Cook's Hideout: Manipur -- Kelli Chana (Spicy Chickpea snack)

April 17, 2014

Manipur -- Kelli Chana (Spicy Chickpea snack)

Blogging Marathon# 39 - Indian States: Day 17
State: Manipur
Dish: Kelli Channa
We are going to Manipur, one of the seven sister states in the North Eastern India. Manipuri cuisine is simple, organic and healthy. Dishes are typically spicy foods that use chili pepper rather than garam masalas. Most of the dishes do not use oil for cooking.
The staple diet of Manipur consists of rice, variety of leafy vegetables and fish. Manipuris typically raise vegetables in a kitchen garden and rear fishes in small ponds around their house. They cook dishes based on the seasonal produce and the dishes taste very different from mainland Indian cuisine because of the use of the various aromatic herbs and roots that are unique to the region.
Today's Dish: I found this simple to make Manipuri Street food, Kelli Chana here and even though it had ingredients native to Manipur, I thought I would give it a try. Thankfully this Manipuri blogger described the ingredients and gave some substitutions to the herbs and spices that she used in the dish. I went ahead and made some of my own changes, but the final dish was quite delicious.
Manipur -- Kelli Chana (Spicy Chickpea snack)

Kelli Chana is a popular street food in Manipur. It is said that a old lady named Kelli used to sell this addictive snack under a tree and people from all over Manipur started flocking around the tree to buy her chana. She never disclosed the recipe to anyone and apparently took it to her grave. Lot of people have tried to recreate her recipe, but failed to make it taste like the original.
With all my substitutions, I'm sure this is nowhere close to the original, but I still liked it. I served it as snack with some biscuits/ cookies and tea.
Manipur -- Kelli Chana (Spicy Chickpea snack)
 Recipe adapted from OpenChallenge:
Chickpeas - 2cups, cooked (or use 1 16 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Tomatoes - 2 medium, chopped
Ginger - 1" piece, grated
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
Red chili powder - 1tsp (adjust as per taste)
Green onions - 2, chopped
Chinese Chives - 3tbsp, chopped
Black sesame seeds - 2tbsp, roasted and ground
Cilantro - 1tbsp, chopped, for garnish
Salt - to taste

  • Heat 2tbsp mustard oil in a pan; add onions and cook until they start turning lightly brown around the edges. Add the ginger and garlic; cook for 1~2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until mushy. 
  • Next add the red chili powder and salt. Mix well. Add some water if the mixture looks too dry. Cook for 3~4 minutes.
  • Add the chopped Chinese chives and ground black sesame powder; cook for 2~3 minutes.
  • Finally garnish with chopped green onions or cilantro and Enjoy!!

Manipur -- Kelli Chana (Spicy Chickpea snack)

Lets check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked today for BM# 39.



  1. I like this version that you have made, sounds great and channa is it anytime.

  2. Even I cooked from that blog. She has a some lovely dishes. Interesting read on how the dish got that name. Kelli chana does look delicious. Good to know you liked the taste. Since it is not Kelli's recipe and all the versions are recreated, I think making your own tweaks to the recipe is ok. Does look like perfect snack.

  3. Kelli chana looks fabulous, thats seriously an interesting street food, well done and good choice for Manipuri cuisine.

  4. This channa looks so similar to the one we make. Looks yummy!

  5. Looks like I didn't search well. I missed locating this site :) Lovely clicks.

  6. delicious clicks!! and the first pic - wish I grab that bowl!!

  7. looks tempting. channa looks perfect to munch on.. sounds easy too. the black sesame powder is interesting

  8. Such a lovely looking chhole!..and that site is very nice..will have to read through it someday!

  9. Looks like a delicious treat....

  10. must have unique but delicious flavor with black sesame

  11. Such a healthy and delicious looking chickpea snack..

  12. Such a delicious chana. I will love this anytime especially when its time to pack a tiffin box. Will be surely packing this once too often.:D

  13. I used the same blog for my recipe and the dishes were awesome! That channa looks really inviting :)

  14. I guess a regional variation to the classic chole dish, sesame being used in place of chole masala. We love chole and so I can guess how yummy this must have been.

  15. kelli channa looks very delicious dear , very interesting street food snack from manipur :) they look very inviting !!

  16. I love chickpeas and this snack looks delicious !


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