Indian Spiced Chickpea Salad

Last fall I'd eagerly awaited the opening of Poppy, Jerry Traunfeld's experiment with Indian influenced dishes in a 10 dish thali presentation. He offers 2 a night - one with meat and one vegetarian, as well as an abbreviated 6 dish thali of each. Perhaps it was just that our expectations were set so high from months of chatter and promises that this would be one of the best new restaurants of 2008, but we were less than impressed with our meals. It's difficult to make 10 stand out dishes and many just seemed like filler. But there were a few stand outs - my chanterell croquettes were amazing and so rich you wouldn't want a larger serving. And the yogurty chickpea dish was perfectly balanced with nuanced flavors. And luckily, the recipe was featured in Food and Wine later that month.

The recipe calls for whole seeds of brown mustard, cumin, and fennel, and I would suggest you try to find them whole rather than ground, but you can make substitutions if necessary.

Indian Spiced Chickpea Salad
Adapted from Jerry Traunfeld, F&W 9/08

Serves 3

1 15-ouce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tsp canola oil (or other mild oil)
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/8-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup plain yogurt (nonfat or lowfat will work)
2 tsp lemon juice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/8 cup chopped mint
1/8 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oil in a medium skillet until they begin to pop. Add cumin, fennel, and red pepper and saute until fragrant. Scrape into a mixing bowl.

Add drained chickpeas and remaining ingredients. Mix until throuroughly combined. Serve immediately or refrigarate. If refrigarated, remove from fridge atleast 15 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature.


  1. Can I use Yoplait strawberry flavored yogurt? I like that kind.

  2. Well Miguel . . . while I'm not going to say you can't, I wouldn't recommend it.