Tender Chickpeas in Golden Karhi Sauce

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Tender Chickpeas in Golden Karhi Sauce

It's Yamuna Devi week here at Lisa's Kitchen. It's no secret to my regular readers how much I adore Ms. Devi's recipes. In fact, her cookbook Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking was my very first introduction to Indian cuisine shortly after I became a vegetarian. Until I received this book as a gift, I'd never even tried traditional Indian cooking. I grew up just outside of a small town north of Toronto with little to offer when it came to fine dining, and my mom, while an excellent cook and baker, didn't really experiment with ethnic foods. I've not turned back since discovering the distinction, flavor and variety that characterizes Indian cuisine and though I enjoy experimenting with various ethnic cuisines, Indian cooking remains my favorite.

I'm starting the week with a tasty chickpea recipe from Lord Krishna's Cuisine. This is not the only cookbook that Yamuna Devi has written, and I own more than one of her wonderful books, but for this week, I'm going to focus on recipes from this cookbook. As I've noted before, I frequently refer to the book as the bible of Indian cooking. Containing recipes of varying complexity, making it perfect for novices and experienced cooks alike, Lord Krishna's Cuisine features over 500 traditional Indian recipes for beans and legumes, grains, breads, vegetables, cheese, chutneys and sauces, snacks and sweets, savories, and beverages, in addition to a very helpful glossary of terms and definitions. Detailed descriptions precede each section and recipe, complete with serving suggestions and information regarding the origins and traditions of the dishes presented. The reader is also treated to many adorable illustrations. Good reading and good eats!

This recipe from North India for chickpeas in a golden karhi sauce has long been one of my favorites. Ms. Devi recommends serving the dish with piquant lemon rice. I served it with her rice and cauliflower pilaf.

Tender Chickpeas in Golden Karhi Sauce (Kabli Chana Karhi)Tender Chickpeas in Golden Karhi Sauce (Kabli Chana Karhi)
Recipe by
Adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Cuisine: Indian
Published on February 18, 2008

Plump, tender chickpeas simmered in a golden creamy, spicy and tangy seasoned yogurt sauce

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom pods
Karhi sauce:
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour (besan)
  • 2 cups plain whole fat yogurt
  • 2 cups buttermilk, heavy cream or milk
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 8 curry leaves, fresh or dried
  • small handful of fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • small handful of dried whole red chilies
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak overnight in enough water to cover. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are tender.

  • Drain the chickpeas, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Remove the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and bay leaf and set the chickpeas aside.

  • Combine the chickpea flour and water, whey or yogurt, buttermilk, cream or milk, with the turmeric, ground coriander, salt, curry leaves, 1 tablespoon of the fresh cilantro or parsley, and the reserved cooking liquid. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and well blended.

  • Pour the mixture into a large heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for another 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Add the cooked chickpeas and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes. Cover and remove from heat.

  • Next, prepare the seasoning. In a small saucepan, dry roast the dried red chilies and cumin seeds over moderate heat for a few minutes. Add the ghee, butter or oil, cook for another 2 minutes, and pour the seasonings into the chickpeas. Cover and let the curry sit for a few minutes. Stir in the remaining coriander or parsley and serve hot.

Makes 6 servings

Tender Chickpeas in Golden Karhi Sauce


Lucy said...

That golden gravy looks sublime.

If it wasn't so damn hot here, this would be our dinner this evening!

What a week this will be!

Lisa Turner said...


I envy you your warm weather! It's freezing cold in my apartment.

I had a suspicion you would like the theme for this week. I must admit, I had you in mind when I thought of the idea. Hope you enjoy the spread :)

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Hi Lisa,
I have awarded you an award for having such a fab blog and for eing such a fab friend! Come collect it!
Love Holler

ServesYouRight said...

OMG - that looks fabulous! Yum!

Astra Libris said...

Ohhh, goodness, this is the most delicious looking and sounding recipe I've come across in a while - wow! I adore chickpeas... I can't wait to fix this recipe... It's printing now! :-) I'm so glad you introduced me to this cookbook, too - it's definitely going on my wish list! :-)

btw, I'm emailing my post for No Croutons Required tonight - I'm so excited to participate for the first time! It's such a terrific event! (hmmm... my submission has chickpeas... maybe I really am chickpea obsessed... :-)

Lisa Turner said...


You will have to let me know how you like the recipe. I'm a huge chickpea fan and very much look forward to your submission.

Unknown said...


This is such a yummy delicacy. Thank you so much for such mouth watering recipe. I prepared it last night, and wow, just delicious. Blogging about it right now.

Shanthi Krishnakumar said...

Yummy and creamy

harini-jaya said...

Just hopped in again to let u know how much we loved this (though I made the kadhi as per the spices we usually use, addition of chickpeas was the winner!) !! thanks for the recipe.