Spicy Chickpea Curry

In North West India where I grew up, chickpeas are cooked in two ways. One is the Punjabi chana masala, in which chickpeas are drenched in a spicy gravy of onion, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. The other is the classic Pindi chana (from its city of birth, Rawalpindi, now in Pakistan), which is served dry and tangy, with no gravy and a dark black color.

My own version is a hybrid of the two, with a tomato-yogurt gravy and a homemade chana masala spice mix.

Ingredients for the spice mix (makes 1 cup. Chana masala can also be bought in Indian grocery stores.) I have this recipe written down from an unknown recipe book, possibly The Indian Vegetarian by Neelam Batra.

– 3 tbsp dried pomegranate seeds
– 3 tbsp ground cumin
– 2 tbsp ground coriander
– 1 tbsp ground fenugreek seeds
– 1 tbsp ground ginger
– 1 tbsp mango powder
– 1 tbsp tamarind powder
– 1 tbsp black salt
– 2 tsp asfoetida
– 2 tsp ground black peppercorns
– 2 tsp ground carom seeds
– 1 tsp ground red chili pepper
– 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Place all the spices in a small, heavy iron skillet and roast on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until brown and fragrant. Ground spices burn quickly, so be careful. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Once you have the spice mix, making a chickpea curry is easy.

You'll need-

– 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (or 6 cups canned)
– 1/4 cup sour yogurt
– 1/4 cup tomato puree
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 tsp cumin seeds
– 1/4 tsp asfoetida
– 3-4 tbsp of the chana masala spice mix
– 1 tbsp ginger-green chili paste
– salt to taste
– Cilantro and slivered ginger for garnish

– Cook the soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker ( twenty minutes after pressure builds up) or in a pan with 4 cups of water, and 1 tsp salt, until firm but cooked through. Canned chickpeas do not need to be cooked.
– Heat the oil in a sauce pan. Add the bay leaf, asfoetida, cumin and wait till they sizzle.
– Add the spice mix and the ginger green chili paste and stir for a few seconds.
– Add the yogurt and the tomato puree and bring it to a boil.
– Add the chickpeas with the cooking water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for ten minutes.
– Adjust seasoning. Garnish with cilantro and ginger.
– Serve with yogurt, plain rice and flatbreads.

If you like chickpeas and you like spice, you're going to LOVE chana masala. The picture of soaked chickpeas goes to Jugalbandi for Click May 2008- beans and lentils.

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About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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17 Responses to Spicy Chickpea Curry

  1. Aubrey says:

    My stomach hasn't been happy all afternoon, but I LOVE chickpeas, and this recipe sounds so good, its inherent yumminess has fought through my midday nausea.
    (just two more hours at work – I can do it!)

  2. bee says:

    this looks yummy. i love your cheerful yellow template.

  3. Purplesque says:

    πŸ™‚ I hope you feel better soon. This was really good..I'm not really a chickpea curry person, but ended up having a second helping.

  4. Oh so fine– the recipe sounds marvelous!I eat canned chick peas (I know — not the same thing….) every day.LOVE them.

  5. Purplesque says:

    I keep a stack of canned chickpeas as well..the dry ones need an overnight soak, and I hardly ever plan ahead. Try the spicy ones with canned ones, if you like..I'm sure you'll love them.

  6. I love chickpeas and especially spicy chickpeas. This is my dish! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. I've already saved it. Great photos as usual!

  7. Purplesque says:

    Thanks, Singing Horse, I had the same reaction to your English muffins. πŸ™‚

  8. Emjay says:

    I have missed your recipes and food photos – so welcome back. I love Indian chick pea dishes and your photos, especially the top one, are great. Do you ever use fresh pomegranate seeds?

  9. Purplesque says:

    πŸ™‚ All the time. I love to eat them raw, add them to salads and yogurt, and use them in multi-colored rice pilaf, my mom's specialty.

  10. Emjay says:

    Do you eat the flesh raw then or use it in one of your recipes? We used to eat them when I was young but I don't see them here very often – maybe at Whole Foods….. but they seem expensive.

  11. Purplesque says:

    Oops..when I said 'seeds', I was actually referring to the arils, flesh included. I don't recall any recipe with just the fresh seeds, but the dried ones are used as a spice.We ate a lot of pomegranates in India. For twenty five cents you can get a glassful of fresh squeezed pomegranate juice by the roadside. There is still a flourishing tree in our yard back home! Here, I've seen them a few times but they're usually quite expensive.

  12. julie says:

    This looks great! Mango powder… mmm.. I'm gonna have to keep my eye out for that one. Thanks for all the food education. πŸ™‚

  13. Purplesque says:

    πŸ™‚ I can never figure out how to start a post, and usually end up with a food story. Mango powder is available in Indian groceries, also known as amchoor (um-choor).

  14. geonerd20 says:

    This looks like a really good recipe for channa masala. It is a little more complicated that the one I usually follow, but I think I am going to try this one out soon. If I may make one suggestion…..
    Tie together in a small square of cheese cloth: A few peppercorns, couple bay leaves, a few cloves, 1-in cinnamon stick, a few cardamon. Drop this spice bundle into the pressure cooker along with the soaked garbanzo beans, and then cook the beans. The beans get a really good flavor, your house smells really nice, and you dont have to worry about picking out the spices while eating!!!

    http://www.azjewelrystore.com
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  15. Purplesque says:

    Thank you! The bouquet garni is a great idea.. I must confess I prefer to just grind my spices and add them right in (all except the bay leaf). Less work, more flavor.Stopped by your blog..the copper jewelry looks awesome!

  16. geonerd20 says:

    Just to clarify….the bouquet garni is not a substitute for the ground spices. The bouquet garni just adds another layer of flavor to the dish. Thanks for the recipe.

  17. Purplesque says:

    Hmm..must try it and see what happens. I added a dried red chilli to some black chickpeas I boiled the other day, and it definitely gave a different flavor as compared to the ground chilli powder I added later. Thanks for the tip!

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