Spicy Indian Chickpeas

Serves 6 to 8
The alluring flavors of Indian food, laced with sweet spices, are an excellent introduction to more unusual ethnic tastes. This version of sweet-spiced chickpeas, with its robust, complex spice flavors, snares even the pickiest eaters. Hot or cold, this dish is an instant hit at every potluck it attends. Serve for lunch or dinner with either Indian-style bread such as naan or plain white rice, and accompany with the simple Cucumber Yogurt Salad on page 109.


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups), plus 1 small onion, sliced, for garnish
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 3-inch-square piece of peeled fresh ginger, minced (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained (1 cup liquid reserved)
  • 1 large tomato, sliced in wedges, for garnishing
  • 3 hot fresh green chiles, sliced lengthwise and seeded, for garnishing


  1. Heat large skillet and swirl in the oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute until soft and lightly golden, 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, garam masala, cumin, coriander, cloves, cayenne, and salt. Add to the onion mixture; cook and stir in the spices to lightly toast, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another few minutes to combine. The color should be dark red.
  3. Add the chickpeas plus the cup of reserved liquid. Stir to combine. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, removing the cover in the last few minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for a minute to allow the beans to soak up the spice flavors. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Serve in a shallow bowl garnished with the sliced onion, tomato wedges, and slices of green chiles.
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