Spicy Chicken Legumes with Pinto Beans and Chickpeas

Chicken Legumes (02) by MeetaK

Funny how your emotions play ups and downs when you have to part with certain items you have had for years. I'm cleaning out! Quite radically actually - I cannot believe how much stuff we have.

This week I sorted out several of my clothing items. Most of the stuff has been upstairs in our attic for - well forever. Nice dresses, fancy party outfits and my wedding dress! I parted with all of it. I gave it to the Weimar version of Oxfam. I came out feeling relieved like a weight had been lifted off. Yes I even gave my wedding dress away and felt quite good about it. It was a simple and elegant designer dress nothing with frills. I hope that another young girl finds her happiness in it with the man of her life. I found mine and I do not need a dress to remind me of it!

Then today I parted with other items. As I was sorting them out last night I could feel the melancholy rising inside. Some of my cookbooks have been with me for over 15 years. While these too were neatly stored up in the attic making room for the new ones down in the kitchen and living room, I somehow felt a kind of safety knowing they were there. See these were the cookbooks that not only helped a young girl of 21-22 learn to cook but also taught this girl the German language. I have not looked at even one of them in several years. I am beyond "Basic Baking" now - after all I am a Daring Baker. The basics have given way to more challenging cookbooks and I knew they had to go.

I wiped each one clean, removing the dust that had began to gather. Making myself comfortable, I opened a few and smiled at a few notes and post-its I had stuck into the pages. How I remember finding making a lasagna quite daunting back then and laughed at the funny scribbles on my post-it note! I packed each one carefully in a box and Tom helped me carry it to the boot of my car.

Today I brought them to a second hand bookstore and they took most of them. The others I'll be selling on Amazon.de. I do not feel relieved. I am still wondering if I should not have kept the one or two. I also know that this is a feeling I will have to get used to over the next few months as I part with several items. 

Chicken Legumes ( 01) by MeetaK

To perk me up a little I decided to make a comforting meal. Nothing lavish or challenging, very basic actually, but extremely delicious. I love my legumes and try to add it where ever I can. I had a few chicken breasts in the fridge and a can of chickpeas and pinto beans in the pantry, the rest came as I went along. The result was a very satisfying and nicely spiced chicken legumes dish. Served with warm naans and a green salad, I am vitalized and am sure I will easily find a few good replacements for the cookbooks!

Recipe: Spicy Chicken Legumes with Pinto Beans and Chickpeas

Printable version of recipe here.

2-3 chicken breast, cut in strips
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and washed
1 can pinto beans, drained and washed
2 red bell peppers, sliced
2 red chillies, chopped
1 medium sized red onion, diced
2 spring onions/scallions, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
Pinch of ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Chives, chopped


  1. Heat a large skillet add the oil and allow to get hot. Turn the heat to medium then add the onions, garlic, ground cumin and chopped chilies. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions are transparent and the garlic fragrant.

  2. Add the tomato paste and cook for another few minutes until the oils start to separate.

  3. Throw in the chicken strips and mix to coat with the spice mixture. Gently brown the the chicken until cooked. Add a bit of water should the mixture begin to stick to the pan.

  4. Put in the bell pepper strips, beans and chickpeas, add some water (not more than 1/2 cup), then cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes.

  5. Finally sprinkle with the spring onions, season to taste and toss well.

  6. Sprinkle with chives and serve hot.

Serving Tip: Serve with hot naans, whole wheat pitas or fresh baguette. A large fresh green salad is a great and refreshing completion to the meal.



Spicy, nutty and wonderfully simple. It's the perfect weeknight dinner and is prepared within minutes. We've been eating legumes quite a lot lately and Tom keeps saying "no more!" however, every time I serve up another bean, chickpea or lentil dish he digs in whole heatedly. Soeren and I laugh at him and say he needs a strong Indian stomach to hold up to all the legumes, to which we get dirty looks from him LOL! But then how can you stop eating dishes like this.

Srivalli, is also having a legumes love affair this month as she is hosting My Legumes Love Affair 7th Helping an event created by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook. I'd like to send some of this over to Srivalli. Another event revolving around legumes, in particular chickpeas, is this month's JFI Chickpeas hosted over at Sometime Foodie. I'm sending a bit over there too.

You might like these legumes dishes from WFLH:

PeaSoup2 Hummus04byMeetaAlbrecht SouthAfricanBiryani 02 - framed
Pea Soup Minty Hummus South African Chicken Biryani

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  1. Looks absolutely lovely.

    You are so true about cleaning out very theraupeutic, but somehow I have such strong attachments to stuff especially books that I just can't get rid of them !!

    sandeepa (Bong Mom's CookBook)

  2. Hi Meeta,

    I love your blog. Do you have a good recipe for those Naans? They look sooo good. Please share your naan recipe with us.

    Thanks in advance!


  3. I feel ya girl! When my old kitchen was supposed to be emptied, I almost was in tears because I had filled up the cabin and dining room and I still had stuff to clear, Arvind was so angry. I packed half of it and gave it to Good Will stores.
    I did the same with Tushar's clothes and shoes too. He is growing like a palm tree, nothing fits but still hanging in the closet! Phew!! It does feel good to get rid of the load!

    Chole and Naan, yummo! :))

  4. Looks lovely... beautiful picture.
    This post reminds me of my pre-Christmas clean up.. it was rather difficult to give up a lot of stuff.. eventually I did manage to Now my wardrobe is much smaller, our attic much cleaner!

  5. Lovely recipe, as always, Meeta! I love how you always come up with uncommon combinations (chicken and chickpeas? Would never have thought of combining the two!) While on the subject of cookbooks, I'm on the market for a Jamie Oliver one, and am wondering if you have an recommendations. Thanks!

  6. love the lighting in the first pic! and oh my god, that bread!

  7. Lovely clicks meeta!
    u r so true about cleaning stuffs n parting wit it. the amount of junks (esp books) I have got in my cellar n attic is jus too much. I feel its high time I donate them.

    Lovely post n lovely curry.

  8. So unsure what to go for first -- the bread or the chickpeas?
    So generous of you to give your wedding dress away. I don't know many people who would do that.

  9. Love legumes too...especially when they have such great flavor like these ones :) I love chickpeas and dal (all variations) is something I really enjoy in Indian cuisine!

    I need some of that cleaning therapy! Hang in there!

  10. I wish I lived close by... I'd have loved to pick up some of your books.

    My father once told me, "Give away 5 dresses of yours before you buy a new one." I try very hard (and am not always successful) and give away things regularly. But I should be more organized :)

  11. It might be a sim^le legume dish, but i always think dishes are like these are so comforting.
    Oh yeah i did the cleaning out in sepetmeber after comming back from holidays in India, as i bought so much clothes from there.
    Bravo to give away your wedding dress. It is such a nice thing for you to do, there will be a nother young person who will have pleasure wearing the dress.

  12. Clearing ones cupboards is daunting, but so necessary. Nothing makes you feel better than a good clean out! This meal looks pretty lavish to me...delicious!

  13. Gorgeous meal.
    Well, your way ahead of me. I can give away most anything but when it comes to cookbooks, that's where I clutch.
    I know I've got to do it sometime soon. I should have already done it.

  14. I have tried many times to give away old cookbooks to make room for the new - and failed. Maybe one day I will be ready.

    This dish sounds delicious - a dish my family would enjoy. I really enjoy reading you blog and have given you an award. Come visit to pick it up.

  15. There is something mind clearing about downsizing your life of the items that are just items.

    You are right, the memories are in your head, heart and soul not the items.

  16. I have never made chicken with chick peas. love your recipe. Its pretty uncomplicated. & boy those Naans look divine!

    i have been putting off cleaning up for quite a few months now. Meeta i could not give away my wedding sari:-( i still use it. that was so generous of u!

  17. I just stumbled across your blog (an entry from feb 2006 came up when I googled "pesto shelf life" :P) and I've subscribed -- excited to be reading! :)

  18. last month i gave away my wedding outfit. i don't even miss it. good luck with the move, meeta, tom and soeren.

  19. What a mouthwatering dish. I love pinto beans and chickpeas. Your dish looks easy to make and healthy. Very nice!

  20. Thanks everyone for all your comments, wishes and motivation!

    Sarah - welcome to WFLH! Hope you enjoy it here and please stay in touch!

  21. mmm i think i might make this on friday. it's freezing rain outside and this sounds perfect.

  22. I can totally relate to how hard it is to get rid off stuff. Usually I don't miss any of the items, but sometimes I think...oh, where did I put that sweater, only to remember that I've give it away.

    Love anything with garbanzo beans!

  23. Mmm looks delicious! I make something very similar when I'm tired or don't have much to work with in the fridge.

  24. What a gorgeous meal, Meeta :-)

    Well done for decluttering...I have quite a lot to do, time I started!

  25. The naan looks so fluffy and buttery! It'd be perfect to scoop up the lovely chicken. The colors look great too.

  26. What a wonderful thing you did, giving all those items away. Many people are going to be happy.

    You dish looks delicious as usual, I love all the ingredients in it.


  27. This looks like a delicious dish.

    I do enjoy cleaning things out once in a while, but I understand completely that melancholy feeling when you have to give away too many things that you're not quite ready to part with!

  28. Giving away your wedding dress is truly generous and such a lovely thought and act. Coming to the chicken with chickpeas, I would never have thought of combining meat with legumes. This definitely is interesting and so healthy:-) Love your pic, especially the bread!

  29. Oh meeta, you're a braver woman than I am... I don't think I could throw out my wedding dress justu yet. Besides, by hook or by crook I am going to lose 5kg and renew my vows in it next year :)

    We are about to ship our stuff (finally) from South Africa to London and will have to try and do some weeding first. Intellectually, I know that it's been in storage for 6 years and that I have lived a happy and fulfilled life without most of it (except my books, CDs, photographs and our art which I've missed almost daily). But emotionally... that's an entirely different story.

    Love the recipe - I'd add a few chunks of chorizo I think :)

    Btw, I nominated you for an accolade on my blog:

  30. I always find it completely liberating to clean out, and I feel very warm inside knowing that I am recycling clothes/books/furniture/kitchenware/whatever to people who really can use it. Nothing gets thrown away, and I make room for new (to me) books/clothes, etc. I love cleaning out my pantry every six months or so, too, and making dishes like this one that spring from the imagination and from what is on hand. With a few spices here and there, what results is almost always wonderful -- and impossible to duplicate!

  31. yes this photo made me hungry :-) i never tasted pinto beans though! can't wait to try this recipe dear!

    ps, i second emotion on a recipe for naan.I LOVE THEM

  32. Hi meeta,
    i started drooling the moment i saw the picture! Looks really delicious. I try not to accumulate stuff so i dont have to prune in the first place but somehow it never works out that way.

    Thanks for sending in this lovely Spicy chickpea dish to JFI,

  33. Yes, I would find it hard too to part with my books.
    Very delicious chicken recipe!
    Wish you all the best with the move!

  34. Goodness, gracious me hon, you are torturing me here with those dishes.

    Can you tell me more about those flatbreads you have there? And the recipe?

  35. What a lovely dish Meeta..thanks for the entry!...I still have my things from my childhood..:))..can never get to dispose them of!

  36. Lovely dish with beautiful picture, Meeta.


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