Chickpea Curry Recipe | Coconut Chickpea Curry

Chickpea Curry Recipe | Coconut Chickpea Curry

While chickpeas made in a curried way is most popular in the northern part of India, this one here is a South Indian style Chickpea Curry Recipe. A highly protein laden dish, this Coconut Chickpea Curry is a spicy and super delicious curry preparation made with healthy white chickpeas, bold spices and fragrant coconut. This is even vegan. Also, don’t get intimidated with the long list of ingredients. If you follow the recipe well, making this curry is not that difficult.

chickpea curry with a coriander sprig on top, in a black bowl on a blue wooden tray.

About Chickpea Curry

In my personal collection of recipes, I have quite a few varieties of the Chickpea Curry which I make regularly at home.

My all-time favorite is this robust and flavorsome one, the authentic Punjabi Chana Masala. This recipe has a good balance of spiciness and tanginess, which enhances the overall flavors too. It is just like the Chickpea Curry you get on the streets of Delhi and Punjab.

However, the Coconut Chickpea Curry recipe that I have here on this post is a South Indian version. So, the real taste comes from the coconut and whole spices that are used in this particular variation of the dish.

The distinct taste of coconut is quite dominant in this South Indian variant. Also, there is a subtle sweetness in this preparation, and it is not sour or tangy.

Basically, in this Chickpea Curry recipe, all commonly used ingredients of South Indian cooking are added. The grated coconut being one of the main ingredients which just makes the dish awesome.

You can also experiment and make the same recipe with black chickpeas, green peas or cauliflower or potato as well.  

The masala paste of the Punjabi or North Indian style Chickpea Curry uses onions, tomatoes, spices, dried pomegranate seeds or dried mango powder. This also imparts the desired spiciness spicy and sourness in the curry.

Along with these ingredients, garam masala powder or chana masala powder is also primary in this typical way of preparing the dish.

But in this Coconut Chickpea Curry Recipe from South India, I add 2 mildly hot dried red chilies for a lesser spicy version at times.

On some other occasions, I add 4 dried red chilies to increase the fieriness. So, you can vary the quantity of red chilies as per your taste, spice preference and the quality of red chilies.

Dried Chickpeas or Canned Chickpeas

I always use dried chickpeas when making any recipe with it. Soaking dried chickpeas and then cooking them is an additional prep work that you need to do. But my recipe works great with canned chickpeas too.

The coconut and spices curry base is so flavorful, that once you add water, simply add the canned chickpeas (after draining the liquids and rinsing). Mix and stir to combine and simmer for some minutes.

To make Chickpea Coconut Curry with canned chickpeas, add 3 cups of the canned chickpeas. Remember to drain all the liquids from the canned chickpeas and thoroughly rinse the chickpeas a few times in water, before you add them to the curry base.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Chickpea Curry

Pressure Cook Chickpeas

1. First, rinse 1 cup dried white chickpeas for a couple of times in water. Then, soak the chickpeas in 3 cups water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. Below is a photo of the soaked chickpeas.

Tip: If you have forgotten to soak the chickpeas, soak them in hot water for 2 hours.

soaking dried white chickpeas in water for chickpea curry recipe.

2. Drain the water. Rinse the chickpeas again a couple of times.

rinsing soaked chickpeas for chickpea curry recipe.

3. Again drain all of the water and add the soaked chickpeas in a 3 litre stovetop pressure cooker. Add ½ teaspoon salt.

If you do not have a stovetop pressure cooker, cook chickpeas in a pot or pan covering them with 3.5 to 4 cups of water. Or opt to cook them in the Instant Pot adding 3 cups of water.

drained chickpeas added with salt in a pressure cooker for chickpea curry recipe.

5. Add 3 cups water.

water added to chickpeas in pressure cooker.

6. Stir to mix. Cover tightly with the pressure cooker’s lid. Pressure cook the chickpeas for about 20 to 22 minutes or 18 to 20 whistles on medium to high heat. The chickpeas should be completely cooked and have a melt-in-mouth consistency.

Note: If cooking chickpeas in a pot, add about 3.5 to 4 cups water with salt to the chickpeas. Cover and cook the chickpeas till softened.

pressure cooked chickpeas in a ladle.

Make Chickpea Curry Base

7. While the chickpeas are cooking, prepare the curry base. Gather the spices listed below:

  • ½ tablespoon fennel seeds
  • ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 4 to 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 dried red chilies (mild to medium hot), seeds removed
  • 1 small piece stone flower (dagad phool), optional

For a spicy taste, add about 3 to 4 dried red chilies. The amount of red chilies to be added depends on the heat quotient in the chilies.

So, if you use red chilies which have a high heat quotient, then just 1 or 2 dried red chilies would be fine.

spices in a steel plate to make chickpea curry.

8. You need to toast or roast the spices first. In a frying pan or skillet, dry roast all the spices stirring often on low heat till they become fragrant – taking care that you do not burn them.

dry roasting spices in a pan.

9. Next, add ½ cup tightly packed grated fresh coconut and continue to roast.

Do not worry if you do not have fresh coconut. Instead add about ⅓ cup of unsweetened desiccated or shredded coconut.

grated fresh coconut added to spices in the pan.

10. Stir continuously while roasting the coconut, so that there is uniform browning.

stirring the coconut while toasting or roasting.

11. Roast till the coconut becomes golden. Remove the pan from heat and allow this mixture to cool.

roasting coconut till golden.

12. Once the coconut-spice mixture is cooled, add it to a high-speed blender or a mixer-grinder jar.

Also remember to remove the husk from the black cardamom and just add its seeds in the blender or grinder.

cooled coconut-spice mixture added to a wet grinder jar.

13. Add about ⅔ to ¾ cup water and grind to a fine and smooth paste. Ensure that the curry paste is not gritty or has fine chunks of the spices or coconut. Set aside.

roasted coconut-spice mixture ground to a smooth paste with some water.

Make Coconut Chickpea Curry

14. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a pan. Keeping heat to a low, add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and allow them to crackle.

mustard seeds added to hot oil in pan.

16. Then, add 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf) and stir.

tej patta added to the pan.

17. Add ⅓ cup finely chopped onions.

chopped onions added in the pan.

18. Stir and sauté till the onions turn translucent and soften on low to medium heat.

sautéing onions till translucent.

19. Add the below listed ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • 1 pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves
ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, asafoetida and curry leaves added to onions.

20. Stir and sauté on low heat for a few seconds or until the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

sautéing onion mixture.

21. Add ½ cup chopped tomatoes.

chopped tomatoes added in the pan.

22. Sauté on low to medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes or till the tomatoes soften.

sautéing onion-tomato mixture till tomatoes soften.

23. Add the prepared curry paste.

prepared masala paste added to the onion-tomato mixture.

24. Stir very well to combine with the rest of the sautéed ingredients.

masala paste mixed well with the onion-tomato mixture.

25. Then, add the drained and cooked chickpeas.

drained, cooked chickpeas added in the pan.

26. Stir well again and sauté for a minute.

sautéing chickpeas mixture.

27. Now, add 1 cup water and 1 or 2 slit green chilies.

reserved stock and slit green chilies added in the pan.

28. Season with salt as required. Mix again.

adding salt in the chickpea curry.

29. First bring to a boil on medium heat and later simmer the curry on low to medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes; or till the curry thickens a bit and you see some oil floating on top.

Mash a few chickpeas with the back of the spoon to thicken the curry. Check the seasonings and add more salt as per your taste. Add more water, if needed depending on the consistency you prefer.

simmering chickpea curry.

30. Lastly, switch off the heat and add 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro). Stir well.

chopped coriander leaves added to chickpea curry.

31. Serve Chickpea Curry hot with Indian breads like poori, naan, tandoori roti, bhatura, aloo paratha, bread, jeera rice or steamed rice accompanied with lemon wedges and onion slices.

chickpea curry in black bowl on a blue wooden tray.

Expert Tips

  1. Chickpea Quality: Remember to always use fresh dried white chickpeas and the ones which are in their shelf period. If you use aged chickpeas, it will take more time to cook and the dish will not even taste good.
  2. Swapping with Canned Chickpeas: In case you have canned chickpeas at home over dried chickpeas, you can make the dish with it as well. You may use about 3 cups canned chickpeas in that case.
  3. Cooking Chickpeas in a pan: If you plan to cook the chickpeas in a pot, add about 3.5 to 4 cups water and salt to the chickpeas. Then, cover and cook till the chickpeas soften.
  4. Spiciness: Make the curry less or more spicy by adding less or more dried red chilies. The quantity will also depend on the spice and heat quotient of the chilies.
  5. Fats: You can use ghee in place of oil to cook this recipe. In this case, it will not be vegan. The recipe is also possible with black chickpeas instead of white chickpeas. You can also add make the same curry cauliflower, potatoes or green peas.
  6. Leftovers: The leftover curry can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days. However, I recommend you consume it the same day to avoid any digestion-related issues. Before serving the refrigerated curry, gently reheat it in a pan. If the curry has become too thick, add some water to dilute the consistency a bit and then reheat.

FAQs

Can I make this recipe without dry roasting the spices for the coconut curry base?

You may try. But I suggest you do as a curry base prepared with freshly toasted/roasted and ground spices imparts a different and unique flavor in the dish as compared to the one made with pre-ground spices.

How can I store the leftover curry?

This Coconut Chickpea Curry will stay good in the refrigerator for about 1 to 2 days.Just make sure to reheat it properly before serving.

I want to use canned chickpeas to make this recipe. How do I go about it?

Since canned chickpeas are pre-cooked, you just have to prepare the base curry. Once you make it, add the canned chickpeas in it and let the curry simmer for a some minutes or until it is slightly thickened or reached the desired consistency.

Can I prepare this curry in ghee?

Yes, you can certainly prepare the curry in ghee. Note, then it won’t be anymore vegan.

More Unique Chickpea Recipes To Try!

Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

chickpea curry with a coriander sprig on top, in a black bowl on a blue wooden tray.

Chickpea Curry Recipe | Coconut Chickpea Curry

A highly protein laden dish, this vegan Chickpea Curry is a spicy and super delicious curry preparation made with healthy white chickpeas, bold spices and fragrant coconut. Serve the Coconut Chickpea Curry over a bowl of hot steamed rice for a comforting meal.

4.78 from 44 votes

Prep Time 9 hrs

Cook Time 30 mins

Total Time 9 hrs 30 mins

For soaking & pressure cooking chickpeas

For toasting or roasting spices

Other ingredients to make curry

Cooking chickpeas

  • First rinse the dried chickpeas for a couple of times in water. Then soak the chickpeas in 3 cups of water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.

  • Drain the water. Rinse the chickpeas again for a couple of times.

  • Again drain all the water and add the soaked chickpeas in a 3 litre stovetop pressure cooker.

  • Add ½ teaspoon salt and 3 cups water. Stir to mix.

  • Pressure cook the chickpeas for 20 to 22 minutes or 18 to 20 whistles on medium to high heat.

  • If cooking chickpeas in a pot, then add about 3.5 to 4 cups water and salt to the chickpeas. Cover and cook the chickpeas till they softened.

Making curry paste

  • When the chickpeas are cooking, you can roast or toast the spices. Gather all the spices you will need and set them aside.

  • In a pan or skillet, on a low heat dry roast the spices except coconut – listed under the “toasting or roasting the spices” heading above, till they become fragrant. Take care not to burn them, so roast them on low heat and stir often.Remember to roast all spices except coconut.
  • Once the spices smell fragrant, add the fresh grated coconut to the spices and begin to roast or toast on low heat.Note you could use either fresh grated coconut or frozen shredded coconut and even ⅓ cup of unsweetened shredded or desiccated coconut.
  • Stir continuously while roasting the coconut, so that there is uniform and even cooking.

  • Roast till the coconut become golden. Remove the pan from the stovetop allow the this mixture to cool at room temperature.

  • Once the coconut-spice mixture is cooled, add them to a high-speed blender or mixer-grinder. Make a note to remove the husks from the black cardamom and just add its seeds in the blender or grinder.
  • Add ⅔ to ¾ cup water and grind to a smooth and fine consistency making sure the curry paste does not have any small chunks or bits of the spices and coconut.

Making chickpea curry

  • Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a pan. Keep heat to a low or medium-low.

  • Add the mustard seeds and allow them to crackle. Then add tejpatta and stir.

  • Next add the finely chopped onions. Stir and sauté on low to medium heat till the onions turn translucent and soften.

  • Add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric power, asafoetida and curry leaves.

  • Stir and sauté for a few seconds on low heat till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

  • Add the chopped tomatoes. Sauté on a low to medium heat, for about 2 to 3 minutes till the tomatoes soften.

  • Add the ground coconut and spices curry paste. Stir very well to combine.

  • Then add the drained and cooked chickpeas. Stir again well and saute for a minute.

  • Now add 1 cup of water and 1 or 2 slit green chilies.

  • Season with salt as required.

  • Give a boil first and then simmer the curry for 10 to 15 minutes on a low to medium heat or till the gravy thickens a bit and you see some oil floating on top. 

  • Mash a few chickpeas with the sides of the spoon to thicken the gravy. Check the seasonings and add more salt if you prefer.

  • Switch off the heat. Lastly add chopped coriander leaves. Stir well.

  • Serve Chickpea Curry hot with chapati, poori, bread or steamed rice accompanied with lemon wedges and thin onion slices or a side of vegetable salad.

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • Dried Chickpeas: Use 3 cups of canned chickpeas.
  • Stone flower: Can be skipped.
  • Asafoetida: Optional ingredient and can be left out. 
  • Fresh Coconut: Swap with ⅓ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut or can make the curry paste with frozen shredded coconut. 
  • Curry leaves: Gives a lot of flavor to the curry, so do not omit it from the recipe. You could also add dried curry leaves instead. 
  • Black mustard seeds: Swap with small yellow mustard seeds. 
  • Dry red chillies: Add chillies which are less spicy or medium-spicy. You could also use the Indian variety of Kashmiri red chillies. If out of red chillies, add ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper or paprika when you add turmeric powder to the softened onions. 

Recipe Notes

  1. If you have forgotten to soak chickpeas, soak them in hot water for 2 hours. 
  2. For a less spicy curry, add only 1 red chilli or half of one chilli.
  3. Since coconut is one of the important ingredient in the recipe, make sure it is fresh and not rancid. The coconut should have a mild sweet taste.
  4. You can cook chickpeas in an Instant Pot or in a pan on the stovetop adding water as needed. 
  5. If using canned chickpeas, add them when you add water to the curry paste. Simmer for some minutes until the curry thickens a bit and the chickpeas absorb the flavor of the curry.
  6. Leftovers can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days. 
  7. For a gluten-free curry, do not add asafoetida (hing). 

Nutrition Facts

Chickpea Curry Recipe | Coconut Chickpea Curry

Amount Per Serving

Calories 343 Calories from Fat 162

% Daily Value*

Fat 18g28%

Saturated Fat 4g25%

Polyunsaturated Fat 2g

Monounsaturated Fat 10g

Sodium 650mg28%

Potassium 612mg17%

Carbohydrates 38g13%

Fiber 12g50%

Sugar 8g9%

Protein 11g22%

Vitamin A 377IU8%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.3mg20%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.1mg6%

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 30mg150%

Vitamin B6 0.3mg15%

Vitamin C 58mg70%

Vitamin E 5mg33%

Vitamin K 8µg8%

Calcium 114mg11%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 581µg145%

Iron 5mg28%

Magnesium 83mg21%

Phosphorus 223mg22%

Zinc 2mg13%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Like what you see?

Stay up to date with new recipes and ideas.

This Chickpea Curry recipe from the blog archives, first published in July 2013 has been republished and updated on December 2022.

0
Like
Save