Chickpeas in a Tomato and Tamarind Gravy with Spices

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Often I have been asked where my inspiration comes from in the kitchen. Plenty and varied it is. At times, when I am having a sleepless night, I will draft a recipe in my head and jot it down in the morning. At other times, I will get an idea and fuse a few recipes ideas into one that can surely be said to be my own. I enjoy looking through cookbooks and, time permitting, visiting my favorite blogs for ideas that I can adapt from and enjoy. At this point in time, after cooking for many years, I understand the correct balance of flavors and proportions that will please the senses of most of my friends and myself and husband.

chickpeas chutney

Oddly enough, this food blogger who cooks up creations that receive rave reviews does not like to eat too much at a time. Not a bad thing when you consider it. Why tax your system with a huge meal? All the same, if I am not really that hungry, my own food is the cure to that problem most of the time. I don't mean to sound arrogant here, but just saying that I know what I like. This thick chickpea dish is almost like a chutney and certainly pairs well with grains or wrapped up in a flatbread.

chickpeas with tamarind

 Chickpeas in a Tomato and Tamarind Gravy with Spices Chickpeas in a Tomato and Tamarind Gravy with Spices
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on June 5, 2012

Chickpeas simmered in a thick and earthy but tangy and spicy tomato and tamarind gravy

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  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 - 5 black cardamon pods, crushed
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cups water

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds or dried thyme
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch of asafetida
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 large tomato, diced

  • 3 fresh green chilies, seeded and sliced into small strips
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, trimmed and chopped
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in several inches of water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Drain and rinse, and transfer to a large saucepan along with the ginger, garlic, baking soda, cardamon pods, cinnamon, bay leaves and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are tender. Mash some of the chickpeas with a fork or potato masher.

  • Heat the oil or ghee over medium heat in a frying pan. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and ajwain seeds or dried thyme. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Toss in the onion and stir and fry for 5 minutes or until the onion begins to brown. Now add the spices and salt and stir and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook until the mixture is thickened. Transfer to the pan of chickpeas along with the chilies, tamarind and half of the chopped herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat slightly. and cook for another 15 minutes or until thickened.

  • Garnish with the remaining herbs and serve hot with fresh cooked rice or flatbreads.

Makes 6 servings
chickpeas tamarind chutney

More Chickpea dishes you are sure to enjoy from my Vegetarian Cooking site:
Baked Paneer and Chickpea Cutlets
Chana Saag
Chickpea Vindaloo
Chickpeas with Mushrooms

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janet @ the taste space said...

This looks right up my alley, too, Lisa! I still find Indian cuisine slightly mysterious since there are so many spices and not sure if I can recognize everyone's voice in the chorus just yet. It will come, eventually... :) Until then I will follow your recipes. ;)

Spicy-Aroma said...

wonderful recipe..looks super delicious!

Jenny said...

hello Lisa :)
Wow, I can't help drooling. I just love this chickpeas gravy
Well done!
If you submitted your chickpeas in tomato and tamarind gravy photos to , I'll bet they will make you on the home page.
Gosh, you have made me sooo hungry !

Micronutrients said...

Mouthwatering recipe. Yummy.......!!

Anonymous said...

oh yum! that sounds so delicious! hearty and fabulous! thanks for sharing!

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

Sounds terrific! And I just love your photos. This would be a difficult dish to make look good but you scored a major hit!


Mango Ginger said...

So tasty - I love tamarind and this is such a good use of it. Definitely going to make this x

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I always enjoy your posts Lisa!

ALISSA67 said...

WOW!! I just finished making this and I have to say the flavours are bang on. Ususally I add extra spices to recipes as I never find them bold enough but this one is excellent. It's my 1st time using dried chickpeas and I think I overcooked them a bit but it's OK as the masala gravy is really creamy.
Thanks so much for posting I will be making this again and again !