A Dish For All Seasons: Spice Chickpea Curry


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, side dishes, 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.


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.


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 minute. 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.
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