Kid-friendly Indian Butter CHICKpeas Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
over 1,000 kid-approved recipes coming soon! save your flavorites
Recipe: Indian Butter CHICKpeas

Recipe: Indian Butter CHICKpeas

Indian Butter CHICKpeas

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by
prep time
15 minutes
cook time
20 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

Skip to recipe

Indian Butter CHICKpeas

Indian cuisine is a personal favorite of Dylan, the recipe author. Fragrant spice blends; rich, brothy sauces; a pot of of fluffy rice - something about the combination just warms the soul! This twist on classic butter chicken features a guest appearance by spiced chickpeas in place of chicken. Chickpeas are a wonderful vehicle for all the spices India has to offer, and they rise to another level altogether when coated in the rich, tomato-butter broth. Dip a Spiced Onion Pakora Bite into this savory stew and wash it all down with a glass of Nimbu Pani Limeade for the perfect meal. Enjoy!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • sauté :

    to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.

  • stew :

    to slowly cook food in liquid in a covered pot, tenderizing meat and vegetables and creating a thickened sauce or gravy.

Equipment Checklist

  • Large pot
  • Measuring spoons
  • Can opener
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Heat-resistant spatula or wooden spoon
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Blender


Indian Butter CHICKpeas

  • 1 10-oz can chickpeas **(for LEGUME ALLERGY sub 1 small eggplant)**
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 10-oz can coconut cream **(for COCONUT ALLERGY sub heavy cream, or for COCONUT/DAIRY ALLERGY sub soy milk/cream—more info below)
  • 1 C water
  • 2 T unsalted butter **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub soy butter, like Earth Balance, or for DAIRY/SOY ALLERGY sub coconut oil)**
  • salt and pepper to taste

Food Allergen Substitutions

Indian Butter CHICKpeas

  • Coconut: Substitute 3/4 C heavy cream for 1 10-oz can of coconut cream in CHICKpeas.
  • Coconut/Dairy: Substitute 3/4 C soy milk/cream for 1 10-oz can of coconut cream in CHICKpeas.
  • Dairy: Substitute soy butter, like Earth Balance, or coconut oil for butter in CHICKpeas.
  • Dairy/Soy: Substitute coconut oil for butter in CHICKpeas.


Indian Butter CHICKpeas

combine + chop + cook

Combine all the spices: 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder into a large pot. Then add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 can of chickpeas to the pot on medium heat while kids chop 3 green onions and 2 tomatoes. Remove after about 5 minutes of cooking or when kids finish chopping. Reserve the chickpeas in a small bowl. The chickpeas will be added to the recipe in the final step.

add + sauté

Turn the heat to medium and add the chopped onions and tomatoes to the pot. Sauté all the ingredients for approximately 5 minutes, or until the white part of the onion becomes translucent.

add + simmer

Add 1 can of coconut cream and simmer on medium-low heat for another 5 minutes. Then, add 1 cup of water and simmer the sauce until ready to serve. The longer this dish simmers the more flavorful it will become.

transfer + blend + pour

Transfer the contents of the pot to your blender and carefully blend the tomato and onion into the liquids. This will create a light orange broth. Pour this mixture back into the pot and continue to simmer.

stir + warm + season + serve

Stir the reserved chickpeas and 2 T butter into the broth in the pot. Reduce the heat to low to keep the stew warm while you serve. Don’t forget to finish the recipe with salt and pepper to taste. If you want to add more spices, please do! Make sure the stew is extra thick and coats the chickpeas. To make the stew thicker, simply simmer on low heat for 5 to 10 more minutes until you have the desired consistency

Surprise Ingredient: Chickpeas!

back to recipe
Photo by Halil ibrahim mescioglu/

Hi! I’m Chickpea!

"Hmmm, I think I would like you to call me a Chickpea, not a garbanzo bean. Aren't little chicks so cute! You're probably familiar with me if you've ever eaten hummus. It's made with chickpeas! I'm a cute little seed that, when you combine a bunch of us, we can provide an excellent source of protein in your diet!"

History & Etymology

  • Chickpeas are a high-protein legume and the main ingredient in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. They may also be called garbanzo beans.
  • Evidence of domesticated chickpeas from about 9,500 years ago has been found in Turkey and the Levant (an area bordering the Mediterranean in Western Asia). 
  • The word "chickpeas" comes from the early 18th century, and earlier was "chiche-pease," which came from late Middle English "chiche," from the Middle French "pois chiche," from the Latin "cicer." 
  • The word "garbanzo" is Spanish for "chickpea," and the word "hummus" is Arabic for "chickpea."


  • A chickpea is a round, yellow-tan seed that grows in pods on a legume plant that can grow from 8 to 20 inches high. One pod holds two to three seeds. 
  • Chickpeas are grown around the world, and there are dozens of varieties, including a black one from southern Italy called "ceci neri."

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Chickpeas taste like a bean, but they also have a nutty flavor, and their texture, when cooked, is described as soft and creamy or buttery. For Middle Eastern dishes, dried chickpeas are often boiled and mashed to make hummus, or they are soaked and then ground into flour to make falafels. 
  • You can add cooked or canned chickpeas to salads, roasted veggies, soups, stews, pasta, or rice dishes. 
  • You can also roast chickpeas and eat them as a snack. In the Middle East, roasted chickpeas are called "leblebi." 


  • Chickpeas provide almost 9 grams of protein in a 3.5-ounce serving. They are available either dried or canned. Because they are high in protein, chickpeas are often added to animal and bird feed. 
  • Chickpeas have loads of dietary fiber! So what is fiber good for? Smooth digestion! It helps the body absorb the vitamins and nutrients it needs to be strong and healthy.
  • Chickpeas are also good sources of folate (vitamin B9), manganese, phosphorus, and iron.


History of Indian Butter Chicken!

Photo by Ravsky/
  • Traditionally, Indian Butter Chicken is known as "murgh makhani" (pronounced "moorgh mahknee"). "Murgh" is Hindi for "chicken," and the Hindi word "makhan" means "butter" in English. It is a curry dish made with a seasoned tomato and butter sauce. 
  • The dish was created in the 1950s by two Indian chefs, Kundan Lal Jaggi and Kundan Lal Gujral. Their version was accidentally discovered when they mixed leftover tandoori chicken with a buttery tomato sauce. 
  • A recipe for murgh makhani was first published in 1974. The following year, a version of the dish was made in New York by a Manhattan restaurant. Gaylord Indian Restaurant referred to it as "Butter Chicken" curry. 
  • The chicken is marinated and cooked in a "tandoor" (a traditional clay oven), or it is grilled, roasted, or fried. In addition to the chicken, tomatoes, and butter, other ingredients can include lemon juice, yogurt, red chili, salt, garam masala (a blend of ground Indian spices), ginger, and garlic.

Let's Learn About India!

Photo by Charu Chaturvedi on Unsplash
  • India is a country in South Asia and is officially called the Republic of India. It is the second-most populous country in the world and has the largest population of any democratic nation. 
  • Hindi and English are official languages, and there are 447 native languages spoken in India.
  • India's government includes a president, prime minister, and parliament. Twenty-eight states and eight union territories make up India's federal union. 
  • India's currency is the Indian "rupee." It is illegal for foreigners to take rupees out of India.
  • Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal's construction in 1632 for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
  • The anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's birthday is celebrated on October 2. He is considered India's "Father of the Nation" and led the Indian people to independence from 89 years of British rule in 1947. Gandhi's peaceful protest movement inspired many people in other countries.
  • India's national symbols are the lotus flower, the Bengal tiger, and the peacock.
  • Some of the world's highest mountains are in India, including Kanchenjunga, the third tallest at 28,169 feet. 
  • The Bay of Bengal is a huge bay bordering the southeastern part of India and is home to the world's largest mangrove forest. Here, tigers swim in the same waters as dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and saltwater crocodiles. 
  • The snow leopard, the Indian rhinoceros, the Bengal tiger, and the Asian elephant are all animals of India. Globally, it is the only country that has both lions and tigers.
  • The most popular sport in India is cricket!
  • It is hot in India, so people there often wear loose clothes. Traditional clothing differs by area in India. Women may wear saris, long pieces of colorful cotton or silk draped over and around the body like a dress. Men may wear a dhoti, made of material wrapped around the hips and pulled through the legs, somewhat resembling loose pants, although they aren't seen in cities much anymore. Photos of Gandhi show him wearing dhotis.
  • Seventy percent of the world's spices come from India.
  • Staple foods in India include lentils, rice, bread, and spices. People living on the coast eat more fish and seafood. In other regions, they eat chicken, beef, and game meats. Many people throughout India are vegetarians. Common fruits and vegetables are mangoes, apples, oranges, pineapples, bananas, onions, okra, potatoes, spinach, and carrots.  
  • Curries are popular dishes in India and are made with a variety of vegetables, fish, meat, and fruits, and spices. 
  • When people greet each other in India, as a sign of respect, they bow, placing their hands together before their chest or face, and say "Namaste," which translates to "I bow to the divine in you."

What's It Like to Be a Kid in India?

  • Indian parents are encouraged to start their kids in preschool at 2½ to 3 years old. School is usually taught in a particular state's language, which could be Hindi, English, or another language. 
  • Kids often have their grandparents living with them in the family household.
  • Along with cricket, tennis, badminton, and chess, kids may play traditional Indian games like kabaddi or kho-kho, both played by teams, or kancha, a marble game played individually or with others.
  • Kids enjoy the Holi festival, which is a religious celebration that also heralds the arrival of spring. Celebrated in various ways throughout the country, most versions include the joyous spraying and throwing of colorful powders by festival participants at one another. 

That's Berry Funny

Why did the rooster blush? 

Because it saw a chickpea!

The Yolk's On You

What is a mother hen’s favorite plant in the garden? 

The Chickpea!

Shop Our Cookbooks

Now available on Amazon! Our cookbooks feature kid-tested recipes that build confidence in the kitchen. Expand your child's palate and spark a love of healthy foods with a Sticky Fingers Cooking cookbook.

Subscribe to the Sticky Fingers Cooking mailing list

Subscribe to our newsletter, The Turnip, to receive exclusive discounts and updates, insider tips + tricks from our awesome team, and instant access to the Sticky Fingers Cooking Starter Kit for free!

Simply the zest!
Mackenzie from Highlands Ranch just joined a class