Chana Bateta

This month I am featuring the Bohra cuisine of Sri Lanka courtesy of Zahabia Adamaly. She shares here a recipe from a recipe book with permission from the authors. This is what Zahabia wrote to me about the dish.

“This is a popular dish used as a side to a main meal in Bohra meals. We also often have it as a snack or a light dinner because it is both filling and nutritious. The chickpeas and potatoes can be tempered as stated in the recipe and kept in the fridge for a few days. It can then be lightly warmed and mixed with the tamarind sauce and garnished just before serving. It is also tasty with a little yoghurt added into the above mix.

This recipe is from “From our Kitchen” a privately published recipe book by Femida Jafferjee and Sakina Galely.” Chana Bateta

Chana Bateta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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  • 250gms (8ozs) chick peas (Chana)
  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed (jeeru)
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • Pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander and cumin seed powder
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon chillie powder
  • 2 tablespoons gram flour
  • Curry leaves
  • Pinch of soda bicarbonate

Tamarind chutney:

  • 100gms tamarind
  • 200gms (8ozs) jaggery grated
  • 1 teaspoon chillie powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup of water
  • Coriander leaves

Mix all together and boil. When tamarind is soft, jaggery has dissolved and is thick, remove and strain. Method: Soak the chickpeas overnight in water with a pinch of soda bicarbonate. In the morning throw the water. Add fresh water with little salt and boil chana in pressure cooker till soft. Do not throw the water remaining. Boil potatoes separately and cut into cubes. Heat oil in a pan and fry the onion, when it becomes transparent, add the garlic paste, curry leaves and whole cumin seed. When garlic gets light brown, add green chillies, turmeric, coriander/ cumin powder and red chillie powder. Cook for 2-3 mins, then add the gram flour and saute, for a further 5 minutes. Add boiled chickpeas with the water and allow to cook for a while. Add tamarind chutney as required. (the amount given may be more). Add the potatoes and serve garnished with coriander. Recipe source: Femida Jafferjee and Sakina Galely


Sambhar Rice

The rice dish for today is Sambhar Rice.

Sambhar RiceAs sambhar refers to a mixed vegetable stew like dish, I thought of mimicking the dish in my featured music groups today.

Starting with Thriloka, a fusion band formed in 2005 blending traditional Sri Lankan folk music and progressive rock.

The second clip features Paranoid Earthling, whose music is a blend of experimental and psychedelic rock. The song shared here was first performed by them on the international peace day in 2008.

The last clip features Chitral Somapala and Civilization One, a power metal band, which is not a Sri Lankan band but I decided to feature them by extending the definition to include the Sri Lankan who launched the band.

Enjoy the Sri Lankan rock music scene as you try out the recipe!

Sambhar Rice

Time taken: 45 mins

Serves 4

Sambhar rice2


  • Par-boiled red rice – 1 cup
  • Carrots – ½ cup, chopped
  • Beans – ½ cup, chopped
  • Brinjal – ½ cup, chopped
  • Mysore dhal – ¼ cup
  • Onion – ½, chopped
  • Chilli – 1, chopped
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Tamarind juice – ½ cup
  • Curry powder – 1 tsp
  • Pepper – ½ tsp
  • Garlic cloves – 4 or 5, crushed
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Boil the rice and keep aside.
  2. Separately, cook the vegetables (carrots, beans and brinjal) and dhal together with the chopped onion, chilli and curry leaves in a cup of water.
  3. When the water dries up, add the tamarind juice add the curry powder, pepper powder, crushed garlic cloves and salt to the vegetables.
  4. Once the sambhar starts to thicken, add the rice, mix well and let it simmer for 5 to 10 mins.
  5. Serve the sambhar rice with pappadum.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Spicy Toor Dhal Gravy

Spicy Toor Dhal Gravy

Time taken: 35 mins

Serves 4 or 5

Toor Dhal GravyIngredients:

  • Toor Dhal/ Thuvaram Paruppu – ½ cup
  • Chilli powder – ½ tsp
  • Cumin powder – ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder – ½ tsp
  • Pepper powder – ¼ tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • Tamarind juice – ½ cup to 1 cup, as required
  • Salt, to taste
  • Garlic – 3 cloves, crushed


  1. Soak the dhal for about 10 mins. Rinse and drain the dhal and transfer to a saucepan.
  2. Add 1 ½ cups of water to the dhal and cook for about 10 to 15 mins, over medium heat.
  3. Reduce to low heat and add the five spice powders (chilli, cumin, coriander, pepper, turmeric).
  4. If the water has dried up, add 1 cup of tamarind extract. If there is some water still in the pan, reduce the amount of tamarind extract added accordingly.
  5. Add salt, to taste and mix well.
  6. Cook for another 10 mins. Adjust gravy consistency by adding more tamarind extract, if required.
  7. Add crushed garlic just before removing from stove. Mix well.
  8. Serve with rice or chappathi.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.