easy veggie winter indian dish – chole chaat – chickpea dish

with the UK winter weather being awful lately and the temperatures nowhere near double figures at the moment i have been craving spicy, hearty warming foods. at the same time i have also been thinking about eating more healthily and sometimes hearty and healthy don’t easily go together to equal tasty.

this northern indian dish is in a cookbook i got at a charity shop a while back and its Marks & Spencers‘ “the food of india.” the book is fantastic and this recipe is ridiculously easy and tasty.

home made whole chaat

home-made chole chaat

when making indian food i have to say that my home-made naan breads never turn out right and the supermarket ready-made naan just don’t cut it. so if i am making indian then i will usually stop by the local takeaway and order one or two naan to enjoy with my home cooked food.

using tinned or ready-soaked chickpeas this dish can be rustled up in about ten minutes and is ideal for a mid-week dinner or an addition to a weekend indian feast. as with most of my dishes ingredients can be left out, added in or substituted to suit tastes and the spice level can go up or down depending on how hot you can handle!


1 tin of ready soaked chickpeas

200g of tinned or chopped tomatoes

2tbsp ground nut or sunflower oil (don’t use olive oil as it doesn’t heat to the same temperature and doesn’t release the flavours of the spices as much)

1 small onion finely chopped

2cm piece of root ginger grated finely

2 red chillies finely chopped (change this to suit your spice tolerance)

1tsp ground coriander seeds

1tsp ground cumin seeds

(ready ground spices are fine but if you have the seeds then dry roast in a pan until the fragrance starts to emerge then transfer seeds to mortar and pestle or grinder and crush to a powder) 

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

1tsp garam masala

handful of spinach leaves (optional addition)


  1. heat oil in a large pan over a low heat and add the chopped onion. gently sweat the onions over a low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes and the onions become wilted and translucent. (too high a heat will burn the onions making the dish bitter so be patient)
  2. add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and garam masala powders to the onions and stir well then add the chopped chillies and grated ginger and stir well.
  3. next add the chopped/tinned tomatoes along with the tinned chickpeas and the liquid that they come in. season with salt as necessary.
  4. bring to the boil and then simmer  for 5 minutes then turn of the heat.
  5. lastly stir in any spinach leaves or green leaves that you may be adding to the dish and serve.
  6. this can be served with plain boiled rice, with naan or as a side dish to an indian meal. it could even be served on top of a baked potato.

it’s really simple, extremely tasty and good for you too.

i have sometimes added chopped cooked chicken, chopped boiled potatoes and even left over roast potatoes to this dish to make another meal.

Leftovers of this dish will taste amazing the following day as the flavours mature and develop in the fridge overnight.

let me know how you get on with this and enjoy!

Close-up picture of cumin seeds (Cuminum cyminum).

Close-up picture of cumin seeds (Cuminum cyminum). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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