Chickpeas and Panir with Tomatoes and Garlic

February 11, 2008 at 1:22 AM (channa/ gram, cheese, chiles and other capsicums, dishes by cuisine, dishes by main ingredient, India, legumes/pulses- whole or split, milk and milk products, onions garlic leeks shallots and other alliums, panir, Punjab, tomatoes, vegetables/ fruits)


     The last few days I’ve been “laid up” with a back injury- nothing too serious- just a few strained muscles, and I am doing pretty well right now. But, during that time, I needed something fairly quick and easy to make as a main protein source, so I thought of making an old Jaffrey standby: chickpeas and potatoes in tomato and garlic sauce. It has no long onion-bhuno-ing step; instead, a massive amount of garlic paste is fried in oil, tomatoes are added and slowly simmered…(well, at least it’s an easier bhuno-ing that didn’t require me to stand for too long!), and then a fairly brief cooking of the sauce with the chickpeas. Instead of potatoes, I thought of using panir as I had pre-fried a home-made batch of it a day or two before my injury and tucked it away in the fridge. The rest I did in parts as I could tolerate it- but I must confess to you that I ended up reclining on the floor to peel the garlic!

     Since I was a little bit in want of fun, I decided not to follow the rest of that original recipe exactly; instead, I took a cue from one of my favorite bloggers- the famous Musical and her equally famous Kitchen. Musical is always playing around with new ingredient combinations and trusting her instincts to concoct interesting mixes of spices- all the while managing to create some really delicious dishes. So I thought “why not?” and took her cooking-is-as-easy-as-breathing approach, and, amazingly, my experiment turned out! It tasted so good that I decided to share it with y’all… and especially this is for other garlic-tomato-chile combo lovers out there! (You know who you are!)


Chickpeas and Panir with Tomatoes and Garlic

2 C dried white chickpeas/ kabuli chana

3 T oil/ghee

1 t cumin seeds

pinch of hing

18-24 cloves of garlic, pasted- about 3 T

2 C tomato puree

2 t coriander seeds (dry-roasted)

1 t cumin seeds (dry-roasted)

1 t ground red chiles, or to taste

1/2 t turmeric

1 1/2 t amchoor (or lime juice to taste)

2-3 C panir cubes, lightly fried in oil and drained

2 t kasoori methi, finger-crushed

6 green chiles (I used serranos), sliced into 1/8″ rounds (de-seed if you prefer it milder)

3 C broth from the cooked beans

salt to taste

1)Rinse chickpeas well, then cover in plenty of water to soak 12 hours; drain, then add fresh water to cover by an inch or two and cook for 5 minutes at 15 lbs. in a pressure-cooker, allowing pressure to fall on its own and cool- or simmer in enough water to cover until tender. Drain, reserving 3 C of broth.

2)Dry-roast coriander seeds and 1 t of cumin seeds until medium-brown; cool, and grind to a powder.

3)Heat oil or ghee over med-low, add the remaining teaspoon of cumin seeds, fry for a few seconds, then add the hing, followed by the garlic paste; fry, stirring continuously until the raw smell disappears (keep your face away actually!)- about 2-3 minutes, until garlic is a pale brown and has lost most of its moisture.

4)Add the tomato puree, stir well and slowly fry, stirring occasionally at first and more frequently as it reduces, until the oil returns and appears at the edges.

5)Add the dry-roasted spices, turmeric, ground chiles, and amchoor; fry for about 2 minutes more.

6)Add the cooked chickpeas, panir, kasoori methi, sliced chiles, and reserved broth; mix gently, bring slowly to a simmer and allow to cook uncovered for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally; add salt to taste. Serve with any flat-bread of choice- para(n)thas are always good. 😀  But I was feeling perky today so I made pooris; I was thrilled because they all puffed up like balloons and one of them was actually round! 🙂



(clockwise: chickpeas and panir…, bitter melon stir-fried…, a round poori, homemade karela ka achaar, Bihari-style saag/pureed green stuff)



  1. Anita said,

    Wow – look at you and your spread – the thali, I mean 😉 ! You were unwell and you made all that! Yup, you are the one for mole-from-scratch…
    Paneer with chhole would make an interesting combination – yes, very Musical of you. Bihari style saag is also looking interesting…please share that too! I’ll vouch for the bitter-melon recipe – the egg in it makes it really stand out.

    The karele ka achar is north Indian style (not that I need to add another jar of pickles to my collection, just curious…)?

    Yep, the karela-made-into-a-pickle is north-style- from that massive harvest I had year before last, and not too bad for my first attempt at the teli achaars. 🙂
    Yes, I was so thrilled to be able to walk around yesterday that I spent the morning/early afternoon cooking…I was very ill of eating the leftover Thai stuff! 😉

  2. Shella said,

    That’s one helluva spread for a person with a troublesome back!! Take care coz back problems are harmful in the longer run, if not taken care properly.

    I agree with you there! I started seeing a chiropractor 2 years ago- on and off as needed; it’s done wonders! (much more than the general pract. I saw before that who gave me a muscle relaxer and a script for Vicodin…) 😉

  3. shilpa said,

    U made all that?? You have some patience Pel :). Paneer and chickpeas sounds like a great combo.

    I hope you are doing well now…Take care

    Thanks dearie! Yeah…while I was laying down most of the time from Tuesday to Saturday, I kept thinking of things I wanted to cook, so when I was able to stand again that’s what I did! Thanks for the wishes…

  4. Asha said,

    WOW!! That is a great thali. I just bought Bitter gourd pickle from the store.
    Love the photo with snow covered pot!:))

    Hey thanks Asha, and you have good taste in pickles! 🙂

  5. Manisha said,

    You have a back injury and you made puris? No way!

    3T of garlic? You must have stank up your entire neighborhood! What did you do to get rid of the smell? Even your hair (on your head) must have been smelling of garlic.

    I have to figure out what it is about dry chickpeas that makes us more uncomfortable than canned chickpeas. I change the water and don’t cook them in the watre they were soaking in etc but starting with dry chickpeas results in some really mean blast-offs.

    Are you growing younger? Cos it seems the clocks turn the other way in Wisconsin….

    LOL!!! Right you are! Should I change it? Still laughing…yes, that is my secret!I went back to using soap, so that isn’t it… 😀
    I dump the soaking-water (and rinse 3 times)…and the hing and turmeric really make a noticeable difference- the original recipe doesn’t contain either BTW; delicious still, but yeah it’ll make you sky-write…I still say black beans are the worst though, but they’re so delicious… 🙂

    Is smelling of garlic a bad thing? I’ll need to make a note of that on my pad…

    Puris are way easier than paranthas! Just one rolling…and they cook so quickly! I set the oil on the heat and then sat on a nearby chair, and got up a couple times to check the oil temp.

  6. musy said,

    Hope you are feeling better!

    You made paneer chhole! Pel, thanks for the very kind words…..

    Your thaali looks totally yummy! Saag and achaar, when do we get the recipes :-D.

    Anita, you can sure add another jar to your existing stock, send over the rest to me :-D.

    Do I have a witness about?!!! Did I hear correctly that I found a home for some of my many years’ worth of karela ka achaar?!! 🙂

    That’s two votes for the Bihari saag now…I’m doomed to post it now. 😉 No thanks necessary Musy: you are always an inspiration!

  7. Mansi said,

    Hey! hope you are feeling much better now! back pain can be bad!!

    this is a neat recipe, will surely try it out as paneer is a regular in our house:)

    No home should be without I say! Glad you stopped by, and muchas gracias for the wishes…

  8. vimmi said,

    kya baat hai. so many items in ur thali. looks delish. get well soon

    Thank you very much!

  9. Manisha said,

    Lying down.
    You lay something down.
    Tch! Come on! You are the grammar police! Well, at least you used to be.

    Lingering smell of garlic once stale is not enticing. At least not to me. 😦

    I’d leave the clocks the way they are. I am surprised the Mad Lady didn’t catch it.

    Oh and this: Bihari saag! Bihari saag! Bihari saag! We want Bihari saag!

    And, does D know about the chiropractor? 😉

    I MUST have a word with my editor…what ever was dey tinkin’? And no, I’ve never lied to a lei. 😀 [slaps his own face] So…I take it you’ve never had god-awful, horrible garlic breath? You aren’t living life fully I say…and if so, I’m not sure that you’d like the Bihari saag. Raw garlic and raw mustard oil, don’tcha know…does wonders for the circulation though! 😉

  10. Anita said,

    Clocks? What clocks?!

    (And who’s she calling Mad? A term of endearment?)

    For her it is… 😀

  11. Manisha said,

    The clocks in Wisconsin.
    Definitely a term of endearment. Especially when it appears that the recipient may be on a war path.

  12. Anita said,

    He did something to the clocks?
    (I see, he is copying my ‘style’…but I guess it is a form of flattery?)

    I was wondering if anyone would notice that! But hey, the formula is a good one, and yes indeed….quotation is the highest form of flattery. 😀

  13. Manisha said,

    Did you read the post, Anita?
    All I can say is that you are not clock wise.
    That is all.

    That’s all?

  14. Anita said,

    Finally! 😀

    I’ll drink to that… 😀

  15. bee said,

    wow. you made puris, not cluris. that thali is to die for.

    guess what, we’re still relishing your karela achaar. bite by bite. it’s a rationed commodity in our home. post the recipe if you can.

    As long as I don’t have to make any more!

  16. bee said,

    jai’s birthday? his birthday is in july, like all great people, myself included. one of our friends called our home and started singing happy birthday after reading your comment. lol.

    Awww….that’s so sweet! Tell him I didn’t mind- it was nothing! 😀

  17. Cynthia said,

    Pel, I would have loved to come over and join you for that meal.

    And you would most certainly be welcome to!

  18. neroli said,

    Darlin’—if *that* is what you make when you aren’t feeling well,…well—you are indeed yourself made of the most amazing stuff 😉

    The moment I am feeling just a tidbit better after something like this, I go wild trying to make up for lost time…which is how I hurt myself in the first place. I’m behaving this time: nothing heavy for 2 weeks!

  19. outofthegarden said,

    It looks fabulous, Pel, and I may be one of your garlic-tomato-chile lurkers out here — I can breathe garlic-fire with the best of ’em.

    I even have a bunch of lowfat paneer in the fridge! But 2-3 CUPS paneer??? My goodness, that’s protein-packed, indeed!!

    Glad you’re feeling better 🙂

    I just take a gallon of milk and 1/2 C of juice and proceed. Usually I nibble at the panir for a day or two before deciding what to make as the main dish…and now I am in the habit of using all of the whey before a next batch of panir can be made…just to avoid a back-up of whey…which really, truly is wonderful for breads or mashed potatoes.

    Garlic-fire eh? Actually I’m with you: as long as everyone else is eating it too it causes no problem; the odd-one out is the unhappy one, and that person deserves it I say! 🙂

  20. Zlamushka said,

    Lovely dish. Lots of protein? who could argue, nutritious heaven, I say.
    Btw, I have put you under my blog roll of favorite reads, hope it is OK.

    But of course! Thank YOU! 😉

  21. evolvingtastes said,

    The entire spread look amazing – food, thali, katoris, everything – and you are not even Indian, right? I have seen your blog before in passing (I am after all a regular visitor to Anita’s and Manisha’s blogs) but finally stopped by to comment.

    Well it’s a pleasure to have you by…I always thought I was totally German-American until I found out that my obsession with collecting stainless-steel bowls and dried plant-parts (considered a bit odd in my family) was commonplace around here! 🙂

    Thanks for the compliment!

  22. Meera said,

    Your entire spread looks amazing. Wonderful job. Karela achar sounds so delicious! and also paneer chole.

    Why, thank you kindly!

  23. Mona said,

    Love garbanzo beans a lot! I will try this. Thnx for sharing!!
    Hope you are doing well now!

    Oh…much better, thank you!

  24. aspiringannapoorna said,

    delicious spread, and delicious blog 🙂
    I love your blog pel, and your enthusiasm and spirit — I only have good things to say here. I’ve been visiting for a long time now, without saying anything. I just tried my take on this recipe, with firm sacramento tofu instead of the paneer ( i know i know its not the same!) – looks delicious so far (its in the pressure cooker, am waiting for the whistle)
    wishing all good things always for you and your blog

    I am honored that you are inspired by my recipe, which was inspired by Madhur J., which was inspired by ??? 😀 See the hectic life of a dish?! 😉 Thanks for the kind words…

  25. Vani said,

    Oooh, panner & Choole! Nice! And a perfectly round poori too – that’s something I’m yet to master! The thali looks delicious!

    Thanks! As for the poori, I am still refusing to resort to the use of a coffee-can when rolling any roti. 🙂 So we’ll keep trying… 😉

  26. Simeen Chaudhry said,

    This recipe looks good! thanks. Simeen

    And thank you!

  27. Cheese India said,

    This looks Outstanding!

    • Elaichi et Cetera said,

      As I recall, it was! Thanks!

  28. GB said,

    Haha!! you avoided bhuno-ing and ended up making pooris!! I only ever make pooris when I need to wheedle the hubby into doing some gargantuan task!! (he likes them, I don’t— ’nuff said!)

    • Elaichi et Cetera said,

      I made the mistake of trying a bhatura yesterday (made chhole-bhature) with sweet lime pickle… I’m thinking you might be on to something with your hubby, so I’m going to get out my own to-do list… 😀

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