Chickpea Usali Salad


This is a recipe I based off of usali, a South Indian bean salad. Usali is usually made from kala chana or black chickpeas. You can buy them dried and they have a nice earthy flavor to them. The downside though is that they take quite a bit to cook. This is what they look like and if you do want to try the recipe, here’s my mom’s.


I modified the usali recipe to include chickpeas instead of kala chana and some vegetables I had in the fridge: string beans, red pepper and purple onions. It’s so bright and colorful, kind of like a bowl full of summer.  I made this dish for a barbecue at my friend Karol’s.

The salad is flavored with coconut, fried spices, curry leaves, lemon and cilantro.


I love crunchy salads and this one does not disappoint.


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  • Purabi Naha

    Lovely! I love South-Indian food. Dosa is my favourite. I am going to tr this chickpea recipe!

  • Kelly @ HIdden Fruits and Veggies

    This sounds super tasty! An Indian restaurant in my town had something vaguely similar to this on Valentine’s day and it was so amazing. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Heather

    I made this tonight for supper! Very tasty. Three notes: I used a shallot instead of a quarter of a red onion and it was too pungent (my fault). Also, your step calls for chiles but they’re not in the ingredients. I crumbled one dried red chile and it was just the right level of spiciness. Lastly, I just used a whole 15.5-ounce can of chickpeas, drained, and about 3/4 pound of green beans. Perfect balance! Thanks for the recipe, Chitra!

  • Chitra

    Heather – thanks so much for your comment and have added the red chili into the ingredients (good eye!). One random tip to reduce pungency of onion is to put the cut rings in a strainer and pour boiling water over them. I picked that up randomly from a Deborah Madison recipe from a while back. You could even pour the boiling water from the string beans over them in this case. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Heide M (TM)

    I’ll have to try this.

  • Camryn

    I haven’t tried this one. By looking at this, I’m urging to eat one!
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