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A dish for all seasons: Spicy Chickpea Curry

chickpea curry bowl

I realize that this curry, relying as it does on pantry staples, seems a little odd for the time of year. It’s hearty and filling and doesn’t require any fresh produce at all, nor half the attention I lavish on other dishes during these warmer months. What can I say, though? Sometimes I find myself craving something warm and spicy, and sometimes I just plain can’t be bothered with all the washing, chopping and cooking that (most) fresh veggies ask of me. At times like that, whatever the season, I turn to this recipe.

I’ve been making this dish, or versions thereof, for about as long as Andrew and I have been living in this flat. We love Indian food, and though there are many great curry houses in the area (six in a three-block radius; it is London, after all), all the curries, sidedishes, naans and rice can eventually take their toll, on wallet and waistline. Sometimes, we prefer to stay in and have something a bit simpler. This recipe is quick, delicious and healthy; served with brown rice and a dollop of Greek yogurt, it’s almost better than the restaurant fare. 

curry spices

Fantastically easy, it’s also made up entirely of things you’re likely to find in your kitchen cupboards at this moment. I don’t think of it as any particular kind of curry- that is, I’m not sure if it qualifies as a Chana Masala or any other variety. Rather, it’s just a combination of ingredients and flavours that I like, and usually have lying around: canned chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and a generous dose of dried spices. 

It certainly doesn’t disappoint for its lack of authenticity, though, and I defy any curry lover not to like this dish. It might be hearty and filling, but it’s not heavy; the fresh ginger and coriander keep things bright and vibrant. So don’t feel like you have to wait for the winter to make it. I certainly don’t. 

chickpea curry bowls

  • Spicy Chickpea Curry
  • serves 4
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1″ piece of ginger, minced 
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    1 tsp. ground coriander
    1/2 tsp. turmeric
    1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
    1/2 tsp. chili flakes
    1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
    2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes 
    1 tsp. sea salt
    chopped fresh coriander, to serve
    plain greek yogurt, to serve 
  • 1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat (I use a dutch oven). When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for five minutes, until soft and translucent. 

    2. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for another minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, chili flakes and cinnamon, and cook for another minute. 

    3. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and salt to the pan and stir. If the mixture seems too dry, add a bit of water, maybe half a cup. Cover, turn the heat down to low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary. Let the curry sit for ten minutes before serving with rice, yogurt and fresh coriander. 

15 comments

  1. Lisa says:

    I made this Chickpea curry for dinner tonight and was really impressed with how quick, easy, and absolutely delicious it was. I cheated a bit and used some curry powder that I had on hand, and then added the cinnamon, cayenne and chili flakes. it was really lovely and perfect for our cool winter weather in Montevideo, Uruguay (We’re expats from Minneapolis, Minnesota USA). Please add an RSS feed to the site. I’m hanging on your every word!

  2. Ele says:

    Hi Lisa, I’m so glad you liked this! “Cheating” is a-okay, I frequently do it myself! I like your family’s blog- really interesting take on expat life. (I’m an expat myself, though of course Canada to Britain hardly has the same level of culture shock.)

    My RSS feeds are:
    Blog: feed://www.kitchenist.com/feed
    Comments only: feed://www.kitchenist.com/comments/feed

    They’re actually at the bottom of the left-hand sidebar, but maybe it’s not clear enough. I might consider putting them in a more obvious place… thanks for the heads up!

  3. Ashley says:

    Ooo this looks good. I love chana masala and Indian food so I’ll have to try out this variation.

  4. Kevin says:

    Those chickpeas look tasty!

  5. Katerina says:

    I love making my own “take-out” sometimes too. This looks delicious!

  6. Kalyn says:

    This looks like a delicious and nutritious dish! Fun finding your blog too.

  7. Ele says:

    Ashley- let me know if you make it, and what you think!

    Kevin, Katerina, Kalyn- thanks, I really recommend this if you like Indian foods. It’s spicy but not tooo spicy, and obviously really healthy too.

  8. [...] soul-warming foods usually more appropriate for Autumn. I’ve written about my favourite Spicy Chickpea Curry, tried my hand at a Chickpea and Pasta Soup, and shared a delicious baked pasta dish- Cabbage and [...]

  9. Vicki Randle says:

    Hi Ele
    I made the Spicy Chickpea Curry for our vegetarians friends last night and it was a hit! Even my “meatatarian” husband liked it! I also made the peach and blueberry pie…also a hit! Thanks so much for the recipes. I can’t wait to try some more.
    Vicki :)

  10. Ele says:

    Hi Vicki, glad you’re liking everything! This recipe is such a favourite of mine- and yes, even those pesky “meatarians” seem to like it :)

  11. Vicki Randle says:

    Hi Ele
    Just to let you know, I had the left over curry with an egg poached in it this morning for my breakfast….yummy!

  12. Beatriz says:

    Hi Ele,

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I’m going to try it this week. My recent cooking interest is Indian Food. I’m interested in making a few good Indian recipes. This sounds like the perfect chickpea curry for me. I love that you add a dollop of Greek yogurt. It’s so rich and creamy and goes so well with spicy dishes.

  13. [...] vegetable korma. I’d never even considered making my own korma before, preferring to stick to spicier and simpler curries for my home cooking. But it seemed like fate that I should make this, particularly as the [...]

  14. Nicole says:

    Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I make it often and every time I do, I’m shocked at how easy and delicious it is. I’m always fascinated by the fact that these separate ingredients, when cooked together, create such a wonderful result!

  15. Tjasa says:

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    http://bigfatcook.com. Check it out and if you like it, leave a comment. It would make me very happy :)
    Greetings