Saturday, November 26, 2005


Pulses (sixty varities) are an important part of India’s diet and chickpeas are well-represented within the culinary tradition of this colourful country.

“CHHOLE” is a delicate and succulent dish from Punjab (Northern India) that is found at all wedding banquets. It is a tasty speciality which’s savor is enrichened by many spices and, in particular, by a very special one called asafoetida* (Ferula Asafoetida aka Devil’s Dung!!!). This spice is commonly used in India and although it smells and tastes rather foul (rotten eggs), it adds more character to dishes when associated to other ingredients.

This recipe was taken from Monisha Bharadwaj’s beautiful cookbook entitled “The Indian Kitchen” and was slightly modified by myself.

Serves 4

300g Dried white chickpeas
1 Pinch soda
90ml Sunflower oil
1 Tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 Tsp Asa-foetida
3 White onions, chopped
1 Tsp Ginger paste
1 Tsp Garlic paste
10g Green chillies, seeded and sliced
150g Tomatoes, chopped
1 Tsp Ground chilli (optional)
1 Tsp Turmeric powder
1 Tsp Mango powder (or 2Tsp mango chutney)
1 Tsp Garam masala
1 Tsp Ground anardana seeds (pomegranate seeds)
300-400ml Water
Salt to taste
60g Fresh Coriander, chopped
1 Lemon quartered

1. Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Sieve and put in a pan with soda and enough fresh water. Cook until tender.
2. In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Fry for about 1 minute.
3. Add the onions, the green chillies, the garlic and ginger paste. Fry until the onions are translucid.
4. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes while stirring and crushing them in order to obtain a type of paste. Add the chilli powder, turmeric, mango powder, garam masala and pomegranate seeds.
5. Continue stirring until the paste gets brownish in colour, then add the chickpeas. Stir.
6. Pour in the water and salt to taste.
7. Crush a few chickpeas in order to thicken the sauce and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
8. Serve sprinkled with coriander and accompanied by one quarter lemon per person.

If you don’t have any garlic or ginger paste underhand, pound the garlic and ginger in a mortar.
Don’t worry if you don’t find pomegranate seeds, they can be optional.The “CHHOLE” has to be thickish and not too watery.

Serving suggestions:
Eat with basmati rice, popadums or naan bread.

* Asafoetida: Powdered resin gum coming from the stem and roots' dried sap of a variety of wild fennel.

(Chhole -Pic By Rosa
(Punjab -Pic by Amihay Shraga


  1. hi
    i am an indian
    i discovered your blog today , such lovely pictures .
    its nice to see that you cook indian food too, how is it in switzerland ie the food culture i would love to be in touch with you and know more about food of switzerland if you dont mind.
    i had seen a program on tv which has featured swiss food you eat a lot of cheese right? like fondues and mozarella
    i love to know the food cultures of other people so if you dont mind can you tell me about swiss people.

  2. Ca a l'air delicieux Rosa. Jamais essaye l'asa foetida. Je vais aller jeter un coup d'oeil aux livre que tu me conseilles.

  3. CAMMU: Merci ;-P!

    GRACIANNE: Merci beaucoup, Gracianne! L'"asa foetida", comme l'indique son nom, a une odeur fétide et répugnante de soufre... Il est utilisé en très petites quantités, mais malgré cela il apporte un petit je-ne-sais-quoi aux plats! Bonne recherche, alors!