Chickpea masala

Chickpea masala

Spice Kitchen
Jana Liebenstein

A Delhi and Punjabi street-food favourite, you can find chickpea masala and bhaturas – fluffy, fried breads – at almost every little street café and cart. The chickpea masala is arranged in a mouth-watering mound, and scattered with lemon wedges, whole green chillies, slices of red onion and pieces of tomato. I might never have got through university without my regular visit to the chickpea and bhatura vendor. There was always an eagerly waiting, impatient queue. Enjoy this dish as part of an Indian meal or serve with Bhaturas for brunch or lunch.


Quantity Ingredient
200g dried chickpeas
or 1 x 400g chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 black tea bag, (see Note)
1/2-1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely shredded
2 green chillies, slit to just below the stalk area, top and seeds left intact
1 tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
pinch turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground amchur
1/2 teaspoon Garam masala
small handful coriander leaves, chopped
lemon wedges, to garnish
green chillies, to garnish
red onion quarters, to garnish
fresh ginger, julienned, to garnish


  1. If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight in a large bowl of water. Drain, then put in a large saucepan with the tea bag, salt and plenty of fresh water. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook over a medium heat for 1–2 hours, until tender. Skim off the residue as it rises to the surface during cooking. Drain the cooked chickpeas, reserving 250 ml of the cooking liquid.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Sauté the onion, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. Stir in the garlic, ginger and green chillies and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the tomato, ground coriander and cumin, turmeric, chilli powder and amchur and stir to combine, then cook for 2–3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and their reserved cooking liquid, or the drained canned chickpeas and 250 ml water. Continue cooking uncovered for 30 minutes.
  5. When the liquid is almost absorbed, finish the dish by sprinkling in the garam masala and chopped coriander and stirring through.
  6. Serve garnished with lemon wedges, green chillies, onion quarters and julienned ginger


  • The tea bag gives this dish its traditional dark colour and also a very faint tea flavour. If you use canned chickpeas, you omit the step of cooking them with the tea bag. Even so, you should still obtain a fairly good result.
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