Butter Chickpeas


Chickpeas 2

Indian food is one of those cuisines that I love but usually can’t seem to get quite right at home.  I’ve tried recipes for palak paneer, chicken tikka masala, samosas, and chicken biryani.  Some have been ok, but for the most part my attempts never measure up to the fragrant saucy bliss that is good Indian food.  This recipe is the exception.

This dish started with a recipe for butter chicken that I found on the lovely blog Manger.  Butter chicken is richly spiced with a tomato-based sauce, and it’s flat-out wonderful.  Manger’s version is no exception.  After making it a couple of times, I decided to try a vegetarian version, swapping out the chicken for chickpeas, potatoes, and peas, and then adjusting some of the ingredients in the sauce.  It took a couple of tries, but I finally found the perfect recipe.   Be warned that the recipe calls for a long list of spices, and you do need all of them.  It’s definitely worth it. Once you have all the ingredients, this actually comes together fairly quickly!

Chickpeas 1

Butter Chickpeas

Serving Size: 4-6


  • 1 medium potato, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tbs fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fenugreek
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • jasmine or basmati rice


  1. In a small pot, boil the potato pieces until they are fork-tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove them from the heat and drain.
  2. In a dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger, and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften. Add the spices (fenugreek through bay leaf) and cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add the chickpeas, peas, and potatoes to the pan, and stir to combine. You may need to add 1/2 cup water here to loosen the sauce. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add the sour cream, stir to combine, and decrease the heat to low. Simmer the sauce over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring ever so often. Add salt to taste before serving, up to 1/2 tsp.
  6. Remove bay leave and cinnamon stick and serve over rice.