Indian Poppy Chickpea Salad Recipe

This chickpea salad recipe, with fennel, cilantro and other culinary herbs, maintains a fragrant balance between warm and cool flavors.

May/June 2016

  • Jerry Traunfeld’s Poppy Chickpea Salad is a great example of how herbs and spices can work to balance a dish.
    Photo by iStock

Yield: 6 servings

The spices give the dish a warming quality and the herbs are cooling. The most important step in this recipe is toasting the spices. Be sure to pour them over the chickpeas just as they turn fragrant and deeper colored; if you wait seconds too long they can become bitter.

Indian Poppy Chickpea Salad Recipe


• 2 cups cooked chickpeas
• 2 tablespoons peanut oil, or other vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
• 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1⁄2 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 teaspoon chili flakes
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 3⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
• 1⁄4 cup chopped cilantro
• 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh mint
• 1⁄2 cup chopped green onion
• 1⁄2 cup whole-milk yogurt


1. Put chickpeas in a mixing bowl.

2. Pour oil into a small skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is very hot, add mustard seeds, partially cover pan to shield sputtering seeds, and reduce heat to low. When sputtering slows (about 15 seconds), uncover, add cumin and fennel seeds, and chili flakes. Cook for about 10 seconds or until spices are deeper brown and fragrant. Immediately pour oil and spices over chickpeas.

3. Add lemon juice, salt, cilantro, mint, green onion and yogurt, and stir with a rubber spatula until evenly mixed.

4. Serve right away, or refrigerate for up to 2 days and serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 6.

Learn more about cooking with culinary herbs in Traditional Herbal Recipes from Around the World.

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