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Tamarind Chickpea Curry

Photo: Thomas J. Story
Total time 30 mins
Yield Serves 4 to 6
This curry gets its lively pucker from tamarind paste. Meeru Dhalwala, co-owner of Shanik restaurant in Seattle as well as Vij's and Rangoli in Vancouver, created it to go with her Winter Greens Curry, but it's excellent on its own, too. If you want another layer of complexity in your meal, consider topping the curries with Greek yogurt, cubed paneer (Indian cheese), chopped cooked bacon or sausage, or a sunny-side-up egg.


  • 1/3 cup canola or grapeseed oil
  • 3 1/2 cups finely chopped onions (about 2 1/2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala*
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper (medium grind)
  • About 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons tamarind paste*
  • 3 cans (15 oz. each) chickpeas (garbanzos), drained and rinsed, or 4 1/8 cups cooked chickpeas
  • Winter Greens Curry

Nutrition Information

  • calories 379
  • caloriesfromfat 44 %
  • protein 10 g
  • fat 21 g
  • satfat 1.3 g
  • carbohydrate 43 g
  • fiber 9.1 g
  • sodium 627 mg
  • cholesterol 7 mg

How to Make It

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine oil and onions over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are thoroughly browned, 15 to 20 minutes (the darker you can get them, the better, but don't let them burn).

  2. Reduce heat to medium and stir in cumin, garam masala, cayenne, pepper, salt, and tamarind paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until onions are thoroughly coated, about 2 minutes. Add chickpeas and stir to coat thoroughly. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

  3. Mix greens well and divide among wide, shallow bowls. Spoon about 1 cup chickpeas over greens.

  4. *Garam masala, a northern Indian spice blend, is available at well-stocked grocery stores and Indian markets, as is tamarind paste (check the label to be sure that it has no added sugar). The paste should have the consistency of loose applesauce; if it's runnier, add another tablespoon of it to the dish.

  5. Variations: Instead of chickpeas, switch in an equal amount of eggplant, chicken, or tofu.

  6. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving without Winter Greens.

Shanik, Seattle