Saattvic Chole (or Channa)

12 Feb

For a healthy living, good physical and mental health is pertinent and this is the basis for most of the holistic approach to health. Alternative medicinal systems like Ayurveda places a lot of emphasis on the what and how aspects of our food, while trying to treat any physical condition. Ayurveda explains the body-mind-soul connection and how eating the proper food that is suitable for you (no one-size fits all here) can lead you onto the path to attain the perfect harmony.

Saatvic diet is considered to aid a healthy living, clear the mind and be at peace. It is easy to understand the importance given to diet as every food is said to exihibit a primary quality (guna) and what we eat reflects on the kind of people that we are. The simplest and purest of food are supposed to enhance the spiritual consciousness and lead to a good healthy, wholesome life.

Being a vegetarian, the food I eat is saatvic in general. Among vegetables, garlic and onion are not considered saatvic. Brought up in a tambram household, onion and garlic was not a staple in our die, but these days, I just about add that to everything I make (except the traditional South-Indian fare). This weekend I made a chole (or channa?) that was saatvic and actually quite liked it, didn’t miss the onion or garlic πŸ™‚

Chole Masala

I have always wondered what is the difference between Chole and channa masala – are these two different names for the same dish or is there a not-so-subtle difference between these two? If any of you know the difference, please enlighten me πŸ™‚


2 cups chickpeas (soaked overnight)
2 ripe tomatoes – cut into small cubes
1/2″ ginger – minced
1 Green chilli – minced

2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp nigella seeds
1 star anise
1/2 tsp fennel seeds

Pound the spices in a mortar and pestle. Pressure cook the chickpeas with salt, till it is cooked but has a bite (al-dente :)) – I don’t like overcooked, mushy chickpeas. In a heavy-bottomed vessel, add couple of teaspoons of oil, and add the pounded spices, roast them a little. Then add ginger, green chillies and tomatoes in that order, sauteeing the added ingredient well before adding the next one. Let it simmer for about 10 mins, till the tomatoes are well cooked. Add a little bit of salt to the tomato mixture while it is simmering. Add the cooked chickpeas to this and let it boil in the mixture for another 5 mins. No fuss, no grind chole masala is ready.

This is my entry for Think Spice – Think Star Anise hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s World.


Posted by on February 12, 2008 in Cooking, Desi


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 responses to “Saattvic Chole (or Channa)

  1. Lakshmi

    February 12, 2008 at 3:02 PM

    Star Anise has come out very well in the pic. I just love the aroma of star anise in any dish.

    Thanks Lakshmi. That was the idea, so I can send it to the event πŸ™‚ – A-kay

  2. Laksh

    February 12, 2008 at 9:58 PM

    Lovely picture as usual and a recipe that looks fairly simple and everyday. If I were to take a shot at chole vs channa stuff. I think Channa is the name of the lentil and Chole is the name of the dish. I believe over time they have become synonymous.

    Thanks Laksh. Hmm… interesting explanation. Lets see what others have to say… – A-kay

  3. Sig

    February 13, 2008 at 4:06 PM

    Hey, cool picture… I absolutely love the flavor of star anise..that smell is so intoxicating and spicy!

    Thank you. Speical thanks to you for reminding me about the Think Spice Think Star Anise event, through your post πŸ™‚ – A-kay

  4. UL

    February 14, 2008 at 12:27 AM

    Akay, I caught this yesterday, but thought I would reply today…and I have been thinking on your content here. I love the way you associated the saattvic guna with the post, got me thinking and then questioning. So let me ask you something dumb. Chick peas is something I would never associate with a saattvic tendency, merely because it can be gassy and upset one’s stomach, in fact quite a few legumes have this tendency.

    Now I understand how veggies and fruits make into the list, and not onion or garlic, but chick peas? Beats me. Saattvic diets shouldnt affect the senses at all, if I understand correctly. Through taste or aroma or any other senses. Sure chickpeas doesnt have the piercing aroma like onions or garlic, but could you tell me what attributes in chickpeas make it saattvic? I think you might have a better answer, look forward to your response. Thank you.

    UL, before I try to answer your question let me say that my knowledge about Ayurveda is that of a curious onlooker – a novice at best and am still trying to understand and assimilate the principles of this science and practice the same in my daily life. First of all, I think the key is to eat according to your dosha – I do know that if you have a Vata dominant constitution, most legumes tend to have a very gaseous effect. Not so much if you are Pitta or Kapha dominant. There are several websites that have a lot of information on a) finding your dosha (if you don’t know it already) and b) tailoring your diet based on your dosha. Let me know and I can send you a few links that I have on my list.

    Having said that, I think the ultimate Sattvic diet is milk and fruits – that is what most yogis eat. I don’t think I am anywhere near to that and my definition of Sattvic is usually avoiding anything that induces the rajasic or tamasic qualities. – A-kay

  5. UL

    February 14, 2008 at 1:32 AM

    and oh…happy V to you πŸ™‚

  6. UL

    February 14, 2008 at 3:40 AM

    Very interesting, Akay, very interesting. Thanks for taking the time. I will check out more on doshas and vatas and what-not. I already found Ayurwhat from your blogroll. Very nice space. Thanks.

    Glad (and hope) you found the necessary information. Also would like to add, ping me offline (on email), if you want to continue this discussion. – A-kay

  7. m's mom

    February 16, 2008 at 2:37 AM

    is it a cookery blog or Ayurvedic/
    The present day youth r too good,I say
    keep it up

  8. m's mom

    February 16, 2008 at 7:12 PM

    Can I add something? :Even just eating any food– (unprocessed)—in its natural form,will itself be a saathvic diet.Light cooking may not be harmful

    Of course, you can, any time πŸ™‚ – A-kay

  9. Shankari

    September 22, 2010 at 6:07 AM

    am trying to make this today. Hopefully it will come out alright!

    Would love to know how it turned out. A-kay

  10. Shankari

    September 23, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    I did make it Akki. Came out very very well! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    Am really glad. I think the best compliment one can get is this – when someone tries this and lets you know that it came out well – thanks πŸ™‚ – A-kay


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