Khatta (Boondi with Besan Amchur Masala)

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

Himachal Pradesh as the name suggests is nestled in the Himalayas. Pahadi is another name for everything that comes from Himachal Pradesh. Pahadi literally means 'of the mountain'. Chamba, Shimla, Kullu and Kinnaur are some of the well known districts of this state.

Though I have never been to Himachal Pradesh, it always reminds me of one of my good friends from school. She moved after high school and we lost touch over the years. Social media has reconnected us only a couple months ago. Hopefully we can get together someday.

While in middle school we had danced to a pahadi song during the Republic Day annual inter school competition that was held after all schools marched smartly through town. Here is a picture. I post it only to showcase the beautiful clothes but in case you wondered we took first place.

To the recipe of the day: Khatta translates to sour. This dish has a mildly sour taste that is very appealing. My daughter and I loved it, my husband not so much. The sourness is from amchur (mango peel) powder and goes very well with all the other flavors.

The recipe is very simple. You take a bunch of different flavors in powder form with besan as a base. You cook it all together in water to form a sauce and then add the boondis. As the sauce was cooking I did a taste test and could tell something was missing. After I added the boondis (fried besan drops) it was as if the missing piece of the flavor puzzle was complete. Amazing!

The flavor of this dish keeps developing for hours. It tasted so much better the next day. The first day I would say Khatta was more a condiment than a side especially with poli. The next day it could have been the primary side dish.

If as a child you liked to peel tamarind pods and nibble on the raw pulp or if you liked raw mango then you will love this dish.

You will need
3 tbsp. amchur powder
4 tbsp. besan
2 tbsp. coriander powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. turmeric powder
a few leaves cilantro
salt to taste
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp. asafetida
2/3 cup boondis (I got these from the Indian store)

If you do not have coriander powder, roast coriander seeds in a pan and grind them to powder when cool. Collect all the spices in the right measurement with the besan.

Heat oil in a pan and add the fenugreek seeds. When they start turning a darker color add the asafetida, all the other spices and besan. Roast them for a minute.

Add 5 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil stirring occasionally. Let it boil for at least 20 minutes and thickens a lot.

Add boondi to the mixture and let it continue to boil for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let it cool. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools. The boondis absorb a lot of liquid.

Serve with rice or poli.


  1. Hi Varada! I cannot tell you how much I love Indian food, culture and people! I am sure I was Indian in a previous life ha ha. I have never been but it is one of my dreams to visit and maybe live there...who knows it might come true someday! As for the food I try to eat at an Indian restaurant at least once in a fortnight! It is difficult at the moment because in Zagreb (where I live now) there is only one but still very good restaurant and their cuisine is mostly from the south. I would love to try something from Himachal Pradesh!

    1. Maria, So nice to hear from you. Dreams do come true so you never know. :) Good luck with cooking Indian food at home. I am sure you will enjoy it.

  2. Such a homey and delicious dish!!

  3. Lovely recipe...I too have a Khatta recipe but the version is different...the flavors are really nice.

  4. I am one of those who peeled tamarind pods and nibble on the raw pulp and raw mango. I am just salivating reading the ingredient list and looking at the pictures. Nice recipe.

  5. My mouth is watering while reading ur post, i can happily have this sour dish..irresistible.

  6. this is a nice recipe quick and easy and will go along with both rice and nice pick...loved your pahadi dance dress...enlarge the pic if possible, it is nice for the post

  7. I had shortlisted this recipe too to try but never got around to doing it.. looks like a hit

  8. Such a huge quantity of amchur. Must have tasted as per the name. The addition of boondhis makes it so much interesting. Must try it...

  9. Varada, you have bought in a different tough to all the states by sharing your pictures of art and your memories..that school pic brings back many such memories for myself..very nice...and when Madra seem to be the dish of the day..yours is refreshing..:)

  10. Very tempting dish, Varada. I have never come across this and this sounds my kind of a dish khatta!!

  11. Vardha I am bookmarking this one the girls will love it. and as for the dance I knew you will get the first place.

  12. what an interesting curry - love the rich color of the gravy

  13. That curry sounds so tangy and delicious.

  14. That is an interesting dish. BTW, don't that boondi get soggy by next day?

  15. That is again such an interesting recipe! I would never think of using boondhis to make a side dish :)

  16. very irresistible khatta with bhoondi very nice read your post :) tempting curry to indulge !!

  17. A very different dis. I can imagine juicy tangy boondi drops in my mouth now!! Very tempting!


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