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Indians love their snacks, and I am no exception. When you go to India, your hosts make it their job to fill your day with deliciousness. First there is breakfast, then there is “coffee” which is between breakfast and lunch and includes more than coffee, then there is lunch, then there is “Tiffin” which comes between lunch and dinner and includes lots of bad for you snacks, and then finally there is dinner.

So naturally, I love snacks and I often feel “snacky”. I have been seeing reIMG_1444cipes for roasted chickpeas all over pinterest. I really do enjoy them, but I realized that the Indian grandmas and home-makers of the world have made sure of one thing despite all kinds of cosmic shifts and changes in political winds – that prices at the Indian grocery store stay amazing.

A common thickener used for gravies and chutneys is called “Chana Dalia” and can be found in Indian Groceries, and nowadays, online. It looks like this:

Chana Dalia

Given that both my parents have diabetes, I’ve been trying to stay away from refined carbohydrates. Now, I should say that the resistant starch found in beans breaks down with heat, and Dalia have been roasted. The fiber shell has also been taken off. However, take a look at the nutrition info on these babies here. Lots of protein, and lots of fiber. I thought they would be a pretty good base for a snacky dish :).

Once you get how to make a Tadka – “spices tempered in hot oil” – Indian cooking is basically the same from dish to dish. Heres a great article on tempering of spices. For this tempering, I used cumin, black mustard seeds (optional), curry leaves (optional but when added really give the dish a nice flavor and fragrance), and dried red chillis. The cumin lends a lovely spicy fragrance, and the black mustard seeds lend a pungent taste. These spices are in addition to the chilli powder, turmeric, salt and garlic powder that you add. Once you have the ingredients, this dish takes just about 15 minutes to make.

Here’s the finished product! Dont you just want to reach in with a spoon? nom nom. Thats my lunch-box in the background. IMG_1446


  • 3-4 cups chana dalia
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic (can skip the salt and use garlic salt too)
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • For the tempering:
    •  3 tbsp of oil
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 4-5 curry leaves (optional but they are so good) can be found online here
    • 1 tsp black mustard seeds can be found online here
    • 2-3 Dried red chillis

Directions: (Time approx 15 minutes)

  1. Toast the Chana Dalia in a non-stick pan on medium heat for about 7-8 minutes
  2. Once the dalia start to become a little brown around the edges, add the spices. Keep toasting for another 3-4 minutes until the chilli powder starts to darken
  3. In a separate small pan ( a small soup pot will do. For my tempering spices, I use this pan), heat a little oil. I use coconut as it has a high smoke point. Add the tempering spices except the curry leaves. When you hear the spices start to sputter, add the curry leaves. Be careful, as the oil can splash! The tempering is done when you see the dried red chillis start to turn almost black.  Heres a video to help you out! My ingredients are different, because the Tadka (tempering) varies based on the dish.
  4. Pour the tadka into the Dalia which is toasting. The oil from the tadka will help the coat the chilli powder, oil, turmeric and other spices in the non-stick pan.
  5. An option is to cut raw onions and serve this mixed with raw onions, 1 green chilli pepper chopped, chopped coriander, and lemon. The dish is very dry and heating, so the cooler raw ingredients help with that in the hot weather. The finished product looks like this when you serve it that way.