Khatte Chhole (Sour Chickpeas)

Adapted recipe from my main man, Madhur.

  • 2-1/4 cups dry chickpeas, or, if you are as lazy as I am, 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • About 2 teaspoons salt (adjust this to your taste)
  • 1 fresh, hot green chili, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger (or half that in powdered form)
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (I use “the right amount” of Pomi because it’s boxed rather than canned)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Soak the dried chickpeas in the water for 20 hours and simmer for an hour and a half. Hahahahaha!  Hilarious, right? Let’s try this again. Rinse the canned chickpeas and set aside.

Put 2 Tablespoons of the chopped onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, green chili, ginger, and lemon juice into a tea cup. Mix well and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy, wide, casserole-type pot over a medium-high flame. When hot, put in the remaining chopped onions. Stir and fry for 8-10 minutes until the onion bits develop reddish-brown spots. Add the tomatoes. Continue to stir and fry another 5-6 minutes, mashing the tomato pieces with the back of a slotted spoon. Add the coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Now put in the drained chickpeas, about 2 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of salt, the garam masala, and the cayenne. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. [Psst – add a pinch of the secret ingredient, baking soda, to the mix to allow the chickpeas to soften]. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook very gently for 20 minutes. Stir a few times during this period.

Add the mixture in the tea cup. Stir again to mix. Serve hot or lukewarm.


2 responses to “Khatte Chhole (Sour Chickpeas)

  1. Yum! Okay, I’ll do it. But what exactly is wrong with canned tomatoes? I remember hearing once I shouldn’t use them but I don’t remember why. (Hasn’t stopped me by the way. Boxed tomatoes are hard to find.)

  2. i like pomi (boxes are bpa free unlike cans) which can easily be found at your local harris teeter, giant, whole foods, etc. it should be in the pasta aisle!

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