Tangy chickpea curry

Tangy chickpea curry

I Love Curry
Jonathan Gregson

Whenever I translate the Indian name of this dish literally into English it comes out as ‘bean curry’, which is misleadingly and depressingly reminiscent of the sandal-wearing hippies of the 1960s and 1970s and detracts from its Indian roots and utter deliciousness. A lovely, flavourful dish, it’s great with Bhatura for a fabulous weekend lunch. But I often eat it with buttered wholemeal bread for a divine, simple meal.


Quantity Ingredient
12g fresh root ginger, peeled weight
4 fat garlic cloves
2 largish tomatoes, quartered
5-6 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves
4 green cardamom pods
1 black cardamom pod
2 large shards cinnamon
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2-3 green chillies, whole but pierced
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
salt, to taste
2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2-2/3 teaspoon tamarind paste, or dried pomegranate powder, or to taste
handful finely chopped fresh coriander


  1. Blend together the ginger, garlic and tomatoes with a little water until smooth (I use a stick blender). Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon and half the cumin seeds and cook until they release their aroma and start to crackle. Add the green chillies and onion and cook until the onion is well browned. Add the tomato paste with the turmeric, ground coriander, chilli powder and salt and cook over a moderate to high heat until the oil comes out at the sides (around 15 minutes), stirring often.
  3. Meanwhile, use the remaining cumin seeds to make roasted cumin powder. Add it to the pot.
  4. Add the chickpeas and 500ml water. Bring to a boil then simmer over a medium heat for seven or eight minutes. Stir in the garam masala and tamarind paste. Mash a few of the chickpeas on the side of the pan to thicken the sauce a little. Taste for seasoning and tartness, adjusting if necessary, then sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve.

To make roasted cumin powder

  • roast cumin seeds in a small dry pan for about 40 seconds, stirring constantly, until they have darkened quite a bit. Grind to a fine powder.
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