Madra or Mandra – Chickpeas in Yogurt Sauce – Kangra Valley Dham Recipe

Madra or Mandra - Kangra Dham Recipe - Himachal Pradesh
Madra or Mandra – Kangra Dham Recipe – Himachal Pradesh

A couple of months ago, I had the chance to visit the Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh to attend a wedding. I used the time to also see this beautiful part of India. Given the limited time I had, I did the usual tourist circuit of Dharmashala and McLeodganj.

This part of India is simply beautiful. Set in the lap of Dhauladhar mountain range, the Kangra valley was calm and peaceful with greenery and gurgling streams all around.

I was also quite taken by the cuisine of the region. Mild and flavourful, it was quite different from anything I had tasted before. Some of the best food I tasted was at the Dham or the Village feast that was a part of the wedding ceremony. I had quite a few unusual dishes such as Raintha (made from spinach, burnt walnut and dates) and Teliyah Maah (black gram in mustard oil).

Another integral part of a Dham is Madra or Mandra, which is mildly-spiced chickpeas cooked in yogurt.

Since I returned to Mumbai, I have been looking up the Dham recipes and this is when I came across Divya Sud Qureshi‘s Flavours from the Kangra Valley that is a treasure trove of traditional Kangra recipes. I would recommend that every foodie gets a copy of this book.

This recipe for the Madra/Mandra is adapted from the recipe in this book.

Serves: 4

Soaking Time: 8 to 12 Hours

Cooking Time: 60 Minutes


  1. Chickpeas – 1.5 Cups
  2. Yogurt – 2 Cups
  3. Cloves – 4
  4. Cinnamon – 1″ Piece
  5. Green Cardamom – 4
  6. Black Cardamom – 1
  7. Bay Leaf – 1
  8. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  9. Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  10. Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  11. Fenugreek Seeds – 1/4 tsp
  12. Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  13. Sugar – 1 tsp
  14. Rice Flour or Chickpea Flour – 1 tsp
  15. Ghee – 1 tsp
  16. Asafoetida – A Large Pinch
  17. Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
  18. Salt to Taste


  1. Soak the chickpeas in 4 cups of water for 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Drain the water.
  3. Wash the chickpeas thoroughly.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In a heavy-bottomed wok or kadai, roast the fenugreek seeds till they start to change colour.
  6. Grind the fenugreek to a fine powder.
  7. In the wok, over medium heat, heat the ghee.
  8. Add cumin seeds, green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaf.
  9. Stir-fry till the spices release their aroma.
  10. Add asafoetida, red chilli powder, fenugreek powder, and coriander powder.
  11. Mix well.
  12. Add the chick peas.
  13. Mix well.
  14. Add 3 cups of water.
  15. Over medium heat, cook covered till the chickpeas soften and are tender. Add more water, if required.
  16. Turn off the heat.
  17. Add the sugar and rice/chickpea flour to the yogurt and beat well.
  18. Add the beaten yogurt to the cooked chickpeas.
  19. Add some water, if required, to form a gravy of pouring consistency.
  20. Place on low heat and bring to a simmer.
  21. Turn off the heat.
  22. Sprinkle the garam masala over the Madra or Mandra.
  23. Serve hot with rotis, puris, bhaturas, or even steamed rice.


  1. I was wondering if you think that tinned chickpeas instead of dried would be okay for this? What is your opinion in general of this matter of tinned vs dried?

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Do leave me a comment.