Kelli Chana | Popular street food of Manipur


Kelli Chana is a popular street food in Manipur. It is said that an old woman named Kelli used to sell this edible food under the tree and people from all over Manipur started to gather around the tree to buy her chana.

Manipuri cuisine is famous for its simple, healthy, and delicious food. The cuisine relies less on oil and more flavor from seasonal produce, spices, and herbs.

Hot peppers (U morok) are used liberally to add hot and spice to many dishes. If you are traveling to Manipur, your visit is incomplete without the famous street food – Kelli chana.

Kelli chana is a spicy chickpea dish that is found all over the city streets. Since chickpea is costly and not produced in huge quantity in the State, we used normal dry peas for making Kelli Chana.

It is used on the lotus leaf, carrying the fragrance of the leaf. You can’t always find local herbs and spices everywhere, that’s why local recipes are adapted elsewhere and Kelli Chana’s recipes have also been made with these common ingredients to help achieve the look and taste.

Ingredients of Kelli Chana

Dried peas or chickpeas- 3 cups which need to be soaked in water for 5-6 hours before making Kelli Chana.
Oil – 5 tablespoons
Bay leaves – 2
Onion – 1, cut in dice form
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
Green chilies – 5 pieces (U Morok is better)
Chilli powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Salt – adjust to taste and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder.

Besides, different types of herbs (maroi nakuppi – Chinese chives, tuningkhok – chameleon plant, coriander) – chopped green chilies and onion rings or chopped onions, and a handful of chopped cabbage are added which has pure Manipuri in taste.

How to prepare?

In a pressure cooker, heat 5 tablespoons of oil until smoking, add bay leaves, onions, and ginger garlic paste.

Add green chilies, spices, and turmeric and stir.

Add peas, salt, and chili powder, then stir and cook for 2 minutes.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water, close the lid and let it spray 8 times (the number of whistles depends on the quality of the peas). Immediately release the pressure and cook until the peas are soft and the water is dry.

Add jeera powder, then stir and cook for another 2-5 minutes.

Transfer to a plate and serve with chopped onions and herbs.

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