Chili Chickpeas

An Indo Chinese inspired chickpea recipe

Chickpeas coated in corn flour and rice flour, shallow fried in oil and tossed in a spicy soy sauce concoction.

Indo Chinese cuisine is the result of the Indian palate’s absolute love for spicy, sweet, sour, fried food. The prominent ingredients of the Chinese cuisine are added to ingredients popular in India like paneer, cauliflower ,potatoes ,baby corn, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, etc., to appease the locals. The very first Indo Chinese dish was not vegetarian. But to accommodate the vegetarians in a family, restaurants came up with vegetarian alternatives.

Ingredients like soy sauce, vinegar, chili in oil, toasted sesame oil, tomato ketchup , etc when combined with battered and fried cauliflower or paneer or baby corn is beyond delicious. Generous use of ginger, garlic and green chillies adds to the oomph factor! One must experience it to understand it. Beware, there is no going back.

Growing up, my first introduction to Indo Chinese food was Gobi Manchurian from a very famous restaurant in Chennai. It was ‘Love at First Bite’ for sure. Crispy cauliflower tossed in this spicy, sweet, sour and salty sauce with some green bell peppers and onions to give it more texture and flavor. OOh La La !

Forward to 20 years and my children love Indo Chinese food too and we eat it as often as possible. With easy access to Asian inspired ingredients , we make it at home more than we order it at a restaurant. Home version does not include MSG though. Our taste receptors are activated enough without MSG đŸ™‚ !

Ingredients :

  1. Cooked Chickpeas/garbanzo beans – 2 cups
  2. Corn flour – 2 tablespoon
  3. rice flour – 1 tablespoon
  4. Scallions – 2
  5. 1 Small red onion – finely chopped
  6. Ginger paste/minced – 1 tablespoon
  7. Soy Sauce – 1 tablespoon
  8. Sambal oelek – 1 tablespoon
  9. Tomato Ketchup – 1.5 tablespoon
  10. Coconut palm sugar – 1 teaspoon
  11. Water/Vegetable stock – 1/4 cup
  12. Salt to taste
  13. Neutral flavored oil to shallow fry chickpeas and make the sauce

How to :

  1. Coat the cooked chickpeas in corn flour, rice flour and just 1/2 a teaspoon of salt. Shake off excess flour and make sure the chickpeas have a thin uniform coating of flour. Sprinkle a tablespoon or 2 of water to help the flour stick to the chickpeas.

2.Add about 2 tablespoon oil to a wide shallow skillet, let it heat up. Then add these coated chickpeas to the oil and fry for 2 minutes on medium heat. Stir gently and let it cook on medium for another 3 minutes. Crisp it up as much as you want. I was happy with the texture after about 5-6 minutes of shallow frying.

3.Remove chickpeas on to a separate bowl and reheat the pan with another tablespoon of oil. This time on medium high heat.

4.Add chopped onions, the white part of the 2 scallions and saute for 2-3 minutes.

5.Then add the ginger, garlic and sambal oelek. (You can also add some chopped green Thai chilies now for some added kick). Let it cook until the raw smell is gone.About 2 minutes.

6.Now add a good heaping tablespoon of tomato ketchup and the soy sauce. let it cook for a minute.

7.Add 1/4 cup water or stock now. Taste for salt and adjust to your taste.

8.Add more heat or tang now, as per your taste.

9.Add the sugar and let the sauce simmer. The consistency of the sauce is completely your choice. Keep it saucy, semi-dry or thick.

10.Now add the fried chickpeas to the sauce. I went for a semi-dry consistency.

11.No need of a cornstarch slurry if you choose to keep it thick and semi-dry.

12. Sprinkle some green scallions and serve as is or as a side.

I served the Chili Chickpeas as part of my Buddha Bowl.

It may seem like an elaborate and daunting recipe but it is not.Please trust me on this one ! Keep everything ready and you can be done in 20 minutes, that is, if you have cooked chickpeas.It tastes absolutely delish and is very kid friendly since you can adjust the heat in the recipe.


  1. Use canned chickpeas
  2. use any store bought ,ready to use Asian stir fry sauce
  3. Add bell peppers or pineapple or zucchini to make it more wholesome
  4. Adjust the sweetness, spiciness and the tanginess to suit your palates.

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