Spicy Garlic Chickpea Curry

Spicy Garlic Chickpea Curry

Hello and welcome to This Spicy Life…

I am starting to get requests for recipes, and I LOVE IT! Please send me any requests and I will do my best to come up with an easy but tasty way to make whatever you are looking for (vegetarian, of course).

There have been lots of requests for a recipe for chickpea curry/chana masala. As with almost popular Indian dishes, it seems like there are as many variations to chana masala as there are chickpeas in the pot! The following is my version of a super easy, no fuss, no-exotic-ingredients recipe. It does take some time to cook, but the preparation itself is very simple. It’s a very flexible recipe too since it can be served with an Indian bread or with rice. Or as I did tonight, with potato patties (aloo tiki). My husband was very happy to see what we were having for dinner tonight since we usually only eat tikis at restaurants.

Just a few notes: Please use fresh garlic if at all possible as the taste is so much better, especially when it is a primary flavor. And don’t shy away from the amount of garlic called for unless you just don’t want a garlic flavor. The curry is cooked down and the garlic really mellows out quite a bit.

I normally would use tamarind paste but used fresh lemon juice as an experiment with great success. Feel free to substitute, however, I never use the bottled lemon juice so I’m not sure how it will compare in taste.

If you want to serve the masala with rice, add a little more water to the curry. I served this very dry (since we were eating it with the tikis) so it’s difficult to see the rich, deep red sauce that was created.

You can garnish this with all or some of the following: finely chopped raw onion or shallots, lemon wedges, chopped green chilis and fresh cilantro. I hope you enjoy!

Spicy Garlic Chickpea Curry

Serves 4

  • 2+ tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, chopped, reserve 3 tbsp for garnish
  • 6 tbsp garlic, chopped (don’t be scared!)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned) or 3/4 cup tomato puree
  • 1 – 2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste, optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste or 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups of water (approximately)
  • 3 1/2 cups chickpeas, cooked (or canned)
  • 1 tsp garam masala (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (reserve 1 tbsp for garnish)
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped (or to taste, optional for garnish)
  • 4 lemon wedges (optional for garnish)
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a big saucepan.
  2. Add cumin and celery seeds and allow to turn dark brown.
  3. Stir in the chopped onion (minus the reserved) and cook until it starts to brown on the edges. Add a bit more oil or water if it starts to stick.
  4. Stir in the garlic and allow to cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add a little bit more oil if it sticks to the pan. Don’t allow it to turn brown – keep an eye on it.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in the cayenne pepper (if using), cumin powder, coriander powder and salt.
  7. Stir in the tamarind paste (if substituting lemon juice, skip to the next step) and about 1/2 cup water and mix to incorporate.
  8. Turn the heat to medium-low and allow the tomato mixture to cook down thoroughly. The oil should start separating from the mixture. This may take around 10 minutes.
  9. Add the drained chickpeas along with 1 cup of water. Stir and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if the curry starts to become too dry.
  10. Turn off the heat and add the garam masala, cilantro (minus the reserved unit) and lemon juice (if not using tamarind paste). Stir well. Check for salt level.
  11. Garnish: you can either garnish individual servings or top the chana masala in your serving dish with a sprinkling of the garnishes.


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