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Punjabi spiced chickpeas

Punjabi spiced chickpeas

A traditional Indian recipe from Australia's 'queen of spice' CHRISTINE MANFIELD.

Typical of north-west frontier cuisine, this is a wonderful dish to serve with grilled or barbecued meat. I sometimes serve it with roasted chicken that I have rubbed with similar spices to complement the chickpeas. I use dried chickpeas from Indian suppliers; they are smaller and slightly darker than some other varieties.

  • 12 curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 small green chillies, sliced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 100 g thick plain yoghurt
  • 300 g cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 1 teaspoon Chat Masala (see page 434)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves


Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan and fry the curry leaves and cumin for 30 seconds over a medium heat until fragrant. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and gently fry until starting to colour. Stir in the tomato and any juice and bring to simmering point. Add the yoghurt and chickpeas and cook for 4-5 minutes until heated through.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chat masala, salt, lemon juice and pomegranate seeds. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle with the fresh coriander to serve.

This recipe is extracted from Tasting India by Christine Manfield (LANTERN books)

Christine Manfield writes about the sensuousness of spices and their culinary uses. Here are a couple of recipes from Christine, including a vinaigrette. 

  • Black Pepper Vanilla Orange Vinaigrette
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 75ml orange juice
  • 60ml rice vinegar
  • 30ml aged balsamic vinegar
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 flat tbsp dark brown (muscovado) sugar
  • few drops orange oil
  • 500ml extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except oil together in bowl, using whisk in oil until vinaigrette is emulsified.


Serves 4

  • 12 small Japanese eggplants, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 40ml sunflower or grape seed oil
  • 20ml chilli oil
  • 12 red shallots, finely sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 long red chillies, finely sliced
  • 60ml tamarind liquid
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and quartered
  • 200ml thick plain yoghurt
  • ½ cup coriander leaves

Curry Powder

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2cm stick cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • Seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
  • 4 dried small chillies, broken into pieces
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns

To make the curry powder, dry roast the spices in frypan over very low heat for a few minutes until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Allow to cool then blend the spices together till finely ground (best to use an electric spice grinder or blender. Store in an airtight jar and reserve what you don’t use immediately for future use.

Sprinkle 1 tbsp curry powder and 2 tsp sea salt over eggplant and marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat both the oils in a large wok or frypan and fry shallots, garlic, ginger and chilli over moderate heat until softened, about 1 minute, then add 1 tbsp curry powder, stir to combine.

Add spiced eggplant and sauté in pan for a few minutes. Stir in tamarind liquid, remaining sea salt and tomato and cook for 10 minutes until eggplant is soft.

Stir in yoghurt and heat until warmed through – do not boil or yoghurt will split. Remove from heat, add coriander leaves and serve immediately.