Besan Tarkari (Besan bhaji)

Today I am posting a recipe from Odisha. Every day this month I will post a recipe from a different state in India.

Odisha is a coastal state in south eastern India. Parts of coastal Odisha are home to large nesting grounds for the olive ridley sea turtle. Some of these are open to visitors. Wouldn't it be nice to visit this coast during nesting season and see hundreds of sea turtles? And even better to be there when the little turtles hatch and make their way to the water?

Back to the recipe: I found this recipe very interesting because cooked besan cubes are used in place of a vegetable. I have since found similar recipes in a lot of neighboring states. I usually do not leave a lot liquid in the gravy. If you like more liquid increase the amount of water.

You will need
1 cup besan
1 tsp. baking soda
1 medium potato
1 tsp. sugar
1 medium onion
2 tomatoes
1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tbsp. coriander cumin powder
1 tsp. paprika
2 pods cardamom
salt to taste
olive oil

In a mixing bowl whisk together the besan, baking soda and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt with a cup of water. Transfer to a pan and place the pan on low to medium heat. Whisk to prevent lumps as the mixture heats up.

Keep whisking on medium heat to thicken the mixture. Then turn off heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Transfer contents to a mixing bowl and knead well. The mixture will be sticky. Continue to knead and it will come together. Pour a teaspoon of olive oil on the palm of your hand and finish kneading.

Let it rest for 15 minutes. Then transfer to a flat surface and flatten.

Cut up the flattened besan dough into cubes.

Heat oil in a pan and cook the cubes until brown on both sides.

Wash, peel and cube the potatoes. Cook them in a little oil in the same pan.

Keep aside the besan cubes and potatoes. Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan. When hot add a teaspoon of sugar and caramelize it. Chop the onions and add them into the pan. Let them cook on medium low heat.

Meanwhile chop the tomatoes. When the onions are translucent and slightly brown add the ginger garlic paste and the tomatoes. Add the turmeric powder, coriander cumin powder and paprika. Shell the cardamom and pound the seeds to a powder. Add them to the tomato mixture.

Cook the tomatoes for a couple minutes. Add water and let the mixture come to a boil. Simmer until the gravy thickens and the tomatoes are mushy. Ensure there is plenty of liquid if not add a little warm water.

Add the potatoes and cook them for a few minutes. Add more water if needed. Then add the cooked besan cubes and cook for a few minutes.

If you like gravy then add more water. I prefer semi dry consistency so I let most of the water evaporate.

Serve hot with poli.


  1. like how you have made this dish!! combo of potato and besan in one dish is good!!

  2. Besan squares and potato curry is new. I am more of a gravy person and would prefer some gravy. Looks delicious.

  3. Varda I am loving this dish..a similar dish is made in Saurashtra region of tastes absolutely yum..only they have more gravy.

  4. Very different and super delicious tarkari, beautifully done, i would love to have some rite now.

  5. loved the step by step pictures for this, it is very interesting gravy, am bookmarking this

  6. Very nicely I said this is there in Bengali cuisine in almost similar way and a slightly diff method in TN..its amazing how each cuisine has similar dishes, with their own touch!..your pictures surely looks so inviting..

  7. My MIL makes similar dish, besan chikki is the same, but the gravy used is a little different. Your version looks yummy!!

  8. I made the same. Yours looks so nice...

  9. Looks yum. It kept reminding me of dhokar dalna I dont know why. I am sure it tatsted amazingly delicious.

  10. Good one. It is interesting as different regions use this chickpea flour for these gravy dishes.

  11. Yummy looking besan tarkari,sounds inviting...

  12. Very different recipe for me....looks very good Varada!

  13. besan bhaji is so interesting...would love to try

  14. We made something similar for another state in ICC.Shows the similarities in cuisine throughout the country!

  15. very delicious and lip smacking tarkari with besan, looks very tempting dear :) loved the pictorials !!

  16. besan tarkari looks inviting. very novel gravy dish.. would be nice to scoop up with some hot rotis

  17. Interesting curry. It is surprising to note how versatile ingredient besan is.


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