Sweet & Sour Chickpeas


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

My Street Food Kitchen

My Street Food Kitchen

By Jennifer Joyce

Published 2015

  • About

Chana masala is a popular street food all over India. This fragrant vegetarian curry is perfect when you want a meat-free dinner. If you forget to soak the chickpeas overnight then simply cover with water and bring them to the boil with 3 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), then turn off the heat, cover with a lid and stand for 1 hour. Drain, then boil as per the recipe. Tinned chickpeas are fine for a quick dinner, but chickpeas become more special if cooked from dried.

Preparation: 15 Minutes, Plus Overnight Soaking
Cooking: 2 Hours 15 Minutes


  • 400 g (14 oz) dried chickpeas, orthree 400 g tins, drained and rinsed
  • 50 ml ( fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 cm ( inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 thumb-size green chilli, seeded and chopped
  • tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons chaat masala (optional)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 100 g ( oz) green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 1 large handful of coriander (cilantro) sprigs, chopped


If using dried chickpeas, put them in a large bowl, cover with cold water and soak overnight. Drain, then put them in a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover well. Bring to the boil, then simmer over medium heat for 1-1½ hours or until tender. Drain the chickpeas and reserve the cooking liquid.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the tomato paste, cinnamon sticks, turmeric, cumin, coriander seeds, half the garam masala and half the chaat masala, if using, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chickpeas, lemon juice and 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) of the chickpea cooking liquid. If using tinned chickpeas, then use vegetable stock or water. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and flavourful.

About 5 minutes before the chickpeas are done, add the green beans, chopped coriander sprigs and the remaining garam masala and chaat masala, if using. Adjust the seasoning with extra lemon juice or salt if necessary. Serve with steamed basmati rice, Red Onion Salad, yoghurt and chutney.