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
spicy and super delicious south indian style chickpea curry with coconut.
chana masala recipe, chickpea curry recipe
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:9 hrs
Cook Time:30 mins
Total Time:9 hrs 30 mins
Course:main course
Cuisine:south indian
Servings (change the number to scale):4
(1 CUP = 250 ML)

INGREDIENTS

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

INSTRUCTIONS

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.

NUTRITION INFO (approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
south indian chana masala
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

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.

Comments are closed.

145 comments/reviews

  1. Hello dassanaji!!! Wondering how I have never viewed did recipe even though I m following u for yrs…..hope ur new year is going good….gonna try did recipe as soon as possible. Sorry 4 asking u again n again pls share the recipe of eggless vattalappam recipe with us dassana ji if possible….. Thanks a ton!!!5 stars

    • thanks aishu. it happens. the structure of website is such that many recipe get hidden. this is a very good chickpea curry and you can try at home. i have got a couple of requests for vattalappam. in fact i had an eggless version in one of the hotels in kumarakom in kerala and it was very good. so i will try to add the recipe in some time.

  2. Thank you for all your amazing recipes.
    One point missing in this recipe is the number of whistles needed for cooking the chana. All your other recipes I have tried mentions this.
    Thank you once again
    Roshni

    • Welcome Roshni. Usually I try to mention. However the time to cook chana varies as it depends upon many factor like size of cooker, age of chana and intensity of flame. older the chana, the more time it takes to cook.

  3. Thank you for this detailed recipe which turned out awesome, followed exactly step by step and the result was outstanding 👌5 stars

  4. In the recipe, you mention “pressure cook the chana for 18 to 20 whistles”. How many minutes would 18 to 20 whistles convert? (I prefer to take my attention off cooking while pressure cooker is doing its job. If you specify the minutes it is convenient to come back after the specified number of minutes)

    Appreciate this awesome recipe. Thank you in advance5 stars

  5. Liked your capsicum curry, channa masala, the way you have given instructions is very good, Thanku

  6. For the wet grinder, is it the same device you use for dry grinding, and you just add water before grinding? Or is it a different device?

  7. I can’t wait to try and make this version tonight. I made the Punjabi-style from your website several times, and it simply amazing.

    I was just curious, do you ever add anything else to the chickpeas when you cook them? I have read/seen the addition of baking soda helps cooks the peas more quickly, and cooks the inside without drying. In addition to the beautiful color the tea/gooseberries provides, the theory is it also counteracts the bitter tasting baking soda.

    Could anything be used for the same effect?

    • thanks bryan. while cooking chickpeas, i usually do not add baking soda. but yes on rare occasions i have added baking soda and it does help the chickpeas to have a soft melt in the mouth texture. just add a pinch of baking soda. this much does not give any bitter taste. if more is added, then yes bitter taste will be felt. there is nothing that can replace baking soda.

  8. I tried Channa Masala today for Aapams.. They just turned out to be Wow….I don’t cook onion and garlic.. I omitted the onion and garlic and remaining ingredients were all the same.. It was Superb. We offered it to lord Jaganath today..Thank you Dassana!5 stars

  9. Thanks for this recipe. I made it (minus black cardamon and mustard seed, which I didn’t have) and found it delicious. It reminded me very much of a chana served with appam in Chennai saravana bhavan. (that is meant to be a compliment)

  10. Goodness me, your recipe tastes absolutely wonderful! Thank you for such detailed yet utterly clear instructions, it turned out absolutely perfectly.

    I did have to make a couple of amendments, mainly because I don’t have a wet grinder. I toasted the spices and ground them in a coffee grinder, then made a paste with water. For the coconut I had to use a creamed coconut block which I finely grated and added to the ingredients. Before adding the chick peas I used a handblender to make sure everything was as finely paste as possible. The end result was not grainy at all, so this method will work if you don’t have a wet grinder. Also, as I had them in the cupboard, I added the juice of half a lemon, and a tiny pot’s worth of mango chutney. These additions certainly didn’t hurt the flavour.

    Once again, thanks you so much! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.5 stars

    • thanks a lot lee. i am amazed at the small and useful steps you have implemented in the absence of a wet grinder. great 🙂

      thanks for sharing all the methods and variations you have done as this will help readers who do not have a wet grinder. do try the other recipes as well. happy cooking.

  11. I’m getting so hungry looking at this recipe, I’m dying to make it! But I have no stone flower, curry leaves, hing, or cardamom pods. I do have cardamom seeds, though. How much seed should I use, & are there any substitutes for the flower, leaves, & hing? Or should I try a different recipe?

    • druid, for some reason, your comments were in the spam folder. not sure why.

      you can skip stone flower and hing. curry leaves gives their aroma and taste, so my suggestion would be not to skip it. but if you do not get them where you live, then you do not have any option, but to make the chana masala without curry leaves. for cardamom seeds, you can add 2 to 3 cardamom seeds. there is no substitute for curry leaves, stone flower. you can try this recipe as i feel these ingredients will not be difficult for you to have or get – https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/punjabi-chole-chickpeas-in-a-spicy-gravy/

    • by wet grinder, you mean the table top grinder (for grinding idli & dosa batter) or the mixer-grinder used in indian homes for grinding, blending and juicing?

  12. replace cocunut with kaju paste and it is super delicious. spices and kaju to be grinded separately

  13. Thanks for posting such superb reciepes, your webpage is my go to place whenever I cook something new and it turns out delicious and awesome.I tried this chole reciepe today and it turned out excellent tastewise but somehow the texture of the gravy came out to be granular and inconsistent, what should I do to get a smooth, consistent, well bound thick gravy? Is it that I need to grind all coconut gravy ingredients for some more time till they become fine and smooth?
    Thanks dassana madam and keep posting such beautiful, neatly presented and well articulated recipes. 🙂

    • thanks a lot chaaya. the coconut masala needs to be ground fine. if the coconut and spices are not ground fine, the granular or gritty effect will be felt in the gravy. the coconut-spice paste should be smooth. this is applicable for most coconut based gravies, unless otherwise mentioned in the recipe.

  14. Hi.. superb one. I just love all your recipes. Let me try this chana masala tonight for chapati.
    Could u pls let know what is “stock” mentioned in the last point ? Thanks

  15. I was interested as the recipe is a variation of the regular chole masala,but all the recipes I have read so far have onion and garlic. How about giving alternative spices as quite a few of us are no onion no garlic people. Thanks4 stars

    • i do plan to add a no onion no garlic version of chole masala. about giving alternatives in a recipe containing onion garlic can be tricky as the other ingredients required have to be used in precision, so that there is an overall good balance of taste and flavor in the dish.

  16. HI,

    I love the recipe but I was wondering if I can substitute for some of the ingredients if I can’t find them like the curry leaves or asafoetida.4 stars

    • you cannot substitute asofoetida and curry leaves as they have their own property and characteristics. hope this help’s you 🙂 at the most you could skip them but that would impact the taste of the recipe.

  17. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you
    are a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back in the future.
    I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great job, have a
    nice morning!

  18. Looks yumm gonna surely try tomorrow
    Kept chickpea for soaking overnight
    Can’t wait for the taste. I basically don’t use coconut in curries but I’m using it as it has to be used in this recipe let’s see he outcome
    I’m sure it will taste best thnx 4 d recipe 🙂4 stars

    • I always like to try your recipes as they are very simple and easy to make .and very tasty. I have tried 3 receipes .they were very tasty and my children couldn’t believe it was home made.II got a lot of praises . thanks a lot. I’ll try this too today.1 star

  19. Loved this recipe and the food. I don’t know what it was but the flavor was unique compare to chana masala i’ve made before. Perhaps it was the coconut flakes.

  20. Hi Dassana,
    I want to try this recipe. Looks very yummy! I have never made with fresh coconut. Is it okay to use dry coconut?

  21. I just made this and it tasted amazing! What kind of wet grinder do you use? I tried to make the paste in my blender but could not get it so smooth! Help please!5 stars

  22. Namaste dassana&amit, I have found your beautiful blog searching for chana masala recipe and I immediately understood to be in the right place. Your post is so true and familiar that I had the sensation to be with a real indian chef while cooking chana masala in my kitchen… And what a delicious dinner! Thank you for sharing your talent.5 stars

  23. All of the spices taste amazing! I ended up using my Vitamix to blend/grind the coconut and spices. It was pretty smooth, but in wasn’t as smooth as tomato paste. Should it be? Thank you for such a yummy recipe!5 stars