Chana masala (or chole) is a North Indian dish with chickpeas in a tomato-onion base. There’s just something magical about chana masala. As the days have gotten rainier and colder in Seattle, I constantly go back to this recipe. I actually wanted to write about authentic chana masala, but realized I only had half the spices in my pantry. And I’d already opened a can of chickpeas. So … what if I turned this into a delicious, spicy, chickpea dip that’s not hummus? Boom. Enter spicy chickpea dip recipe.
So, canned chickpeas or dried chickpeas?
Strong preference for canned chickpeas for this dip! It just makes it so much easier to make a dip from canned chickpeas instead of fresh one. But make sure you get a low sodium version and drain all the liquid before using.
What’s the magic spice mix?
Indian cooking is, at once, simple and really complex. But the heart of this chickpea dip recipe is such a simple mix of spices that most folks would have in their pantry – turmeric, cumin, coriander, and red chili powder. The base spices are used across Indian cooking. So, you don’t have to buy tons of ingredients just to make this chickpea dip. I totally also understand if you wanted to anyway 😉
What do you eat this with?
I typically eat chana masala, which this chickpea dip is based on, with deep fried Indian bread, naan, or rice. But I was getting a bit rebellious here. So, recently, I made this for a friend’s birthday and we ate it with these black bean and quinoa chips from Trader Joe’s. Immediate hit (don’t tell my mom though – I can see her shaking her head already). But that aside, you can really eat this with anything you’d eat with traditional dip. In the last two weeks, I’ve made this twice and had it with homemade roti and as a base for some spicy tacos! The world is really your oyster with this chickpea dip!Print
Delicious, spicy chickpea dip with Indian spices to be eaten with any flatbread or chips. Swap out one of the traditional dips with this chickpea dip next time you host a party!
For the base:
- 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 1 large white or yellow onion (diced finely)
- 1 can of diced tomatoes (or 2 medium tomatoes) – I used some leftover cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp of ginger paste
- 1 tsp of minced garlic
- 2 tsp of red chili powder
- 1 tsp of turmeric
For the masala:
- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion (chopped finely)
- 1 jalapeno or green chili (chopped finely)
- 2 tsp of coriander (ground)*
- 2 tsp of cumin (ground)*
- 1 tsp of cinnamon powder (optional)
- 1 can of chickpeas
- Additional salt (as needed)
- 4 twigs of cilantro (for garnish, optional)
Making the base:
- In a medium pan, heat vegetable oil
- Add the onions and fry until translucent (about 3 minutes)
- Now, add the minced garlic and ginger paste and saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds)
- Then add the diced tomatoes, turmeric and red chili powder and saute for about 4-5 minutes (until tomatoes lose their raw smell)
- If using a heat-resistant blender, transfer and blend immediately on the smoothie setting and set aside; if using a regular blender, wait for 5 minutes until mixture cools down before blending. See not if you don’t have a blender
Making the chickpea dip:
- Heat vegetable oil in the same pan and add other onion – saute until translucent (about 3 minutes)
- Add the green chili or jalapeno and saute for another minute
- Now, add the tomato-onion paste from the blender, along with ground coriander, ground cumin, and optional cinnamon powder (substitute this with 1 tbsp of store-bought chole masala and 1 tsp of garam masala if you want to go that route instead)
- Add the chickpeas, along with 1 cup of water – bring the mixture to a boil on medium flame; then turn the heat to low and simmer for 5-6 minutes
- Taste and adjust for salt and spice as needed; if everything is to taste, then turn off flame
- Use a ricer or a spatula to mash up the chickpeas into a chunky but not too chunky texture
- Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve hot, with your favorite chips or flatbread (add a slice or two of raw red onion for greater kick!)
- All the spices marked with asterisk can be substituted with 1 tbsp of chole masala (available at any Indian store, and these days, many large grocery chains) and 1 tsp of garam masala (available at most stores). I prefer to use raw spices since the complex spices sometimes contain preservatives.
- You don’t need to blend the tomato-onion mix; if you don’t have a blender, you can just use a spatula to mash the tomatoes to the best extent possible along with the chickpeas – chunkier the better!
- I’ve also added green cardamom pods, cloves, and a bay leaf to my recipe since I wanted this recipe to mimic the authentic chana masala from India – but the recipe is dang delicious without them! If you want to use those spices, just add them before you saute the diced onion.
- Category: Entree
- Method: Stove-top
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: chickpea dip, chickpea dip recipe, dip made from chickpeas