Indian-Spiced Garbanzo Beans (Kale Chane)

A few weeks ago, I promised to give you the other fabulous Indian dishes my friend Minni made for me. As you may recall, Minni moved here from India about eight years ago, and creates the most delicious curry creations. Not only that, but many of her recipes are fairly easy to replicate. Today’s dish is so fast, you’ll be able to turn out an exotic, spicy curry in a matter of minutes (if you have pre-cooked beans).

When I went to visit Minni, her family had just finished celebrating Ashtami, a festival that honors little girls. As part of the holiday, families invite little girls to their homes and feed them this dish. Despite its simplicity, it’s rather addictive—almost like a snack food. The tender beans toast a bit on their outsides and soak up the fragrant spices, turning them into little, savory, chewy balls that I kept popping in my mouth by the spoonful, even after I was full.

I thought this was excellent served with plain yogurt and this Sabudana (savory tapioca curry) recipe.

A note on ingredients: Minni makes this with black garbanzo beans, which she explained are extremely good for you and have a better flavor than the more common-place brown beans.

However, she agreed that if you can’t find the black variety (which are sold in Indian specialty shops), the dish would still be good with regular garbanzo beans. The other ingredients that might be a bit difficult to find are asafoetida and mango powders, both of which can be found at spice stores, online, or in Indian specialty shops. Asafoetida, also called Hing, lends a flavor similar to garlic or onions. Mango powder, made from dried green mangos, has a tart taste and adds sourness to the dish. If you can’t find either, or the idea of looking for them is unpleasant, try making this without them. I think you will still enjoy it, although I might try to add a little lemon in the place of the mango powder.

Special Diets and Allergies: Vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, nut free, wheat free

Kale Chane: Black Garbanzo Beans

Serves 3 to 4

This spicy bean dish is a traditional food served on Ashtami, an Indian festival celebrating little girls. Although it takes just minutes to make, it’s bursting with exotic flavors. The beans toast a bit on the edges, so I like this best served with plain yogurt, to add moisture and to mellow out the beans’ spicy coating. If you don’t like hot food, leave out or reduce the cayenne (the amount given here is quite spicy). The cilantro is also optional. If you can’t find black garbanzo beans, this will work with the light-brown variety sold in U.S. stores. I’ve included cooking directions for the beans, as I think it’s less likely you’ll be able to find them canned, but if you’re using the regular beans, there’s no reason why canned wouldn’t work (in which case, I would use between one and one-and-a-half 14 oz cans).


4 T olive oil
1/4 t asafoetida powder
2 t – 1 T cumin seeds
1 t dried coriander
1 t garam masala
1 t salt
1 t turmeric
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 C cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 C bean-cooking liquid
1 t mango powder
2 T minced cilantro (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  2. Add all of the spices and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or two, until the spices become fragrant and the cumin seeds are toasted.
  3. Add the beans and bean-cooking liquid and stir. Continue to cook until all the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the mango powder and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve.

To cook the Beans: 2 Cups dried garbanzo beans should yield about 6 C cooked beans.

Soak 2 C of beans in about 8 C cool water for eight hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. Place in a large pot with twice as much water as beans and 1 t salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until the beans are tender but not mushy. This should take about an hour, but cooking time for beans varies depending on how old they are.

Alternatively, after soaking, draining, and rinsing the beans, place them in a crock pot covered with 1” water and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours. Crock pots work best when three-quarters full, so you may have to adjust the amount of beans depending on the size of your crock pot.

6 responses to “Indian-Spiced Garbanzo Beans (Kale Chane)

  1. I haven’t heard of black chickpeas before – I will have to look for some around here so I can make this (or I guess I could just make it with regular chickpeas).

    • Yes. They go by either name–I should have thought of that! Thanks for the clarification. I think chickpea is a nicer name anyway, and they do look like little chicks, with a tiny beak.

  2. Pingback: The Joyful Pantry·

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