This chickpea curry is a creamy and flavorful Indian-inspired dish that combines the wholesome nuttiness of chickpeas with the luscious creaminess of coconut milk.

You’ll love its bold and comforting flavors, velvety texture, and balanced mix of spices. Plus, it’s the ultimate weeknight dinner, as you can make it in 30 minutes.

Chickpea Curry in a bowl with white rice and lemon

Our chickpea curry recipe is the fusion between a popular Northern Indian dish called chana masala (Punjab), where the chickpeas are cooked in a spiced tomato sauce, and coastal southern Indian cooking (Goa and Kerala), where curries are enriched with creamy coconut milk.

You’ll love the bold, fragrant, and warm spices with tender, nutty chickpeas hugged by a creamy, slightly sweet, and luscious tomato and coconut milk sauce.

We developed this coconut chickpea curry so that you can make it with easy-to-find ingredients in less than 30 minutes without compromising flavor and texture.

It’s an excellent recipe for a weeknight dinner and is also perfect for meal prep as it keeps wonderfully for several days.

Serve it with rice, roti, or naan for a tasty, wholesome, and satisfying family meal.

Chickpea Curry with white rice and cilantro

Ingredients & Substitutions

Chickpea curry ingredients

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Chickpeas

Use canned chickpeas or garbanzo beans to make this chickpea curry in 30 minutes.

If you have more time, you can soak and cook dry chickpeas. Soaking time is about eight hours. Cooking time in boiling water varies from 1 to 2 hours.

You can substitute lentils for chickpeas, but in this case, we recommend checking out our lentil curry recipe.

Flavor base

A typical flavor-based for Indian curries consists of gently frying chopped onion, ginger, and garlic in a vegetable oil of choice; we use olive oil.

Other suitable oils are avocado oil and coconut oil.

While olive oil is not used in Indian cooking because olive trees are not native to the region (although commercial olive oil production started in Rajasthan in 2013), we think olive oil is the best oil to make curry because it complements the flavors of the dish perfectly and because is one of the healthiest oils you can use for cooking.

Spices

We recommend using a mix of:

  • Curry powder.
  • Turmeric powder.
  • Ground cumin or cumin seeds.
  • Ground coriander.
  • Red pepper flakes, chili powder, cayenne pepper, or thinly sliced fresh chili.
  • Garam masala: add it at the end for a fragrant aroma.

You can find these spices in most supermarkets or Asian grocery stores. Alternatively, they are all available online and last for a couple of years in your pantry.

Tomatoes

We recommend canned crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes.

Other good options are tomato puree or ripe fresh tomatoes cut into dice.

Vegetable broth

Add more or less vegetable broth based on your preferences. For example, add more vegetable broth if you like a more soupy and liquid curry.

On the other hand, if you want a thicker curry, you can reduce the amount of vegetable broth or let the curry simmer for more than 30 minutes.

Coconut milk

Go for full-fat coconut milk; it tastes fantastic with spices and chickpeas; it softens and mellows the flavor of the spices and makes the curry velvety and creamy.

Salt, Pepper, & Sugar

We use sea salt or kosher salt and black pepper.

Sugar is optional, and the curry is still delicious without it.

We recommend it because it enhances the flavor of the curry and balances out the taste of the spices, making them more palatable and mellow.

You can use white or brown sugar, palm sugar, or coconut sugar.

Serve it with

  • Naan, roti or basmati rice.
  • A squeeze of lemon juice or lime juice.
  • A few leaves of fresh cilantro.
  • A dollop of plain, greek, or non-dairy yogurt.
creamy bowl of chickpea curry with spinach and basmati rice

How to make chickpea curry

Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add chopped onion and fry it gently for 3 minutes.

Next, add grated garlic and grated ginger and fry for 1 more minute.

Add curry powder, ground cumin, turmeric powder, ground coriander, and red pepper flakes, and toast the spices for about a minute, stirring continuously, until you smell their fragrant aroma.

spice mix and onion in a skillet

Add drained and rinsed chickpeas, vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, and coconut milk, then season with salt and black pepper.

coconut milk, spices and chickpeas in a skillet

Simmer on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until you reach your desired consistency. Stir occasionally to prevent the curry from sticking to the pan.

Simmer a few more minutes for thicker chickpea curry and less for thinner.

Tip: during the last 3 minutes, add two handfuls of spinach if you like and stir them in until they wilt.

Creamy Chickpea Curry and a wooden spoon

Turn the heat off, stir in the garam masala, then taste and adjust for salt and spices.

At this stage, you can add a tablespoon of brown sugar if you feel it’s necessary.

Chickpea Curry with a silver spoon

Serving suggestions

Serve with naan, roti, basmati rice, or cauliflower rice, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Optionally, add a dollop of yogurt and garnish with some fresh cilantro.

As a side dish, you can add:

Chickpea Curry with a spoon and rice

Variations

Chickpea curry with spinach

chickpea curry with spinach

Spinach and chickpeas are meant to be together! You can use fresh or frozen spinach.

Add them in 3 minutes before the curry is ready, stir them in, let them wilt, and enjoy.

Sweet potato curry

sweet potato curry with rice and a lemon

Sweet potato curry combines buttery, tender sweet potato chunks with nutty chickpeas and a mouthwatering, creamy coconut-tomato sauce.

Check out our sweet potato curry recipe.

Vegan curry

vegan curry with rice and lemon wedge

Our vegan curry with roasted cauliflower florets and chewy tofu chunks is a tasty, fulfilling, and nutritious recipe for the whole family. It’s also suitable for meat eaters as it’s packed with texture and protein!

Check out our vegan curry recipe.

Red lentil curry

lentil curry with basmati rice and yogurt

Red lentils are the ultimate curry legume as they get wonderfully creamy and give the curry a pleasing earthy flavor.

Check out our red lentil curry recipe.

Tofu curry

tofu curry

This is the simplest and quickest tofu curry you’ll ever make. It’s packed with taste and protein; you can make it in one pot with little effort.

Check out our tofu curry recipe.

Cauliflower curry

Cauliflower curry on white rice

Another delicious variation of this recipe is one with cauliflower florets. It’s wholesome, creamy, and delicious!

Check out our cauliflower curry recipe.

Questions

What is the recipe for vegan chickpea curry?

Our chickpea curry recipe suits vegetarians and vegans, as all our ingredients are from plants.

To make vegan chickpea curry, substitute olive oil or another vegetable oil for ghee, coconut milk for heavy cream, and non-dairy yogurt for yogurt.

How do I make Indian chickpea curry have more gravy?

To make an Indian chickpea curry with more gravy, you have two main options:
1. Add more coconut milk; we recommend full-fat for a velvety, creamy gravy.
2. You can add more vegetable broth. In this case, you’ll get a thinner gravy.

How to thicken chickpea curry?

To thicken chickpea curry, let it simmer while stirring for a few more minutes until some liquid evaporates and you reach your desired consistency.

Also, using good quality full-fat coconut milk allows you to achieve perfect creaminess.

Storage

Make ahead: chickpea curry is an excellent recipe for meal prep as it keeps well for several days, and its flavor gets even richer as it sits in the fridge. The curry will thicken a little the second day, so reheat it with a dash of water.

Refrigerator: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freezer: Let the curry cool down completely, transfer it into a freezer-friendly container, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge over several hours or in the microwave.

Reheat: warm the curry in a saucepan with a dash of water or the microwave.

More chickpea recipes

If you like cooking with chickpeas, you will love these wholesome chickpea recipes:

More curry recipes

Try one of these easy and delicious curries that will keep you warm and satiated:

chickpea curry with silver spoon and white rice

Chickpea Curry

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 18 votes
This chickpea curry is a creamy and flavorful Indian-inspired dish that combines the wholesome nuttiness of chickpeas with the luscious creaminess of coconut milk.
You'll love its bold and comforting flavors, velvety texture, and balanced mix of spices. Plus, it's the ultimate weeknight dinner, as you can make it in 30 minutes.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 – 5 people
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian-Inspired, International

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil substitute your favorite oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas or 4½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup vegetable stock add more if you want a thinner curry
  • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk full-fat
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 twists black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon sugar optional

Serve it with

  • 1 squeeze of lemon + basmati rice or naan, cilantro, and a dollop of yogurt

Instructions 

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add 1 large onion (chopped) and fry it gently for 3 minutes.
    Next, add 3 cloves garlic (grated) and 1 inch ginger (grated) and fry for 1 more minute.
    Add 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, and ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes and stir for about a minute or until you smell their fragrant aroma.
    spice mix and onion in a skillet
  • Add 3 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 1 cup vegetable stock, 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes, and 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk, then season with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 twists black pepper.
    coconut milk, spices and chickpeas in a skillet
  • Simmer on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until you reach your desired consistency. Stir occasionally to prevent the curry from sticking to the pan.
    Turn the heat off, stir in 1 teaspoon garam masala, then taste and adjust for salt and spices.
    At this stage, you can add 1 tablespoon sugar if you feel it's necessary.
    Creamy Chickpea Curry and a wooden spoon
  • Serve with naan, roti, basmati rice, or cauliflower rice, and 1 squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
    Optionally, add a dollop of yogurt and garnish with some fresh cilantro.
    Chickpea Curry with white rice and cilantro
  • Optionally, you can add 2 handfuls of spinach 3 minutes before the curry is done simmering.
    chickpea curry with spinach

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 portion of chickpea curry out of 5 portions without rice.
STORAGE
Make ahead: Chickpea curry is an excellent recipe for meal prep as it keeps well for several days, and its flavor gets even richer as it sits in the fridge. The curry will thicken a little the second day, so reheat it with a dash of water.
Refrigerator: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezer: Let the curry cool down completely, transfer it into a freezer-friendly container, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge over several hours or in the microwave.
Reheat: warm the curry in a saucepan with a dash of water or the microwave.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 371kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 714mg, Dietary Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 339IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 12mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 8µg, Calcium: 116mg, Folate: 65µg, Iron: 6mg, Manganese: 2mg, Magnesium: 102mg, Zinc: 2mg
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If you liked this coconut chickpea curry, you might also enjoy:


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Once again perfect as written. I have preferences so a little less of this and a bit more of that but this doesn’t miss. 3rd recipe I’ve made from this site and each was great.

    1. Fantastic, Rocci.
      Thanks so much for your message, I’m so happy you like the chickpea curry and our other recipe πŸ™‚
      Kindest, Louise

  2. 5 stars
    Made this today. Easy, Quick and soooo delicious! Even my very picky son liked it and that (!) means something 😁
    Thank you for the great recipe, will try other ones as well!

    1. Fantastic, Anne – and even better with your son’s approval, I’m delighted to hear that πŸ™‚
      Thank you very much for taking the time to leave a comment here.
      Kindest,
      Louise

  3. 5 stars
    I made this last week and I’ve just come back to print out the recipe so I can make it again! It was delicious.

    1. Hi Laila,
      That’s fantastic – I’m so happy the curry made you come back πŸ™‚
      Thank you for leaving a comment here.
      Kindest,
      Louise

  4. 5 stars
    Love this, made it twice now so easy and freezes well which means I always have one ready to just defrost. I’m fairly new to preparing veggie meals and have tried your lentil curry as well I will do that one again soon. These meals are easy to prepare and don’t break the bank thank you so much keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Karen,
      That’s fantastic, I’m so happy you use the curry for meal planning and freeze it, we do that too with curries!
      Thanks so much for your comment and kind words, it means a lot to us.
      Kindest,
      Louise

    1. Hi Heidi!
      I’m super happy you liked the curry, and that your family appreciated it too, YUBEE!
      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a message πŸ™‚
      Have a wonderful week ahead.
      Kindest,
      Louise