillies
  5. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  6. A pinch of fenugreek seeds
  7. 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves (optional)
  8. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

For the garnishing:

  1. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander


1. Soak the black chickpeas in just enough water to cover them, for 8-10 hours or overnight.

2. When the chickpeas are done soaking, discard the water they were soaked in. Transfer them to a wide vessel and add in just enough water to cover them. Place in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for about 4 whistles or till the chickpeas are well cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. In the meanwhile, take the thick sour curd in a large mixing bowl. Add in the gram flour,salt to taste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, roasted cumin powder and garam masala. Whisk well to ensure that all the ingredients are well combined together and that there are no lumps. Keep aside.

4. Take the curd mixture in a large pan and place on medium flame. Add in the cooked black chickpeas too, along with the water they were cooked in. Mix well. Cook this till it comes to a boil, stirring intermittently. This should take 3-4 minutes.

5. Now, turn down the flame further and allow the mixture to simmer for about 2 minutes.

6. In the meanwhile, prepare the tempering. Heat the ghee and oil together in a small pan. Add in the cumin seeds and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Turn flame down to low. Add the dried red chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds to the pan. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Switch off gas, and immediately add in the 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder for the tempering. Mix well.

7. Immediately pour this tempering into the curd mixture simmering in the other pan. Mix well. When the curd has simmered for the requisite 2 minutes, switch off gas.

8. Mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander. Your Jaisalmeri Kala Chana is ready. Serve it hot with rotis or plain steamed rice.


1. Adjust the quantity of curd you use, depending upon how thick you want the Jaisalmeri Kala Chana to be.

2. Use thick curd that is sour but not overly so. I have used home-made thick curd here.

3. Make sure the black chickpeas are well cooked before adding them to the pan.

4. The curd mixture should be cooked on medium flame to ensure that it doesn’t curdle.

5. I have used a mix of refined oil and ghee for the tempering. You may use only oil or only ghee instead, too.

6. The garam masala is optional. However, adding it to the Jaisalmeri Kala Chana is indeed a nice touch.

7. Do not overcook the Jaisalmeri Kala Chana after it comes to a boil. Just simmer it for a couple of minutes after that, and it’s good to go.

8. Adding the curry leaves in the tempering is optional. I added them because I love them in tempering in a curd-based dish.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!


This post is for the Food Bloggers Recipe Swap group that I am part of. Every month, the food bloggers in this group pair up, and then the pairs cook from each other’s blogs.

My partner for the month is Rafeeda, who writes at The Big Sweet Tooth. Her blog is a huge repository of recipes, including several desserts and baked goodies. I zeroed in on this Jaisalmeri Kala Chana recipe, though, and made it with a few variations of my own.

Check out what the other members of the group have prepared, for this month’s recipe swap.

Pineapple Chutney|Sonth Chutney/  Bitter Gourd Roast|Butter Biscuits|Broken Wheat Upma| Lobia Vada|Balti Sauce|Garlic Bread Sticks| Cuca de Banana|Beaten Rice Mix

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #280. The co-host this week is Ai @ Ai Made It For You.


27 thoughts on “Jaisalmeri Kala Chana| Rajasthani Black Chickpeas Curry

      1. Long time right 🙂

        Doing good, doing good. How is your little one? If I remember right she would turn 5 this year? Mine started kindergarten few months back 🙂


  1. We do make kala channa, and different gravies with yogurt and gram flour but never combined all this in one. I bet this must have tasted delicious. It looks very inviting.


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