Tamarind Chickpeas

A Latin specialty! Beneath the hard outer shell is a sticky pulp that is both sweet and sour. These can be eaten raw, used to make a flavorful tea, or made into a syrup and used in chutneys, curries,sauces etc.

To prepare for use in recipes: Remove hard shell. In a bowl soak in water for 10 minutes. Rub tamarind to dissolve in water. Filter through a sieve and sqeeze solids. Discard solids.

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1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. nigella seeds (can be found in Eastern markets)
1-1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
3 Anaheim chiles, seeded and cut into quarters lengthwise
2-3 tsp. light muscovado sugar
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. tumeric
14 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp. tamarind paste
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
half a bag of baby spinach
natural yogurt and chapatis, to serve


Heat the oil in a saucepan, and fry the nigella and fennel seeds for about 10 seconds, then add the onion and cook gently for 8-10 minutes until golden.

Mix in the tomatoes, chiles, sugar, paprika, turmeric and chickpeas. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the tamarind and coriander, then add the spinach leaves and stir gently until theyve just wilted. Serve with yogurt and chapatis (Indian flatbread).

Recipe from Good Food Magazine, February 2003.