Bal’s Mother’s Chickpeas


Bal's Mother's Chickpeas | ©

I’ve been making a chickpea dish for years where you sauté minced garlic, onion and red chile pepper, and then cook chickpeas in the mixture. Any additional seasoning is limited to freshly ground pepper.

This recipe, which is from Bal Arneson’s Everyday Indian, kicks things up a notch or two with the addition of other ingredients and Indian spices. This recipe is from her mother and is Punjabi in origin; she calls it “My Mother’s Chickpeas.” I couldn’t very well call it that (I don’t recall my Belgian mother ever making chickpeas), so I’ve renamed it.

Chickpeas make a tasty meal on their own, or a good side dish for a meal. We had these as a first course yesterday while I was waiting for the rest of the meal to finish cooking. The Culinary Enthusiast was true to form about these; he loved the combination of flavours and the bit of heat the dish had to offer.

I’ve often served my non-Indian version of chickpeas with grilled salmon on top, and I can picture doing that with these too.

Bal's Mother's Chickpeas | ©

Bal’s Mother’s Chickpeas

Slightly adapted from Bal Arneson’s Everyday Indian.

  • 2 tbsp canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I used a red onion, but I think a yellow or white onion would make the final dish look nicer)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato
  • 1 green chill, finely chopped (I minced mine)
  • 2 tsp Chana Masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 19-ounce can
  • Optional Garnishes: more green chili, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Add the oil to a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomatoes, green chili, chana masala and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the chickpeas to the skillet and cook for a minute. Turn the heat off, cover the pan with a lid and let it sit a few minutes before serving. [Note: I found my canned chickpeas on the hard side, so I simmered them for a while in the covered skillet.] Add garnishes if desired.


  1. Chickpeas and I had a falling out about 20 years ago and I’ve not had them, except in salads, since. (The wounds go deep.) These do look good, though, and your knack with Indian seasoning has me considering a reconciliation. Just to be clear. This does not mean I’m re-thinking my stand against cilantro. 🙂

    • Your feud with chickpeas sounds pretty dramatic! Maybe it’s time to say live and let live :). As for cilantro it was definitely an acquired taste for me, but pretty touch and go for a while there!

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