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Keerai Kondakadalai Kozhambu (Chickpeas & Spinach in tamarind gravy)

I know…that’s a long title..:). This is a south Indian gravy with the wonderful flavors of tamarind, tomato, garlic and chickpeas. I’ve added spinach to make it more healthy. I loved this as a child and my mother used to make it quite often. The combination of chickpeas and tamarind is just delicious. This recipe uses garlic liberally. You can omit these if you want to. Beans are well known for their ability to cause fatulence/gas trouble. Garlic takes care of this problem. This is the reason most legume/lentil dishes have garlic in them.


Cooked Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans – 2 cups or 1 can
Onion – 1
Tomato- 1
Tomato paste – 1tbsp
Garlic – 10 – 15 cloves
Chili powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Sambar powder – 2 tbsp
Tamarind – 1 lime size ball or 1 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
Spinach – 2 cups (chopped)
Salt – to taste
Water – 2 cups

For the Masala:

Dry red chillies – 4 no.
Coriander seeds/Dhania – 1tbsp
Channa Dal/Bengal gram – 1 tbsp
Grated coconut – 3 tbsp
Fenugreek/Methi seeds – 1 tsp

For Tempering:

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Asafetida – 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves – 4 no.


  • Soak the chickpeas in 3 cups of water overnight. Next day, cook the beans until they are soft (pressure cook 4 whistles).
  • Dry roast the dry red chillies, coriander seeds and channa dal. Grind this with the coconut into a smooth paste.
  • Heat oil in a saucepan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add asafetida and curry leaves.
  • Saute the onions and a little salt for 5 mins.
  • Add tomatoes, tomato paste, turmeric, chilli powder and cook until they become soft and mushy. Add the garlic and saute for a minute.
  • Add 2 cups of water and tamarind paste. Boil for 5 mins.
  • Add sambar powder, mix well and boil for another 5 mins.
  • Add the chickpeas and the ground masala paste and cook for 5 more mins.Adjust seasoning.

Tip: To thicken the gravy, grind half a cup of chickpeas with a little water and add at this stage.

  • Add the spinach and cook for 2 mins without closing the lid.
  • Serve with hot white rice and ghee.

You might also like:

Kathirikkai Kara Kozhambu – Eggplant in Spicy Tamarind Gravy

Appalam Vatha Kozhambu (Papad Gravy)

Mirchi ka Salan – Green Chilli curry

Mchicha – Tanzanian Spinach & Peanut butter curry

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