South Indian Coconut Chickpea Curry (Spicy & Vegan)

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This South Indian Coconut Chickpea Curry is a spicy and super delicious curry made with white chickpeas, coconut and spices. A vegan dish.

coconut chana masala

In this recipe the real flavor comes from the coconut and whole spices. You can actually get a distinct taste of coconut. There is a subtle sweetness and this channa masala is not sour or tangy.

This spicy coconut chickpea curry goes well with rice, roti, paratha or poori. It can even go very well with bhature (leavened fried breads). If you are fond of chole bhature then you can consider serving it with the homemade bhatura.

I make varieties of chickpea curry recipes at home. My all-time favorite Is this authentic and flavorsome Punjabi Chana Masala. The recipe gives a good balance of spiciness, taste and flavor. It tastes like the chickpea curry you get in the streets of Delhi and Punjab.

The recipe posted here is a South Indian version of chickpea curry with coconut. So as the name suggests, This curry has South Indian flavors and taste awesome. basically in this recipe, all the ingredients which are commonly used in South Indian cooking are added, with grated coconut being one of the main ingredients.

In the Punjabi style or North Indian version, onions, tomatoes, spices and dry pomegranate seeds or dry mango powder, make the masala paste and give a spicy and slightly sour taste to the curry. Apart from the above ingredients, garam masala powder or chana masala powder is also added.

I make this recipe, with mildly hot 2 red chilies for a low spiced version at times. And on occasions, I add 4 dry red chilies to make it spicy. So you can vary the amount of red chilies as per your taste, spice preference and the quality of red chilies.

The same recipe can also be made with black chickpeas, potato or green peas.

Serve this coconut chickpea curry hot with chapati or puri or naan bread or kulcha or plain paratha or lachha paratha or bhatura or aloo paratha or bread or steamed rice accompanied with lemon and onion slices.

How to make coconut chickpea curry

A) cooking chickpeas or chana

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

chana, chole, chickpeas

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

chana, chole, chickpeas

3. Again drain and add the soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker.

chana, chole, chickpeas

4. Add ½ tsp salt.

salt for coconut chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

5. Add 3 cups of water.

water for coconut chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

6. Stir and pressure cook the chickpeas for 18 to 20 whistles on medium to high flame. The chickpeas should be completely cooked and have a melt in the mouth consistency.

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

cooked chana, cooked chickpeas, making chickpea curry recipe

7. When the chickpeas are cooking, you can prepare the masala. Here are the spices that we will roast first – ½ tbsp fennel, ½ tbsp cumin seeds, 1 small piece of stone flower/dagad phool (optional), 4 to 5 black peppercorns, 2 green cardamoms, 2-3 cloves, 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon, 2 dry red chilies. For a spicy taste, add about 3 to 4 dry 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 dry red chilies would be fine.

spices for coconut chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

8. In a pan or skillet, on a low flame dry roast the spices till they become fragrant.

roasting spices for coconut chana curry recipe, making chana masala recipe

9. Then add ½ cup tightly packed grated coconut to the spices and begin to roast.

making chickpea curry recipe

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

roasting coconut

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

roasting coconut

12. Once the coconut+spice mixture is cooled, add them to a wet grinder jar. Remove the husk from the black cardamom and just add its seeds in the grinder.

coconut+spice mixture

13. Add about ⅔ to ¾ cup water and grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside.

coconut+spice mixture paste

14. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan.

oil in a pan

15. Add ½ tsp mustard seeds and allow them to crackle.

crackling mustard seeds in a pan

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

adding tej patta to the pan

17. Add ⅓ cup chopped onion.

onions for making coconut chana masala

18. Stir and saute till the onions turn translucent and soften.

sauteing onions

19. Then add 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste, ¼ tsp turmeric powder, a pinch of asafoetida and 10-12 curry leaves.

adding ginger garlic paste and spices to the pan

20. Stir and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic disappears.

sauteing ginger garlic paste

21. Add ½ cup chopped tomato.

tomatoes for making coconut chana masala

22. Saute for about 2 to 3 minutes till the tomatoes soften.

cooking tomatoes for coconut chana masala

23. Add the ground masala paste.

adding ground masala paste

24. Stir very well.

mixing

25. Then add the drained chickpeas. Reserve the stock.

adding chickpeas

26. Stir again well and saute for a minute.

making coconut chana masala

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

water for making coconut chana masala recipe

28. Season with salt as required. Do keep a check on salt as the stock already has salt.

salt for making coconut chana masala

29. Give a boil and then simmer the curry on a low to medium flame for 12-15 minutes or more till the curry thickens a bit and you see some oil floating on top. Mash a few chickpeas with the sides of the spoon to thicken the curry. Check the seasoning and add more salt as per your taste. Add more water if required.

mashing chana for coconut chana masala

30. Lastly, switch off the flame & lastly add 2 tbsp coriander leaves. Stir well.

coconut chana masala

31. Serve coconut chickpea curry a hot with pooris or naan or tandoori rotis or bhatura or aloo paratha or bread or jeera rice or steamed rice accompanied with lemon and onion slices.

coconut chana masala recipe, coconut chickpea curry

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coconut chana masala

Coconut Chickpea Curry (Indian)

4.77 from 42 votes
Spicy and super delicious South Indian curry made with chickpeas, coconut and spices.
Prep Time 9 hrs
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 9 hrs 30 mins

Cuisine South Indian
Course: Main Course

Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

for pressure cooking chickpeas

  • 1 cup dried white chickpeas (kabuli chana or safed chana) or 180 grams of dried white chickpeas
  • 3 cups water for pressure cooking the chana
  • ½ teaspoon salt

for roasting masala

  • ½ cup tightly packed fresh grated coconut
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon fennel
  • ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 dry red chilies or 3 to 4 chillies - would make the dish spicy
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 4 to 5 whole black pepper
  • 1 small piece of stone flower (dagad phool) - optional

other ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves
  • 1 green chili - slit
  • 50 grams onion or 1 medium onion or ⅓ cup chopped onion
  • 80 grams tomatoes or 1 medium tomato or about ½ cup chopped tomato
  • ¼ or ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ inch ginger + 2-3 garlic - crushed or made into a paste in mortar-pestle or about 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 cup stock or stock+water (here the stock refers to the water in which the chickpeas were cooked)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves for garnishing (cilantro leaves)
  • salt as required

Instructions

cooking chickpeas

  • First rinse 1 cup dried chickpeas for a couple of times in water. Then soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.
  • Drain the water. Rinse the chickpeas again for a couple of times.
  • Again drain and add the soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker.
  • Add 1/2 tsp salt. Add 3 cups water.
  • Stir and pressure cook the chickpeas for 18 to 20 whistles on medium to high flame.
  • If cooking chickpeas in a pot, then add about 3.5 to 4 cups water with salt to the chickpeas. Cover and cook the chickpeas till they softened.

making masala paste

  • When the chickpeas are cooking, you can roast the spices. In a pan or skillet, on a low flame dry roast the spices mentioned under the "roasting the masala" list, till they become fragrant. Roast all spices except coconut.
  • Then add ½ cup tightly packed grated coconut to the spices and begin to roast.
  • Stir continuously while roasting the coconut, so that there is uniform browning.
  • Roast till the coconut become golden. Remove the pan and allow the this mixture to cool.
  • Once the coconut-spice mixture is cooled, add them to wet grinder. Remove the husk from the black cardamom and just add its seeds in the grinder.
  • Add ⅔ to ¾ cup water and grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside.

making coconut chickpea curry

  • Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan.
  • Add ½ tsp mustard seeds and allow them to crackle. Then add tejpatta and stir.
  • Add ⅓ cup chopped onion. Stir and sauté till the onions turn translucent and soften.
  • Then add 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste, ¼ tsp turmeric power, a pinch of asafoetida and 10-12 curry leaves.
  • Stir and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic disappears.
  • Add ½ cup chopped tomato. Sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes till the tomatoes soften.
  • Add the ground masala paste. Stir very well.
  • Then add the drained chickpeas. Stir again well and saute for a minute.
  • Now add 1 cup stock or stock+water and 1 or 2 slit green chilies.
  • Season with salt as required. Do keep a check on salt as the stock already has salt.
  • Give a boil and then simmer for 12-15 minutes on a low to medium flame or more 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 seasoning and add more salt as per your taste.
  • Switch off the flame & lastly add 2 tbsp coriander leaves. Stir well.
  • Serve hot with chapati, pooris, bread or steamed rice accompanied with lemon & onion slices.

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Coconut Chickpea Curry (Indian)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 351 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Sodium 1175mg51%
Potassium 625mg18%
Carbohydrates 38g13%
Fiber 11g46%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 645IU13%
Vitamin C 90.3mg109%
Calcium 94mg9%
Iron 4.4mg24%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Dassana Amit

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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147 Comments

  1. I tried yesterday. Turned out awesome 👏. Thanks for the lovely recipe. Everyone liked a lot. Super taste.5 stars

    1. Thank you for the rating and the review on the recipe. Glad to know. Happy cooking.

  2. I cooked this for friends and everybody loved it.
    Thank you soo much for such delicious curry.

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