Chana Saag (Chickpea and Spinach Curry)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
chana saag

One of my readers requested a version of chana saag — or chickpea and spinach curry — because she was not able to find one that pleased her palate. I did some research and came up with this most tasty version. This was my first time making it and chickpeas and spinach are always a perfect combination. My dinner guests were most pleased with the result. Don't let the number of ingredients discourage you from trying this popular Punjab dish that is really quite simple — and it is especially wonderful with corn flour roti.

Chana Saag (Chickpea and Spinach Curry)Chana Saag (Chickpea and Spinach Curry)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on December 13, 2011

A rich, creamy and flavorful Indian-spiced chickpea and spinach curry — a wonderful meal for special guests

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  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 to 4 fresh green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • a few cloves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried whole red chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • dash of chili powder
  • generous handful of dried curry leaves
  • 1 lb (450 g) spinach, washed and trimmed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 cups plain yogurt, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Rinse the chickpeas under cold running water and soak overnight in several inches of cold water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juiced added. Drain the chickpeas, transfer to a heavy-bottomed pan, and cover with several inches of fresh cold water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are buttery soft. Drain and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, dry roast the chickpea flour in a pan on medium-low heat, stirring or tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes or until the chickpea flour has darkened a shade or two and is fragrant.

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, stir and fry the onions for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Now add the fresh chilies, garlic and ginger and stir and fry for a minute or two. Toss in the ground cardamon, cloves, turmeric, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, coriander, cinnamon stick, dried chilies, cayenne, asafetida and chili powder. Stir and fry for a few minutes.

  • Now add the curry leaves, stir and pack in the spinach and cook until it is wilted. Add the chickpeas and the tomato and cover and simmer for a few minutes. Next mix in the garam masala, whisked yogurt and dry-roasted chickpea flour. Take care to stir often for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the salt, stir, remove the cinnamon stick and serve on a bed of hot fresh white rice.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Other chickpea recipes you may enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Baked Paneer and Chickpea Cutlets
Chickpea Flour Curry
Chickpea and Quinoa Salad with Lemon and Tahini
Chickpeas in a Spicy Mint Sauce

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Soma Sengupta said...

Great main course for vegetarians. Very protein rich and satisfying.

Anonymous said...

Beans and greens, a very satisfying combination! Am imagining trying it out with chard...

Killer On The Plate said...

Lisa this is a really tempting combination of proteins with greens. It would be a good diversion from the usual saag paneer

Rita said...

I am learning so much about vegetarian cooking on your blog.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I love how you stick to it Lisa until you find the perfect combination. I am sure your reader will be very pleased.

Jessica | Cajunlicious said...

So happy I found you on fellow foodies blog, you've got yourself a new follower! xo Jessica @ Cajunlicious I also have a vegetarian/vegan blog

anthony stemke said...

This is a great meal, I love chickpeas and spinach and the spices are wonderful.

test it comm said...

This sounds both tasty and nice and healthy.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the recipe! I made this last night, and it was so good. I did cut the heat to suit my taste. You really like things HOT!! Peace, Stephanie