Spiced split chickpeas with fried bread


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

This recipe, Dal Pakwan, is from Sindh, across the north-western border, a former part of India which is now in Pakistan. Comprising spiced split Bengal gram, accompanied by deep-fried bread with cumin and nigella seeds, this vegetarian meal can easily match any meat dish.


For the spiced chickpeas

  • 250 g/9 oz split Bengal gram (channa dhal or skinless split chickpeas)
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp sunflower oil or light olive oil
  • 5 ml/1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2–3 fresh green chilies, chopped (deseeded if preferred)
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp chilli powder
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp garam masala
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped

For the bread

  • 275 g/10 oz/2 ½ cups plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp salt
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp sugar
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp nigella seeds
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp sunflower oil or light olive oil
  • 150 ml/74 pint/ cup lukewarm water
  • sunflower oil, for deep-frying


  1. Wash the split Bengal gram thoroughly in a sieve (strainer) under cold running water, then soak in a bowl of water for 2–3 hours. Drain well.

  2. Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the cumin, chilli, turmeric and chilli powder, followed by the drained Bengal gram. Stir-fry for 2–3 minutes, then pour in 750ml/1⅓ pints/3 cups warm water.

  3. Bring it to the boil, cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 35–40 minutes or until the peas are tender.

  4. Add the salt, garam masala and chopped coriander, stir to combine, then remove from the heat.

  5. To make the bread: mix the flour, salt, sugar, cumin and nigella seeds in a large mixing bowl. Rub in the oil and gradually add the water, then mix until a dough is formed. You may need a little less or more water as the absorbency level of flour can differ.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 3–4 minutes, then cover with a damp dish towel and set aside for 30 minutes.

  7. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions and shape them into balls, then flatten them into cakes by pressing them between your palms.

  8. Heat the oil in a wok or other suitable pan for deep-frying over a medium heat. Check that the temperature is right by dropping a little of the dough into the oil. If it floats to the surface immediately without turning brown, then the temperature is just right. Alternatively, check the temperature on a thermometer; it should be at least 180°C/350°F.

  9. Dust each flattened cake lightly in the flour and roll out to about a 7.5cm/3 in disc. Using a fork, pierce the surface all over so that it does not puff during frying.

  10. Carefully lower one bread into the hot oil using a slotted spoon and fry for about 2 minutes, until it is well browned.

  11. Lift out and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm by covering with foil while you repeat with the remaining breads.

  12. Serve the breads immediately with the spiced chickpeas.

Per portion Energy 647kcal/2725kJ; Protein 21g; Carbohydrate 91g, of which sugars 25g; Fat 3g, of which saturates 25g; Cholesterol 0mg; Calcium 135mg; Fibre 9.2g; Sodium 769mg.