South Indian Coconut Chickpea Curry (Spicy & Vegan)

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

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.

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coconut chana masala

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

Few more similar recipes for you!

STEP BY STEP PHOTOS ABOVEMany of my recipes have detailed step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Coconut Chickpea Curry (Indian)

4.77 from 42 votes
Spicy and super delicious South Indian curry made with chickpeas, coconut and spices.
coconut chana masala
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 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

Dassana Amitnamaste 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. 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 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. Thanks for sharing this recipe. It is really very nice.

    • Welcome AGS

  3. 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.

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

    • Welcome Shuba. Thanks for your positive comment on chana masala recipe.

  5. 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

    • thanks. 18 to 20 whistles is about 20 to 22 minutes.

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

    • thank you swetha. do try the other recipes as well. happy cooking.

  7. Hi! What do you mean by stock? Vegetable stock?

    • here in this recipe the stock is the water in which in the chickpeas were cooked.

  8. 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?

    • i use the same device and jar for both wet grinding and dry grinding. for wet grinding, i do add water before grinding. here is link to the grinder i use – https://www.amazon.in/Preethi-Blue-Leaf-Platinum-139/dp/B008LN5D4G

      • Is there any substitute of coconut

        • you can use coconut milk. also instead of fresh coconut, you can use desiccated coconut.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

    • Welcome Preeja. Glad to know this. Thanks for sharing that without onion garlic the recipe still taste yum.

  11. 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)

    • thank you minnmichelle. i have never had any dishes from saravana bhavan, but heard a lot about them. thanks for the compliment ????

  12. Tried this recipe today and my family loved it! thank you so much 🙂5 stars

    • Welcome Tanusha. Nice to know that you all liked chana masala recipe.

  13. 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.

  14. 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/

  15. Hi. Do you have a suggestion for a wet grinder?

    • 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?

  16. Too good, but if possible translate the words which can be know easy3 stars

    • in which language. hindi or other language.

  17. Tried it out and my entire family loved ur awesome recipe. Thanks Dassana. Keep it going.

    • nice to know sai and thanks for sharing.

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

    • thanks sandhya for sharing your suggestions, indeed kaju paste will add rich flavor and texture. traditionally coconut is added.

  19. 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.

  20. verry nice …4 stars

    • thank you ankit 🙂

  21. Thanks Dassanna
    It was awesome4 stars

    • Welcome Nisha

  22. 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

    • thanks harini. the stock is the water in which the chana are cooked.

  23. What a Great Recipe…… Awesome taste Dasanna…. Loved it….. ??????

    • thanks a lot kavita.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

    • thankyou harga for your mind words 🙂

  27. Hi, Can I know what stock is being used in this recipe?

    • its the stock in which the chickpeas are cooked.

  28. 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

    • thanks sadiya. the recipe is good and i hope you like it.

    • 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

      • very pleased to know this laxmi 🙂 thankyou for trying the recipes and glad your kids liked them and you are always welcome.

  29. 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.

    • thanks puru. yes you are right. coconut changes the flavor.

  30. Very special to my kitchen thanks5 stars

    • welcome anu

  31. 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?

    • thanks aparna. yes its alright.

  32. 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

    • thanks ashlee. i use an indian brand ‘preethi’. its a good grinder.

  33. Very tasty recipe and other recipes also very good5 stars

  34. 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

    • welcome. thanks for sharing positive feedback and your kind words.

  35. 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

    • welcome joyce. yes it should be smooth and fine.