Akbari Chhole

Why Akbari, not Jahangiri? Well the book has got Jahangiri Chhole, Sultana Chhole and more Mughals prefixed to chhole! Whatever the style – my husband gives it an ungainly epithet – ‘bofors’. Tasteless epithet I say, and yes! You guessed right as to why. A nutritionist friend of mine suggests that repeating the process of soaking and changing the water twice in between, and using fresh water for cooking pulses greatly reduces the gaseous content in any kind of pulses.

I generally make chhole by habit and not actually following a book or a recipe. However, since the blog, I endeavour to get my measurements scrupulously correct.

I had purchased this chaste Hindi recipe book some years back – it is a pleasure to read – complete with Lucknowi adab, and tehzeeb. For those not familiar with India, Lucknow is a city in Uttar Pradesh replete with culture of the Nawabs, that includes elegance, respect, rhythm and lilt in the dialect of Hindi or Urdu spoken in that region .

The book titled “daalen aur kadian” (Pulses and kadhis/curd based gravies), is authored by Sudha Mathur. The pictures aren’t good but the writing is enough to get one going. As a result, this time the chhole was prepared self-consciously, each condiment being counted and added in, precisely. I like only mildly spiced food and hence some minimal changes have been made to the original recipe.

Recipe: Akbari Chhole


Kabuli chana / Chickpeas – 1.5 cups
Chana dal / Bengal gram – 1/2 cup
Salt – to taste
Red chilli powder – 3/4 tsp.
Tea leaves – 2 tbsp.
Dry ground Dhania / Coriander – 2 tsp.
Onion – 1 big
Ginger – 1″
Garlic – 2 (as per taste)
Green cardamom – 2
Black cardamom – 1
Bay leaves – 3 to 4
Tomato – 1 big
Potato – 1 big
Green chillies – 1 (as per taste)
Finely chopped coriander leaves – for garnish
Tamarind extract – 1/2 cup
Oil – 2 tbsp.
Kala namak/black salt – 1 tsp.


Tie the tea leaves in a clean muslin cloth. Place it along with the drained chhole, salt, chana and fresh water and cook in a pressure cooker upto 4 whistles. Reduce flame and cook further upto 15 minutes. Set aside to naturally cool.

Grind the onion, ginger and garlic into a fine paste.

Heat a tbsp. of oil and fry the whole spices. Add the paste and fry till pink.

Add the dry coriander powder, red chilli powder, roughly chopped tomatoes and some of the liquid from the cooked chickpeas.

Cook till the moisture evaporates. Add the boiled chickpeas and chana and cook on low heat.

Pour the tamarind extract and black salt and mix well. It should be a thick gravy.

Fry the potato wedges (or microwave or airfry) . Add to the chhole and mix. Garnish with green chillies and coriander. If you like it tangy, squeeze half a lime over it.

Serve with toasted bread, bhaturas, naans, kulchas or pulao.


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

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  • TS

    That is delicious! Tamarind in chhole is something new, something I am willing to try!

    cheers, ts
    The Spice Who Loved Me

  • Roma

    Awesome picture of Akbari chole!

  • Sunshinemom

    Thanks Trupti for the appreciation! Boosts my resolve to try and post as many recipes as days of the month!

    Bharathy, I left a comment in reply – hope you saw it. I make thakkali thokku like my mom. Only wanted to know how much time vengayam takes! I suspected that it will take time, and as you said – yes! homemade stuff makes a lot of difference!

  • Trupti

    hello sunshinemom, thanks for visiting my blog. oh my oh my you have a very nice blog here. You have a nice collection of recipes,nice photos & nice step by step instructions.

  • Bharathy

    Which thokku did you refer??the tomato-garlic one with the karikku dosa or the vengaya thokku??
    Yes I heard the grand sweets ppl sell all the thokku items..should get one soon…:)
    Preparing thokku at home is a real pain,esp demanding more time and energy, spurts out while boiling leaving a mess as well!..:)..still the HOME MADE makes the real dif u see..
    Attempt only if you have patience..(bcoz I am losing this now a days n have decided not to fret anymore with these he he)

  • Sunshinemom

    Thanks, Jayasree and Bharathy! Yes, chhole is my fav. too esp. with toasted bread!

  • Bharathy

    Gimme any gravy based on Chole I would devour whole heartedly :)…Lovely step by tep instructions 🙂
    Welcome to my blog! 🙂

  • jayasree

    Loved the detailed, step by step explaination. Very tempting pictures

  • Sunshinemom

    Jayashree – you and Jayasree of my experiments in Kailas kitchen remind me of Thomson and Thompson of Tintin ;). Thanks!

    Vegeyum, Arcy – thank you both!

  • Archy

    Wow.. Very well explained step by step.. Akbari chhole..
    Mouth watering pic too :P!!
    nice blog dear !! Bookmarked :)!!

  • vegeyum

    This looks so delicious. I love chickpeas, and your pics have left me quite hungry.

  • Jayashree

    Love that first pic…

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