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Channa Saag (Spicy Chickpeas with Spinach)

By: Thad Roe

Category: Main Dishes - Vegan

Channa Saag is a popular Indian dish featuring chickpeas and spinach in a spicy sauce. This version is so quick and easy, you can have it on the table in 20 minutes.

  • Recipe
  • My Notes
  • Nutrition Facts
  • Ratings & Comments (16)


1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 green chilies, minced
1 teaspoon tamarind powder or paste (salt free) or dried tamarind pods if available, optional*
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
12 ounces spinach, chopped (frozen or fresh)
2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added or low-sodium chickpeas, drained
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste


Water saute onion and garlic until tender. Add the tomatoes, green chilies, tamarind, cumin, coriander, and spinach. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and cayenne pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.

* If using dried tamarind pods, remove the fruit from the pods, boil for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain and mash with a fork.

My Notes: (Click Edit to enter your notes about this recipe)

Serves 3

Per Serving:

Calories 287
Protein 16 g
Carbohydrates 51 g
Sugars 15 g
Total Fat 4.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 130 mg
Fiber 15.8 g
Beta-Carotene 8695 ug
Vitamin C 30 mg
Calcium 284 mg
Iron 7.6 mg
Folate 349 ug
Magnesium 182 mg
Potassium 1055 mg
Zinc 2.6 mg
Selenium 11.3 ug

My Rating: 
(click on a star to select your rating)

Megan C

03/08/2006 12:08 PM

Rated this recipe:

This is a delicious & easy recipe! I use more tamarind, available at Asian markets.


10/29/2008 07:51 PM

Rated this recipe:

Wow, I tried this recipe today and it was absolutely delicious. The only ingredient I didn't use was the Tamarind because I couldn't find any in the store. The best I have gotten from the site so far.Yipee!
This comment was last edited on 10/29/2008 07:53 PM

Georges_Canard replies:

03/21/2018 03:21 AM

Rated this recipe:

I like Neera's Tamarind Paste.  This is just the fruit without the seeds.  There is no added salt or sugar.  I found at Whole Foods.  Be sure you get the pure paste.

jzsusie replies:

09/09/2018 11:04 PM

Rated this recipe: (no rating)

Thanks Georges Canard


05/06/2010 01:31 PM

Rated this recipe:

This is tasty. I used fresh chickpeas (cooked in the pressure cooker) and sprouted brown rice (found in an Asian market). I used Serrano chilies and "wet tamarind," but left out the cayenne, afraid it would be too spicy. I added a lot of spinach. I think it needs a little kick of something else . . . maybe something sweet or tart (even though the tamarind and tomatoes added these elements) . . . not sure, but I did like it.

kmwilber replies:

10/29/2016 01:20 AM

Rated this recipe: (no rating)

Heh heh!  I'm pretty sure the "kick" is what you left out: the cayenne.


04/26/2011 11:05 AM

Rated this recipe:

This is a keeper. I used tamarind paste (easier to find around here, in regular grocery stores) and doubled the cayenne since I had red bell pepper instead of hot green chiles. I also used a box of Pomi chopped tomatoes instead of fresh. And chard instead of spinach. LOL. I'm sure it's good as written too--the flavor was lovely.


02/23/2012 06:17 PM

Rated this recipe:

I don't even need to make it to see how wonderful it will be. I'll be making it this week! Terrific recipe!


02/28/2013 02:07 PM

Rated this recipe:

I really liked this recipe because it tasted good and it was very easy to prepare. Now that I have made it once, I have been inspired to tweak it by incorporating other veggies with it as well as maybe substituting the chick peas with lentils. I can easily see how this recipe can be made with a variety of different veggies that it may just keep me from getting bored, and I need a lot of variety, so that is saying a lot!


09/11/2015 05:53 PM

Rated this recipe:

I absolutely love this recipe. So fast and so satisfying. I leave the spice out for my family and then spice mine up separately. This is a favorite of mine


07/29/2016 10:53 AM

Rated this recipe: (no rating)

I really loved this... But accidentally used WHOLE coriander instead of ground... ( it specifically stated ground cumin... then didn't state ground coriander ) so you eat away ... then occasionally bite into a ball that is super charged with spice (not in a good way :o) - don't make that mistake :o) lol! I didn't have spinach... but used 12 oz of small cauliflower florets... ( indian food uses cauliflower ) so it was a good ...


07/29/2016 10:53 AM

Rated this recipe: (no rating)

I used the tamarind in a brick.... bought it at the India Food Store - it's the fruit from the tamarind pods... all pressed into a brick... the Indian shopkeeper at the store said to use a bit of hot water to bring it back... although I think it may have been usable just broken up... used more than 1 tsp.... at least a tablespoon since it's not concentrated like powdered spice
This comment was last edited on 07/29/2016 10:54 AM


10/13/2017 10:25 AM

Rated this recipe:

 The flavors in this recipe are very good; however, an hour later I was very hungry. Next time I will try adding some more beans and maybe a few nuts to make it more filling.


03/29/2018 06:49 PM

Rated this recipe:

Very authentic, fast to make, and delicious.  I put in a lot more garlic than the recipe suggests, a couple more tomatoes, a can of unsalted hot green chiles, and plenty of spice, including garam masala, much more cayenne, and a touch of hot curry powder.  I added both a 10 oz package of frozen spinach and a sizable container of fresh baby spinach.  And for just a touch more sweetness I added a tablespoon or so of tayberry jam.   My result was just wonderful, a bit tart from the tamarind and tayberry, and full of fire.  

This comment was last edited on 03/29/2018 06:50 PM

acatlady2 replies:

09/21/2019 01:56 AM

Rated this recipe: (no rating)

Creative additions.



04/22/2020 08:14 PM

Rated this recipe: (no rating)

I can't eat spinach due to its high oxalate content, but want to substitute kale.  Anyone tried this yet?


04/24/2020 08:00 PM

Rated this recipe: (no rating)

For those that don't want all the spice, I used most of the ingredients but altered a little. Did not have tamarind, so used cumin and coriander only. Substituted red and yellow peppers sauteed for green chiles. Added sliced mushrooms, and pureed the tomatoes to make a sauce. Cooked peppers first, then mushrooms and onions, then chick peas and tomatoes, and last item was the spinach. Delicious!


04/24/2020 08:02 PM

Rated this recipe: (no rating)


04/14/2021 03:51 PM

Rated this recipe:

This is delicious! Try it for yourself first because it's not a pretty dish. I didn't use tamarind or red pepper but did add mushrooms. Will make again for sure. Very filling!


08/08/2021 06:31 PM

Rated this recipe:

Very good!!  We used Tamarind Puree (organic) from Glory Bee, excellent!  Thank you so much.