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.
Table of Contents
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.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.
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.
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.
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.
We recommend canned crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes.
Other good options are tomato puree or ripe fresh tomatoes cut into dice.
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.
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.
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.
Add drained and rinsed chickpeas, vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, and coconut milk, then season with salt and black pepper.
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.
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.
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 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 combines buttery, tender sweet potato chunks with nutty chickpeas and a mouthwatering, creamy coconut-tomato sauce.
Check out our sweet potato curry recipe.
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
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.
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.
Another delicious variation of this recipe is one with cauliflower florets. It’s wholesome, creamy, and delicious!
Check out our cauliflower curry recipe.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Optionally, you can add 2 handfuls of spinach 3 minutes before the curry is done simmering.
If you liked this coconut chickpea curry, you might also enjoy: