spicy south indian chana masala with coconut

south indian channa masala recipe with step by step photos – spicy and super delicious south indian style chickpea curry or channa masala recipe. 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.

chana masala recipe, chickpea curry recipe

this spicy 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 this chickpea curry with the homemade bhatura.

chickpea curry is a regular dish at home. i make varieties of chickpea curry recipes. my all-time favorite is this authentic and flavorsome punjabi chana masala, which is one of the most tried and tested chickpea recipe on the blog. 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 channa masala. so as the name suggests, this curry has south indian flavors and taste awesome. basically in this chickpea curry 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 chickpea curry, onions, tomatoes, spices and dry pomegranate seeds or dry mango powder, make the masala paste and give a spicy and slight sour taste to the chana or chole recipe. apart from the above ingredients, garam masala powder or chana masala powder is also added to the punjabi chickpea curry recipe.

i make this spicy chickpea curry, 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 spicy chana masala hot with chapathi 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 south indian chana masala with coconut

a) cooking chickpeas or chana

1. first rinse 1 cup dried chickpeas (chana) for a couple of times in water. then soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. below is a pic of soaked chickpeas.

chana, chole, chickpeas

2. drain the water. rinse the chickpeas again for 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 chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

5. add 3 cups of water.

water for 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 chana, 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 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.

making chickpea 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.

making chickpea curry recipe

11. roast till the coconut become golden. remove the pan and allow this mixture to cool.

making chickpea curry recipe

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.

making chickpea curry recipe, masala for making chana masala recipe

13. add about ⅔ to ¾ cup water and grind to a smooth paste. keep aside.

making chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

14. heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan.

oil for cooking chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

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

preparing chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

16. then add 1 tej patta (indian bay leaf) and stir.

preparing chana masala curry recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

17. add ⅓ cup chopped onion.

onions for making chana masala curry recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

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

making chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

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

making chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

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

making chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

21. add ½ cup chopped tomato.

tomatoes for making chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

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

making chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

23. add the ground masala paste.

masala paste for preparing chickpea curry recipe

24. stir very well.

making chickpea curry recipe

25. then add the drained chickpeas. reserve the stock.

chana for preparing chickpea curry recipe

26. stir again well and saute for a minute.

making chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

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

water for making chana masala recipe

28. season with salt as required. do keep a check on salt as the stock already has salt.

salt for making chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

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 chana masala recipe, making chickpea curry recipe

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

chana masala recipe, chickpea curry recipe

31. serve south indian chana masala 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.

chana masala recipe, chickpea curry recipe

few more similar recipes for you!

south indian chana masala

4.71 from 37 votes
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:9 hrs
Cook Time:30 mins
Total Time:9 hrs 30 mins
Course:main course
Cuisine:south indian
Calories: 351kcal
Servings (change the number to scale):4
chana masala recipe, chickpea curry recipe
spicy and super delicious south indian style chickpea curry with coconut.

INGREDIENTS FOR south indian chana masala

(1 CUP = 250 ML)

for pressure cooking chickpeas

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

for roasting masala

  • ¾ to 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon fennel
  • ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 dry red chilies or 4 chilies 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 (hari mirch) - 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
  • 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
  • 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves for garnishing (cilantro leaves)
  • salt as required

HOW TO MAKE south indian chana masala

cooking chickpeas

  • first rinse 1 cup chana (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 1/2 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 2/3 to 3/4 cup water and grind to a smooth paste. keep aside.

making south indian chana masala

  • heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan.
  • add ½ tsp mustard seeds and allow them to crackle.
  • then add tejpatta and stir.
  • add 1/3 cup chopped onion.
  • stir and saute till the onions turn translucent and soften.
  • then add 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste, 1/4 tsp turmeric power, a pinch of asafoetida and 10-12 curry leaves.
  • stir and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic disappears.
  • add 1/2 cup chopped tomato. saute 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 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.
  • switch off the flame & lastly add 2 tbsp coriander leaves. stir well.
  • serve south indian chana masala hot with chapati, pooris, bread or steamed rice accompanied with lemon & onion slices.
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dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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145 comments/reviews

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