Kala Channa Kababs (Black Chickpea Kebabs)

It wouldn’t be fair to call this recipe an ‘alternative’ to chicken/lamb kababs because these kababs really do stand up all on their own! They’re crisp on the outside, soft when you bite in, and are flavored with a fantastic blend of spices and fresh herbs. They go great with a mint chutney and are the perfect appetizer for a rainy evening or when you have guests over.  

Keys to getting them right: 1) Adding a few cashews to the chickpea blend results in a smoother, richer texture 2) Toasting the Besan! (gram flour) – this step is essential to the taste. Raw besan can have a slightly chalky flavour; but once toasted, it has an almost nutty aroma. Bonus: These kababs are made with black chickpeas – a great source of protein, that also happens to be vegan🌿

Recipe: Kala Channa Kebabs (Black Chickpea Kebabs)

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Indian


  • A mixer / blender/ food processor
  • A non-stick pan (preferred but not essential)


For the Spice Blend

  • ½ tsp Shahi Jeera (Small Black Cumin seeds)
  • 6 Cloves
  • 1 inch-long-piece Cinnamon
  • 3 pods Cardamom
  • 1 tsp Peppercorns
  • a small piece Javitri (Mace)
  • 1 tsp Dhania Powder
  • Salt [to taste]

For the Herb Paste

  • 1 medium sized Onion
  • a half-inch-piece Ginger
  • 5 – 6 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Green Chilies
  • 1 cup Coriander / Cilantro Leaves
  • ½ cup Mint Leaves

For the Kabab Base

  • cups Boiled Kala Channa (Black Chickpeas)
  • 6 – 7 Whole Cashew nuts
  • 10 tsps Besan (Gram Flour)
  • Vegetable Oil [Alternate: any neutral oil. As much as needed to shallow fry the kabas]
  • sliced Onion [to garnish]
  • Lemon Wedges [to garnish]

For the Mint Chutney

  • 2 cups Mint Leaves
  • 1 cup Coriander / Cilantro Leaves
  • 1 Green Chili
  • 1 – 2 cloves Garlic
  • a small grape sized piece Tamarind
  • a small piece Jaggery [when powdered it should amount to 1.5 tsps]
  • Salt [to taste]


  • Dry roast the spices (except for the coriander powder) in a pan until fragrant. This should take a roughly 2 minutes1.
  • Next, add the coriander powder and toss continuously with a spatula as it roasts. Give this just about a minute until you notice the colour darken and a nutty aroma.
  • Allow the spices to cool for a bit and then grind to a fine powder2.
  • Grind all of the ingredients listed under ‘For the Herb Paste’ to a smooth paste. You shouldn’t need to add any water as the herbs have enough moisture in them. However, if you find that the paste isn’t grinding down well enough, add a 2 tsps of water and blitz again.
  • Grind the boiled Kala Channa3 (black chickpeas) and cashew nuts to a coarse paste. Use a pinch of salt and 4 tsps of water to aid in the grinding process.
  • Dry roast the Besan (gram flour) on low heat for 3 – 4 mins. You’ll know it’s done once it starts to give off a toasty aroma and changes colour ever so slightly.
  • Combine 2 table-spoons of the spice blend, the roasted besan, the herb paste and the kala channa paste in a bowl to form a homogeneous dough like mixture. Taste check and adjust the seasoning (salt, spice mix) if necessary.
  • Wet your hands and portion the dough into little balls.
  • Pat each ball down to form a kabab like you see in the picture below. Place them on silicone mat or surface that they wont stick too.
  • Heat a couple of tsps of oil in a nonstick pan; gently transfer the Kababs onto the hot pan and allow to roast on each side for 2 – 3 mins until they are brown and crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil.
  • To make the chutney, grind all the ingredients listed under ‘For the Mint Chutney’ to a coarse paste. Taste check and season with more salt if needed.
  • Serve the Kababs hot, accompanied with the chutney, sliced onions and a generous squeeze of lime.
Keyword Black Chickpea Kebabs, High Protien Appetizers, Indian Cuisine, Kala Channa Kabab, Spicy Appetiser, Vegan Kebabs, Vegetarian Kababs

Recipe Notes:

1Always dry roast spices on a low flame to ensure they don’t burn.

2You won’t need all of the spice blend in one go; so store in an airtight jar to use again in the future.  

3Soak the Kala Channa for 8 hours or overnight and then pressure cook until soft enough to squish between your fingers with very little pressure. I usually do this a day ahead of making the Kababs and store the boiled channa in the fridge.

Give this recipe a shot the next time you want to get your Kebab on🧆🥃 and let me know in the comments below if you need any more instructions/ have some feedback🖖

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