Thursday, 1 October 2009

Chhole Tikki: Chickpeas served with Potato Cutlets

Indian Street food is versatile in taste and preparation. It varies as you move from one state to the other. The ingredients remain the same, in most cases, but the flavor changes by addition / deletion of spices and garnish.
Take the
Bhel puri for example. It’s popularly called so in Maharashtra and the western part of India. But in North India, it transforms to Laiya Chana, and in the east as Jhal Muri.
Jhal muri is characterized by the addition of uncooked mustard oil and coconut among other things. It does not use tamarind chutney.
Bhel puri on the other hand can be sukha (dry) or geela (wet) depending on what kind of chutney is used to flavor it. And no, it does not use mustard oil.
Laiya chana is also similar to bhel puri, but is more savory, and does not imbibe the sweetness of Bhel puri (at least that has been my experience in north India).
And all this while, the base for all the above remains the same – puffed rice.

Other similarities that I have observed are:
Pesarattu in Andhra Pradesh, and
Moong ki Dal ka Cheela in North India
Golgappa / Paani ke Batashe / Gup Chup / Pani Puri / Phuchka (the difference being the stuffing and how the water has been flavored)
Ragda Pattice in the West and Chhole Tikki
in the North

Am sure there are many more varieties which can be included, but the above is more limited to my experiences and travels across the country. Do feel free to add to the same.

Coming back to cooking, this weekend was made special when both my husband and I entered the kitchen together, and prepared Chhole Tikki – the north Indian street food – for a heavy snack on a lazy Sunday evening.
The idea is to prepare the chhole (flavored chickpeas) and
Alu Tikkis (Potato Cutlets) and serve them together. The Alu Tikkis were prepared by him, while the Chhole by me.

I know there are a hundred (or more) ways to prepare chhole, as well as Tikki, but sharing with you our version. My chhole recipe is an amalgamation of various sources, and has been adapted from different recipes in cookbooks as well as on the internet.

For the Chhole

Chickpeas / Chhole: 1 Cup, soaked overnight
1 tsp Tea Leaves tied in a muslin cloth / 1 Tea Bag
Onion, sliced: 2 medium
Tomato, chopped: 1
Ginger Paste: ½ tsp
Bay leaf: 1
Cinnamon Stick: 1
Cumin Seeds: ½ tsp
Anardana Powder: 1 ½ tsp
Cumin Powder: 1 tsp
Coriander Powder: 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder: ½ tsp
Oil: 3 tbsp
Salt: To taste

- Boil the chickpeas with around 3 - 3 1/2 cups water, tea leaves / tea bag, Bay Leaf, Cinnamon Stick and salt. If using a pressure cooker, which is preferable, it will take around 20 minutes (on low heat) for the chickpeas to become soft. Alternately, one can also use the canned version.
- Once cooked, remove the tea bag, cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Keep the chickpeas aside, donot drain the water.
- Heat oil in a kadhai / pan, and add cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to splutter, add the onions and stir on medium heat till they begin to change color
- Add the tomatoes, ginger paste and the ground spices. Sauté on medium heat till the tomatoes turn soft and the oil begins to separate
- Add the chick peas along with the water in which they were cooked.
- Bring to a boil, and let it simmer for 5 – 7 minutes, till the gravy becomes thick. Adjust salt as per taste.

For the Alu Tikki (as made by my husband)

Ingredients: (Makes approx 6 tikkis)
Potatoes, boiled: 4 medium
Peas, boiled: a handful
Green Chilli, finely chopped: 2
Fresh coriander, chopped
Black Pepper powder: to season
Cumin Powder: 2/3 tsp

Red Chili Powder: 1/4 tsp or as per taste
Black Salt / Rock Salt: 1/4 tsp
Chaat Masala (optional): 1/4 tsp
Juice of half a lemon
Salt: To taste
Oil: To shallow fry


- Peel and grate the potatoes. Ensure that the potatoes are at room temperature before you grate them
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
- Grease your hands with a few drops of oil.
- Take a portion of the mixture, and shape it in a ball. Press it lightly between your palms to flatten it.
- Shallow fry on low heat till both sides are crispy and golden brown

To Serve Chhole Tikki:
- Take a tikki (or two) in a bowl
- Add a ladle of chhole on top (more if you desire)
- Garnish with finely chopped onion, tomatoes, coriander and green chilies
- You can also add whipped yoghurt and tamarind chutney on top

This recipe goes to Meeta’s Monthly Mingle: High Tea Treats, hosted this month by Aparna.


  1. This recipe is my sister's favorite, will share this link with her so she can make and enjoy. Chole tikki looks yummy and colorful, thanks for sharing:)

  2. yummy!..who doesn't like this dish?nice click!

  3. This looks really good. Both are new to me, and I'll have to try your recipe soon:)

  4. This looks like a prefect snack for a rainy day!

  5. mouthwatering chhole tikki...i love it.


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