If you have been following me on Instagram you would know that I cook a lot of dishes from my native community – Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin. And, you must also know that I am married to the love of my life 😀 who is a Dawoodi Bohra. When we got married – I must be honest – it took me a while to get into the groove and understand the traditions involved in being a Bohra. I must also admit that I’m still not where I must probably be after 4 years of marriage. But I’m in a happy place. I have a beautiful family, and the community has a beautiful history of food that I am extremely enthusiastic about and keen to explore.
Ever since we moved to Dubai, its been a challenge to ensure that the husband is fed with his favourite delicacies from HIS native cuisine. I pester my mother-in-law for recipes every other week and keep searching for different recipes across the board belonging to the community. Some of the classic dishes – that I have prepared – are the Dal-Chawal-Palidu, which is prepared on auspicious occasions; Kaari Chawal – the husband’s (and mine) favourite; Mutton Biryani (quite a fail the only time I tried it); my mother-in-laws Kebabs; and this Chana Bateta recipe.
Chana Bateta – is pretty much a dish that is made at home and has taken to the streets. Bhendi Bazaar in Mumbai, which is quite famous for its street food, (read about it here), has a guy whose chana bateta my husband swears by – complete with a fried garlic tadka. The one we make at home is quite similar – except I haven’t tried the fried garlic bit yet. The first time I try any dish, is the time I follow the recipe to the ‘t’ (at least in terms of the ingredients. That’s what I did with this.
The recipe I’ve used is the traditional Chana Bateta recipe used in any Bohra household. The end result must be a combination (riot of flavours, if you must) of tangy, sweet, spicy and savoury. The tanginess comes from the Tamarind water (or chutney), the sweetness is contributed by the jaggery. Another flavour that sets this recipe apart from any regular Chana (Chickpeas) recipe is the addition of a considerable amount of coriander powder. Topped with minced onions and lime, this is the perfect evening snack! Some people also like to add spicy coriander chutney and sweet yoghurt as a garnish. But this recipe is sans that!