In the summer, I love to make the sort of meals that can be tossed together in a big bowl and served at room temperature. I get cranky in the heat, and it’s better for everyone if I don’t spend much time standing over a hot stove. It’s better still if, after everything is done, I can step away from the kitchen with a cool drink in my hand and relax for a while before eating.
This chickpea dish is perfect for days like that. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s something special. It’s fragrant with Indian spices and creamy from the yogurt sauce. The chickpeas make it feel substantial but the lemon and fresh herbs keep it light. It’s been a staple in my summer kitchen ever since I first learned about it on Dana’s site back in 2009.
It’s incredibly simple to throw together. A kicky blend of brown mustard seeds and cumin and fennel seeds get heated with some coconut oil to make a spice infused oil. Then the oil and spices get poured over a waiting bowl of chickpeas. Some cooling yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice go in next, and then the whole thing gets topped with a flurry of sliced green onions and mint.
I usually serve this with some fragrant basmati rice, but it’s also great on it’s own or with some naan or as a side in an Indian meal. I’ve done some variations on this, sometimes adding cucumber slices or tender leafy greens like spinach. I sometimes add cilantro along with or instead of the mint. I usually use scallions, but because I had some milder green spring onions on hand I used those this time. I like it best with coconut oil, but I’ve also enjoyed it with peanut oil and canola oil, and although I’ve never used it in this, I’m sure ghee would also be delicious here.
All of which is to say that this dish is very flexible. And it can wait patiently on the kitchen counter while you pour yourself a cold drink.
Indian-spiced Yogurt Chickpeas
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas rinsed and drained, from about 1 cup dried or 2 15-ounce cans
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or peanut oil or other neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-2 green onions white and green parts, thinly sliced
- handful of mint thinly sliced
- Place the chickpeas in a large heat safe mixing bowl. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mustard seeds and cook for about one minute or until they begin to pop. Add the fennel and cumin seeds and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and immediately pour over the chickpeas. Stir to coat. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, and salt, and stir until the chickpeas are coated. Add the green onions and mint and fold in gently.
- Serve at room temperature. (This can be stored overnight in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.)