Gujarati Black Chickpea Curry

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Gujarati Black Chickpea Curry

A smaller and dark-skinned cousin of chickpeas, black chickpeas have a denser texture and stronger, earthier aroma and taste. Black chickpeas should be soaked for at least 12 hours before cooking. Black chickpeas are cooked with other strong flavors and featured in thick and hearty curries. The important thing is to make sure they are boiled well until soft. They tend to take longer than yellow chickpeas. I don't eat them very often, and I'm not sure why, because they are very enjoyable with a pleasant texture.

From Jagruti, we learn that this is a classic curry recipe of Gujrat. It is made without onion or garlic and has sweet, tangy flavours from the addition of tamarind and tomato and it's nice and spicy too, without being overpowering. It's also dairy-free, high in fiber, and goes especially well with Indian flatbreads, such as roti, and some steaming hot basmati rice. It's also easy to prepare with staples you likely have on hand if you have a well-stocked pantry as I do.

Gujarati Black Chickpea CurryGujarati Black Chickpea Curry
Recipe by
Adapted from Jagruti's Cooking Odyssey
Cuisine: North Indian
Published on June 6, 2018

An earthy north Indian curry made with flavorful brown chickpeas simmered in a thick, rich and spicy aromatic tomato gravy

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours

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  • 1 1/4 cup dried black (brown) chickpeas (kala channa)
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp, preferably seedless (*see note)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 4 small whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida
  • small handful of dried curry leaves, crumbled
  • 2 fresh red or green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri or other chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon jaggery or coconut sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • sea salt to taste
  • handful of fresh cilantro or parsley, trimmed and chopped
  • Rinse the chickpeas and cover with water. Let the chickpeas soak for at least 10 to 12 hours. Drain and rinse, transfer to a large saucepan, and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender — about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Drain and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, soak the tamarind pulp in 2/3 cup of hot water for 30 minutes. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and transfer both the tamarind and soaking water to the strainer. Push as much tamarind as you can through the strainer and scrape the bottom of the strainer to get any tamarind residue into the bowl. Discard the rough fibers and any seeds that remain in the strainer. Set aside.

  • Heat the ghee or oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds, cloves and cinnamon stick. Fry for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mustard seeds begin to splutter and pop. Toss in the asafetida, curry leaves, chilies and ginger, and stir for a few minutes.

  • Now add the turmeric, chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne and paprika, and stir for 1 minute, until fragrant.

  • Stir in the tomato and tomato paste and simmer for another few minutes. Add the cooked chickpeas to the pan and pour in 1 1/2 cups water. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. When the gravy begins to thicken, stir in the tamarind water, jaggery or coconut sugar if using, and garam masala, and simmer for another 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often, until thickened. Add more water if necessary, but the goal here is to aim for a nice thick gravy.

  • Remove from heat, discard the cloves and cinnamon stick, and stir in salt to taste. Serve hot garnished with fresh chopped cilantro or parsley. This dish goes well with fresh cooked white rice or your favorite Indian flat breads and a vegetable side.

  • Note: If you don't have tamarind, then add a few tablespoons of fresh lemon juice along with a 1/2 teaspoon of amchoor powder instead, but you won't quite get the same sweet tart flavor that is unique to tamarind.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Black Chickpea Curry

Other recipes featuring black chickpeas from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Chickpeas, Kidney Beans and Lentils with a Spicy Tomato Sauce
Black and Yellow Chickpeas in a Sweet and Spicy Sauce
Black and Yellow Chickpeas with a Coconut Chili Sauce
Black Chickpeas with Roasted Coconut and Fragrant Spices

On the top of the reading stack: Blind Date (Kosinski, Jerzy)

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