Chickpeas and Navy Beans in Spicy Tomato Sauce (Indian)

by Kirsten on March 20, 2011 · 15 comments

in Main Dishes, Misc. Savory Dishes



Indian inspired food is what my taste buds have been craving lately. Luckily it is also always a big winner with my family. When I saw this classic Punjabi dish, called masaledar chholay, in one of my cooking magazines it made it on the dinner table the same day.

The recipe is very straight forward and easy to assemble. There is no need to make a special trip to the Indian grocery store for seldom used ingredients. You should be able to use your pantry staples.

Chickpeas and tomatoes get infused with your typical Indian spice mixtures like cumin, coriander, ginger, and garlic. Cayenne pepper and jalapeños provide the necessary heat. I omitted the jalapeños since I felt it was already spicy enough with just the cayenne pepper for my European taste palate. My pantry was low on chickpeas, so I substituted a can of navy beans which turned out very well.

I have cooked this Indian chickpea dish with its spicy tomato sauce three times already since I first discovered it. If you love Indian food, this is definitely a recipe not to miss!


*  8 garlic gloves, chopped
*  2 jalapeños, chopped (I omitted them)
*  2-inch (5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
*  1/4 cup vegetable oil
*  1 very big onion, cut into 1/4-inch (6 mm) dice
*  2 tablespoons ground cumin
*  1 tablespoon coriander
*  3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
*  1 1/2 cups (378 g) canned diced tomatoes
*  1 can 15 ounce (425 g) chickpeas (original recipe calls for two cans of chickpeas and no navy beans)
*  1 can 15 ounce  (425 g)  navy beans
*   2 cups (500 ml) water


In a mini food processor, combine the garlic, jalapeños and ginger and process to a paste. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook over moderately high heat until sizzling, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are browned, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and simmer over moderate heat until thickened, about 6 minutes. Add the chickpeas and water and simmer until the chickpeas are flavored with the gravy, about 8 minutes. Season the chickpeas with salt, garnish with the cilantro and serve.

Serve with yogurt and naan.

Adapted from Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s article in my copy of the Food & Wine Magazine, March 2011.

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Lea Ann March 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm

You are killin me with these beautiful Indian dishes. This looks and sounds so good Kirsten.

Andrea @ ForkFingersChopsticks March 23, 2011 at 2:05 am

Food for my heart and health, especially with all those spices. I'm not a navy bean fan, so I'll go with the chick peas. I imagine this would also be great with lentils. Another one of my favorite legumes.

I make some similar Indian dishes and often add some greens like spinach, kale or swiss chard at the end. I like to oomph up the veggies.

Elisabeth March 22, 2011 at 1:27 am

I subscribe to Food and Wine magazine, didn't really check out the March issue, as I have 3 other food magazines that I subscribe to.
I love, this Indian inspired yummy soup. Love all the spices, and would include the jalapeno…the spicier, the better.
Yours turned out amazing, colorful, and so comforting, that for sure I will make it!

Sage Trifle March 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I have that recipe marked but haven't made it yet. (I also want that cookbook). Your version sure looks delicious.

JelliDonut March 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I'm going to give it a try–we've been on a tomato soup kick lately and this version sounds delicious!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) March 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm

What great comfort food! I love chickpeas but don't have many recipes to use them in. Thanks!

Maria @ Scandi Foodie March 21, 2011 at 7:49 am

I'm loving the flavours in this soup, it looks delicious!

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE March 21, 2011 at 4:46 am

Healthy and flavorful. I have a soft place i my heart for all thing s Indian!

kitchen flavours March 21, 2011 at 2:56 am

Looks delicious! I have always love Indian food, right now am in the craze of cooking from several Indian cookbooks. Looks like you have found a keeper recipe. This would be good with some Indian bread!
Thanks for sharing!

Katie March 21, 2011 at 1:28 am

I love bean dishes. This looks great.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window March 20, 2011 at 8:05 pm

This looks delicious as well as healthy. I am a chick pea junkie and eat them at least three times a week. Thanks for this, I will be adding this to my chick pea repertoire.

EliFla March 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I find this recipe really interesting…but I cannot eat any jalapenos and cayenne pepper!!! 🙁 …have a nice Sunday, hugs, Flavia

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle March 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I have this magazine…but don't think I've had time to open it yet! Dish looks wonderful and I'm having some cravings of my own right now!

Great pics!

Cooking Creation March 20, 2011 at 3:41 pm

This looks wonderful! I have this recipe set aside to try in the near future because I've been craving Indian a lot recently, too. Great job on this one and the colors look great in your photos 🙂

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