Channa Chaat | Tangy Indian Chickpea Salad | Street Food

The spicy, tangy taste of a true Indian chaat.

Channa Chaat

A craving for some spice brought me today to a spicy chickpea dish, commonly sold as street food in India. It is a dish that is full of flavours found throughout India.

It’s a snack, really. Generally eaten at room temperature, it is one of the wonderful chat (chaat) dishes so integrated into the varied cuisines of India. It is an amazing tease of contrasts. Sour yet sweet. The bite of onion with the smoothness of chickpeas and potato. The mineralisation of rock salt with the tartness of mango powder and lime juice. It is an amazing dish.

Read all about chickpeas here.  Are you looking for other Chickpea recipes? Try Chickpeas with Beetroot Greens and Chilli, Hummus, Kabli Chana Til SasKabli Chana Adrak Kachamber and Channa Chaat.

You might like to browse our Chickpea Salads, or all of our Chickpea dishes. Explore our Indian Recipes. And check out all of our snacks. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes

Chickpea Chat

In this dish are the flavours of India. Not the restaurant Indian dishes that are served up and called traditional, at least here in Australia. Many restaurants reduce their spices for local consumption, and the dishes are often based around sauces that are similar from one dish to another. [Update: we now have many more cafes and restaurants serving more authentic food, and even street food. However, the general rule of thumb here is the more established and the larger the restaurant, the more the dishes have been modified for local palates.]

In chaat you will find quite different flavours. I won’t say that it is a comfort dish that eases your mouth and your body into a state of relaxation. This is a “Woh-hoh” in your mouth. An assault of wonderful flavours that wakes up all your senses. It is amazing and delightful.

Suggested Reads

You might also like to try Creamy Pearl Hummus Salad, Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread, or Oven Baked Chickpeas. All of our chickpea dishes are here, and the snacks are here. Or be inspired by our Indian dishes here and here.


Chickpea ChatChaat

The word chat or chaat means to lick and the word masala means spice mix in Hindi. So generally, the word chat is used for a collection of savoury and highly spicy snacks that would make you lick /smack your lips – if that was acceptable in Indian etiquette.

A note on ingredients

Chat dishes are distinguished by the Chat Masala spice mix that is used to impart the spicy flavour to the main ingredient. You can buy this, but it can be home made. You can read how here.

Jaggery is a palm sugar commonly used in India and SE Asia. You can substitute brown sugar.

Channa Chaat

Channa Chaat | Chickpea Chaat

2 cups chick peas, soaked and cooked. Keep them slightly undercooked, not overcooked. They need to still have some bite to them.
2 big boiled potatoes, peeled and chopped
1-3 green chillies finely chopped
2 tspn ginger finely chopped
1 – 2 medium onions chopped
3 Tblspn lemon or lime juice
1 tspn jaggery or fine sugar
2 Tblspn coriander leaves chopped
2 med tomatoes, chopped
Sea Salt to taste
Chat Masala to taste – start with about 0.5 Tblspn, and add more if you want it spicier.

Mix and refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours. Serve cold.

recipe notes
Add chopped parsley, mint and coriander and mix through. Also mung bean sprouts.

Increase the ratio of tomatoes by 2 or 3 additional tomatoes chopped into chickpeas size pieces.

Chat Masala partners very well with fruit – any tropical fruit, melons, apples, pears. Sprinkle some over the fruit or leave on the side to dip fruit pieces into.

browse some of the Chickpea recipes




35 thoughts on “Channa Chaat | Tangy Indian Chickpea Salad | Street Food”

  1. I’m indulging in your stunning photo’s! And I’ve learnt a lot about the chickpea reading here…unfortunately my knowledge is far less, so I can’t even suggest a relationship between the chickpea and Siva…you explanation sounds reasonable to me.

  2. Amazing photo, thanks for the chat masala recipe, I am loathe to buy and then let them to lay around. Love chick peas and this is a great way to eat them.

  3. I absolutely love coming here – for the recipes, information and the stunning photos. I have been wanting to make my own hummus – hmmmm. And now – I’m hungry – happens every time I even get close to your blog – the aromas are just too much!

  4. I made it through the first half. Never saw such a comprehensive chaat post! Wonderful, and very useful for someone like me, trying to learn more about Indian cooking. Of course like the others I am stuck on that single chick pea that you so lovingly photographed πŸ™‚

  5. Everyone, thank you so much. To get your comments just makes my day. Yes, I don’t blame you Linda, just making it through the first half, it is such a long post. I must break it into 2, I think. But, Linda, I hope you get to the recipe and see how fabulously easy it is.

    Chat is so wonderful, so “woh-hoh” in the mouth. I love that you love it too.

    Asha, which is your favourite recipe for chole with Batura. I found one at Mahanandi that looks yummy.

    Kimberley, hummus indeed – a favourite of mine too. I have a hummus post coming up. I know that everyone and their dog post hummus, but, well, if this is about what comes out of my kitchen, then I have to have one too. Not as good as others, but reflective of my cooking.

    Rina, thank you for coming by, lakshmi too. myfrenchkitchen, I like the analogy of Siva Shakti too. The spirituality of food, heh?

    Ok, better finish this opus magnum πŸ™‚ thanks everyone again.

  6. Wow! What a lovely post and very informative! After the first glance, I wanted to comment on the pictures but I realised that the post was quite long! I must say it’s really awesome! πŸ™‚

  7. I want to add to the wows. I’m so impressed by your informative posts. The more I know about what I’m eating, the happier I am. It’s fascinating to pull on all the strands of science, history and culture that food holds.

    And your recipe looks delicious. I’m always on the lookout for authentic Indian recipes, so this makes me very happy.

  8. Oh yes, @shu, sorry about the length. I really did get carried away. Always so much to say about food.

    hannehanne, thanks so much. Hope you get to try it.

  9. Hi mansi, sometimes maybe we “forget” the taste of things that we eat often? or maybe forget to really taste it? I love this dish, but only make it every now and again when I get a craving for it or for India.

    Hey, Cynthia, thanks! (and sorry again for the length).

  10. Boy, I have had a look at this post again. I reckon that there are three posts in this one post. I better split it at some stage….. I must have written and written and written …. Perhaps too much coffee.

  11. Hey Vegeyum,
    My first time here and I’m totally in love with your writing and the pictures ofcourse! Brilliant stuff and I’m going to keep coming over and over again- I’m a chick for chickpeas and we both love the chana chaat – one Indian salad that can make a complete dinner!
    Cya around…am off to read more of your stuff now.

  12. I encounter opposite information regarding chickpeas/garbonzo beans.

    An equal number of sites say they are high-purine and other that say they are purine-free. Which is sorrect??? This is very important to me because I am on a low to no-purine diet.

    Hi Kate, you should consult an expert on this, and not rely on internet information. Best of luck.

  13. Just Yammi::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Thank you Ognish. It sure is.

  14. A very nice recipe indeed. However, I’d like to comment here that, Lahore is in Pakistan.
    The recipe varies from India to Pakistan. So , I’d suggest you state here that this is an Indian cusine and omit the mention of Lahore.

    Chana chat in Lahore , is a little different , and instead of amchur it uses tamarind and a few other spices.

    Thanks for your lovely comment, and esp re Lahore. As the recipe came from the indicated book (an Indian book) I can’t alter the name. I have already stated it is an Indian Dish (see CUISINE under the name of the recipe, and again in the RECIPES AND FOOD page). Interestingly, I have seen this chaat pat on the beaches of Kerala. Who knows what reminiscences of Lahore moved the creator of this dish – perhaps using locally available ingredients? Or perhaps Punjabi immigrants into the South of India? Don’t you love the way that food, like language, moves around the world, morphing and changing with every new influence? Fascinating to watch those transitions. For example, the Italian Salsa Verde is very different in Mexico!

  15. Hi! We had an Indian Food-themed dinner party last night and I used your chickpea chaat recipe – wow! It was fabulous! We had loads of other dishes too and the party was a real hit with our friends. My husband and I love Indian food and we love cooking it too. In a funny way, it reminds me of my own “soul” food (I am African American, living in England). I look forward to following your blog. How do you get such good pictures of your food? I try my best (and I use a Nikon 40D with 17-55 mm stock lens) but I don’t achieve that bright and vivid clarity I’m looking for. Any advice?? Thanks! Best wishes, Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa,
      What a wonderful dinner party! I am glad that you liked these chickpeas, it sure is amazing.

      Two tips for you with taking pics of food, altho I have to say your pics are wonderfully bright. Make sure that you have good light – I often place the food on my windowsill to get the light through the window. And use Picasa to “tidy up” the photo. Picasa is a Google product that you can download for free.

Welcome! I hope you are enjoying what you see here. Thank you so much for your comment and your thoughts.

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