This sour chickpea curry dish, also known as khatte chhole, is a tasty recipe for spicy chickpeas in a curry sauce with a chilli, ginger, onion and lemon juice dressing.
We all love curries in our house and these spicy chickpeas are a great choice for us when when we want a healthy meatless dinner.
Not only are the chickpeas in a delicious but mildly spiced curry, a spicy lemon and chilli dressing is poured on at the end to make the sour chickpeas. This means it's a very easy meal if you need to adapt the level of spiciness for different members of the family.
With this recipe, all the strong flavours are in the dressing. You can add as much or as little of it as you like to each portion.
You can stir the sour lemon, ginger and chilli dressing in for an even flavour or leave it on the top so you get a big hit of sourness and heat in certain spoonfuls! It is definitely the dressing that makes this dish special.
I first made this dish a few years years ago and it was the lemon dressing along with the name, 'sour chickpeas' that caught my eye when I saw it in Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cookery. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to try that dressing out. I love lemon in savoury recipes. I think it makes a brilliant base for a salad dressing or marinade. But until I came across this I had never made a dressing to pour on top of a curry.
Ingredient notes for sour chickpeas
To make this sour chickpea stew you'll need:
- Chilli pepper - You can use red or green chillies and use more or less depending on how hot you want it.
- Onion - I like to use red onion as I think it looks pretty in the dressing but you can use a brown onion if too.
- Root ginger - Fresh root ginger is a must for this as it's used in the dressing.
- Lemon juice - I use freshly squeezed lemon juice. If you are not a huge fan of our flavours then just use a little less.
- Salt - Just a little to taste
- Chickpeas - I use canned chickpeas but if you want to use dried chickpeas you've cooked from scratch then go ahead.
- Spices - Coriander, cumin, turmeric and garam masala
How do you make this spicy chickpea stew?
The first thing to do is to make the dressing so the chillies, ginger and onion can sit in the lemon juice as you are cooking the chickpeas. This pickles them slightly but they'll still have lots of flavour.
Then fry the onion and chilli gently in a saucepan for about 5 minutes. Add the spices and chopped tomatoes. Cook, stirring for a couple of minutes and then add the chickpeas and a little water or stock. Cover with a lid adn simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve with a little dressing drizzled over each bowl of chickpea stew.
How do you serve these spicy chickpeas?
I love to eat this spicy chickpea curry with any type of Indian flatbread but you can also serve them with rice. If you have the time to prepare some more recipes then why not make a few different dishes? I've got lots more easy Indian recipes I could recommend such as dry curried okra or North Indian chicken curry or lamb meatball curry?
What can you do with the leftovers?
If you have any leftovers then store them in the fridge for up to three days. They will taste even better the next day as the flavours have more time to develop.
I like to store the dressing and the chickpeas separately so I can reheat the chickpeas and then pour the sour dressing on top.
You can reheat the chickpeas in a saucepan. Just keep stirring to make sure they don't stick and add a splash of water if they seem dry. Alternatively reheat in the microwave.
Can you freeze the leftovers?
Yes you can! However, if you want the meal to taste the same when it has defrosted and been reheated, you'll have to make the dressing again.
Alternatively, just stir any leftover dressing into the chickpeas before freezing. Defrost in the fridge overnight or on the kitchen counter. Then reheat in a saucepan or in the microwave. It'll still be a delicious chickpea curry!
Sour Chickpeas or Khatte Chhole
Ingredients for the Dressing
- ½ chilli pepper finely sliced
- ¼ small onion finely sliced or diced
- 10 g root ginger cut into thin batons, finely diced or grated
- 1 lemon juiced
- Pinch salt
Ingredients for the chickpeas
- ¾ onion sliced or diced
- ½ chilli pepper sliced or diced
- 2 tomatoes diced
- 400 g tin of chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 200 ml vegetable stock or water
- Make the sour dressing first. In a small bowl put half of the chilli pepper, the ginger and ¼ of the onion. Pour the lemon juice over the top and add a pinch of salt. Leave until ready to serve.
- Cook the rest of the onion and chilli pepper in a saucepan until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Then add the chickpeas, the spices and about 200ml of stock or water. Bring up to the boil then lower the heat to a simmer about for 20 minutes.
- When ready to serve, either stir the dressing into the chickpeas or serve it on top of the chickpeas.
How about trying one of these spicy vegan recipes next?
I have lots of meaty and meat-free spicy recipes but here are just some that you might like! Let me know if you try any.
You might also like my collection of easy homemade curries.
Keep in touch
Do let me know if you make this sour chickpea stew or any of my other recipes. I love to get feedback from readers.
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what a nice recipe , ma'm ! in fact every bit of information that you had shared is simply a class of its own type
It's great that your children eat chickpeas and curries! Most won't! I love things that are on the lemony, spicy side, so I'd probs like this! Thanks for linking up to my World Food linky! x
Yes, I'm really pleased my children will eat curries but at the same time if I try to put any other veggies in then Little Miss Spice will avoid them! She also won't eat rice with it!
The recipe sounds great. My husband and I love chickpeas and we eat vegan most of the time, so this recipe is great for us. I should make this, as it sounds delicious.
I'm so pleased you like it Anca - Let me know if you make it!
Jo Allison / Jo's Kitchen Larder
I love the sound of the sour dressing!. Chickpea curries are super delicious and substantial despite the lack of meat. It's great that you control the heat with the dressing, how handy when you feed the family! x
Exactly! It's a great curry for anyone who loves slightly sour flavours and so easy to adapt for everyone, as long as they like chickpeas x
Kat (The Baking Explorer)
I do love chickpeas! This looks yummy!
Thanks Kat! It's the type of meal that is very easy to throw together if it ends up being dinner time and we haven't planned what to eat - there's always chickpeas in the cupboard and most of the other ingredients too!
Looks delicious, I love chickpeas and I'm sure my vegetarian daughter would love this too:-)
Thanks Camilla! I hope she does like it - Let me know if you make it!
Oh wow this is my perfect dish! I had a lemony chickpea dish in India that I've never forgotten but I haven't quite managed to recreate it at home. Must try this.
I hope this manages to come close! I loved the flavours of the dressing poured over the top - it really livened up the chickpeas.
You are making me salivate here. My daughter just mentioned today she is craving for chickpeas and poorie. I am sure you know what poorie is 🙂
I haven't made poories myself but one of my friends who is from India often makes them. This would go very well with poories and children love them!
Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie
What a lovely sounding recipe - I love the sound of that dressing especially. And I always love recipes are adaptable so everyone can enjoy the same food. My little ones are definitely managing more and more chilli and spice these days, but they are not quite at adult level just yet. But they do love chickpeas so this would be perfect for us. Thanks for sharing it with #CookBlogShare. Eb x
It's so good when you find a recipe that everyone will enjoy, isn't it? Little Miss Spice is very picky and refuses most vegetables but I can get her to eat tomatoes and chickpeas! Luckily she loves spicy food too. Master Spice says he doesn't like spicy food but if we don't tell him it's spicy he'll eat it! x
Another delicious looking spicy dish from you Corina, your blog always makes me rather hungry when i look at it. I cook dried chickpeas in the Instant pot and keep them in tubs in the freezer .
I would really like to get an Instant Pot Jacqui! I almost got one for Christmas and when I did the Indian cookery course recently I realised how useful it would be to be able to cook dried beans from scratch. I might have to go ahead and get one soon!
We love sour dishes and dressings! And I love all the ingredients in it here. Such a flavorful combination! I always have bags of boiled chickpeas in the freezer, so I must try it as a side dish for dinner tonight. Thanks for sharing the recipe here!
Sometimes lemon just makes a dish perfect!
I have never tried chickpeas this way. This is a very interesting recipe!
I love the flavors in these chickpeas! What a great dish.