Poppy Chickpea Salad

Recipe courtesy Jerry Traunfeld of Poppy

December 28, 2008

Traunfeld flavors this simple chickpea salad with ajwain seeds, a staple of Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines, available at specialty spice shops like Pike Place’s Market Spice. When fresh garbanzos are unavailable, chef Traunfeld recommends using Spanish chickpeas from a jar, which have slightly less salt than canned peas.


  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, jarred or fresh
  • 2 tbsp peanut or other vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black or brown mustard seed
  • ½ tsp cumin seed
  • ¼ tsp ajwain seed (or substitute fennel or celery seed)
  • ¼ tsp red chili flakes (or less, for a milder salad)
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup green onion, chopped
  • ½ cup whole milk yogurt


Simmer fresh chickpeas for 15 to 20 minutes in salted water or rinse jarred chickpeas. Drain well and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Preheat a small skillet over medium-high heat, then pour in oil. When oil is very hot, add mustard seed. Partially cover the pan to shield the sputtering seeds, then turn heat to low. When sputtering subsides, uncover, add cumin, ajwain, and chili flakes, and cook for about 10 seconds—until the spices are a deeper brown and fragrant.

Immediately pour the oil and spices over the chickpeas. Add lemon juice, salt, cilantro, and green onion, and stir to combine with a rubber spatula. Mix in yogurt. Serve right away or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.

Filed under