Besan ki Sabzi

I hear and read about kitchens of the future where robots will whip up all your favourites with the click of a button. Maximum output with minimal effort. Convenient indeed!

Convenience is all one is after these days and yet we have never lived in a more “inconvenient” time , inconvenience of the soul. One has an access to the best possible spas, medicine ,gadgets and what not and yet one craves for the not so convenient times when we did not have an access to the world news at the click of a button but we sure knew if all was well with our neighbours, or not . The human and the humane element seems to be going out of our lives rapidly and convenience is fast replacing compassion.

One can dine at the best restaurants and enjoy the most delectable of cuisines but nothing nourishes the soul as good old comfort food which transports you back into your grandma’s kitchen , pots and pans clanking, an orderly frenzy with a few of everyone’s favourites dishes cooking away. Sure enough no robot can replicate that. After all, what made Grandma’s food special was not just what ingredients she added and how much, but the love and affection that she cooked it with.

This besan sabzi is one such dish that will always remind me of my Grandmother’s cooking. I recall us kids fighting over hot chickpea fries before they went into the gravy and in a matter of minutes most of them would vanish. Daadi Ma (Grandma) would shoo us out in her usual sweet angry way before she would whip up another batch for the curry. These fritters would make great lunchbox snacks too!

A few steps are key in making this curry well:

The chickpea batter is made runny but not too watery as shown in the clip below:

While cooking the batter one needs to work fast, keeping the flame low and constantly stirring so it cooks evenly. You may need to add a few tablespoons of oil in this step if the mixture starts to stick to the pan

The cooked mixture needs to be transferred to a greased plate right away and then kneaded to form an almost smooth dough, the flattened out as shown below before cutting out small squares to be fried

Besan ki Sabzi

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 47 minutes

Serving Size: 3-4


  • Chickpea flour or Besan- 1 cup
  • Water - 1 cup and some extra
  • Ajwain- 1/2 tsp
  • Red chili powder-1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Cumin powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Coriander powder- 1/2tsp
  • Salt- 1.5 tsp or as per taste
  • Fried Onion paste- 3/4 cup ( fry onions in 1tsp oil till translucent, cool and then blend to make a paste)
  • Tomato paste- 1/2 cup
  • Ginger garlic paste- 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds-1 tsp
  • Bay leaf- 1
  • Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder- 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder- 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt- 1.5 tsp or as per taste
  • Oil- For deep drying and some extra
  • Chopped coriander leaves for garnish -1.5 tbsp


  1. In a deep bowl add chickpea flour, ajwain, red chili powder, Cumin powder- 1/4tsp, Coriander powder- 1/2tsp, Salt- 1.5tsp
  2. Gradually add water, mixing well with your clean hand till a smooth, pancake consistency batter , without any lumps is achieved ( see video for reference )
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non stick pan and add the prepared batter to it with constant stirring
  4. Cook on medium low flame with constant stirring till the batter starts to come together
  5. Turn off heat and transfer to a greased plate and knead with your hands to get an almost smooth dough
  6. Then flatten out the dough with your fingers gently till it reaches almost one centimetre thickness
  7. Cut out small two inch squares and deep fry on a medium flame, flipping sides till golden and drain them on a kitchen towel
  8. In the same pan heat almost approximately 1 tbsp oil and add bay leaf and cumin seeds
  9. Once the seeds start to splatter add the fried onion paste, ginger-garlic paste, 1/2 tsp cumin powder,1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tbsp garam masala powder and cook on a medium flame till oil starts to separate , then add tomato paste
  10. Cook for 3-5 minutes on a medium flame then add water and give it a nice mix , add salt as per taste
  11. Then add the fried chickpea squares to the gravy and let it simmer on a low flame uncovered for about 5 minutes
  12. The chickpea fries will absorb considerable amount of water so feel free to add some more hot water to the mix to thin out the gravy as per the desired consistency
  13. Turn off heat, garnish with chopped coriander and let it sit covered for 5 minutes
  14. Serve hot with rice or chapatis

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