Smoky and Sour Brussels Sprouts

I love Brussels sprouts.  They are the vegetable I look forward to the most when Fall rolls around.  I didn’t grow up eating them so my love affair with this mini cabbage started fairly recently.  I love to serve them simply pan fired in garlic butter until they are golden brown with an almost nut like quality.  They grace my table to accompany other great seasonal dishes like pecan crusted fried chicken and meat loaf.

I was shopping for groceries recently and had my first siting of the sprouts for the season and just had to buy them.  Only problem was I was going to be making Indian – chicken tikka masala, in fact – and immediately thought that this was great motivation for me to come up with an Indian preparation of my favorite green veg.  I wanted them to be smoky and tangy and after ruminating a bit I came up with a pretty simple plan.  I would parboil the little green orbs, then thrown them on the grill (or in a hot skillet) and get them a little bit charred.  The smoky sprouts would then be tossed with butter, a hit of fresh lemon juice, and the amazing Indian spice blend – chaat masala.  This preparation is very similar to how my family eats corn pretty much all summer.

A quick note on chaat masala – this spice blend is served with Indian street food or chaat and has a sour, complex taste.  Most chaat vendors make their own spice blends but generally home cooks buy already blended spice mixes.  Commercial chaat masala usually contains dried mango powder (aamchur), cumin, coriander, red chili powder, asafoetida, dried ginger, and black salt (kala namak.)  If you don’t have access to a local Indian market you can always try amazon.  My favorite is chunky chaat masala by MDH.

The first time I made this I thew the sprouts on the grill in one of those perforated grill pans.  If you don’t have one and you like to grill, I highly suggest investing in one.  It makes it so easy to get the grill flavor on smaller veggies.  The second time I made this I went stove top and threw them in a hot pan with a good slick of oil.  Both cooking methods were delicious but the grill had a smokier flavor so I would go that route if you have the option of both.

The resulting dish was delicious and a brighter take on my usual sprout preparations.  It would pair beautifully with any Indian meal or even add a unique flavor to a traditional holiday spread.  Best of all it is SO easy and requires only a handful of ingredients.  Oh, and my son gobbled them up as well so these sprouts have the endorsement of the preschool set.


  • 1lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbl grapeseed oil (you can use another flavorless oil as well)
  • 1 tbl butter
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp chaat masala

1.  Bring a large pot of water to boil with the salt.

2. Once the water is boiling add the sprouts and boil for 4 minutes.  Do not over boil or you will end up with that terrible over cooked cabbage taste.

3. Drain the sprouts and let cool.  Once they are cool, pat them dry.  This important so you get crunchy, charred bits in your finished dish so don’t skip this part.

3.  If you are planning to grill the sprouts, heat the your grill over medium heat. Toss the sprouts with the oil and grill (preferably in a grill pan) until they are all charred and golden.

If you are going stove top, heat a large skillet with the oil.  When the oil is shimmering, add the sprouts in one, snug layer.  Do not disturb them for 1-2 minutes.  After that toss and keep cooking until they are uniformly charred and golden.

4.  Transfer sprouts to serving bowl, add the chaat masala and juice of half the lemon.  Taste for salt and spice and add more seasoning if required.


    • says

      If your sprouts are soft, I would take extra care to makes sure they are super dry before you grill or pan fry them. And one of the main ingredients in chaat masala is black salt which is quite sulphury. That is actually what I love about it. But it is too overwhelming, I would try cutting down the chaat masala (maybe by half) and adding more butter. Let me know if that works!

Leave a Reply