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Creamy Coconut Chickpea Curry

This luscious creamy coconut chickpea curry is super easy to make, vegan, tomato-free and comes together in just 25 minutes. It’s easy and perfect for a fake-away night or entertaining.

Top-down view of a white plate with rice and chickpea curry.

There are many different chickpea dishes in India and this one I made to taste, remembering some of the creamier coconut-based recipes I’d had at restaurants down south.

Why you’ll love it

  • It’s ridiculously easy to make.
  • It’s rich and creamy and delicious.
  • It’s ready in under half an hour.
  • It’s mild but you can easily add some heat (see recipe card notes).
  • It’s filling, has a ton of flavor and is amazing served with some steamed basmati rice or mopped up with naan bread.
  • Chickpeas are a great vegetarian source of protein and fiber.

If you love chickpeas and or curry you might also want to check out my top-rated chickpea spinach curry, this creamy black bean curry, or Indian-style tofu curry.

Ingredients and substitutions

Labelled ingredients for creamy chickpea curry including chickpeas, oil, coconut milk etc.

If you’re counting calories you can replace half the coconut milk with vegetable stock or water and use low-fat coconut milk.

This is a mild curry with a little burst of heat from the garam masala, to make it spicier you can add in some ground cayenne pepper (between a quarter to half a teaspoon depending on how hot you like it) with the other spices, or a whole chili pepper before grinding the onion mixture.

For the oil, you only need a little but I recommend using a neutral one like sunflower or canola.

I love lemon juice in this but you can also use lime juice instead if you prefer.

How to make it

Top-down close-up of a plate of white rice and yellow chickpea curry.

In this section, I’ll quickly run over how to make the curry and pop in a few process shots so that if you are unsure about any part of the process you can check your recipe-in-progress against the photos here.

Take a small onion, the garlic, and the ginger, peel, and roughly chop. Add to a food processor bowl or high-speed blender bowl along with the ground clove, black pepper, and cinnamon (see image one below).

Double image showing food processor with onions etc. on the left and ground up on the right.

Grab the can of coconut milk (don’t shake it!) and spoon three tablespoons worth of the cream from the top in with the onion mixture. Grind/process until fairly smooth (see image two above).

Next, heat the oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet or frying pan, and add one teaspoon of cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds are crackling and have lightly browned, add the ground paste (image three below).

Double image, white paste in a black pan on the left, brown paste on the right.

Fry for around five minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking until the mixture has thickened up and lightly browned, then add in the turmeric and the ground coriander, mix and fry one minute more. The mixture should look like image four above.

Add in the rest of the coconut milk, the cooked chickpeas, salt, and sugar and mix again. It should look like image five below.

Double picture with light yellow sauce in a pan on the left and chickpeas with dark yellow sauce on the right.

Turn the heat up to high until the mixture is nearly boiling, then turn it down to medium-high to maintain a lively simmer. Stir often to prevent the chickpeas from sticking to the pan and burning. Let it cook for around five to eight minutes or until it has reached your desired consistency (see image six above).

Take off the heat and add the garam masala and the lemon juice to taste. Adjust seasoning to taste, and done!

If your curry thickens up a little more than you’d like, you can easily adjust the consistency by adding a little water.

Now serve with some beautiful basmati, freshly made naan, and try not to inhale it all at once!

Hand taking a spoonful of chickpeas in creamy yellow sauce on a white plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add in extra vegetables?

Of course, some bell pepper or baby spinach would make a great addition. Vegetables that need to be cooked, like bell pepper, should be added with the paste, spinach can be added a minute or two before cooking is finished.

How do I store leftovers?

Once cool you can keep this curry in the fridge for up to four days.

Can you freeze this curry?

You can freeze it for up to three months but might need to add a little extra lemon juice before serving once defrosted and warmed.


Did you make this creamy chickpea curry? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating in the recipe box, review, or comment below.

Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian), I love seeing all your creations!

Yield: 4 servings

Creamy Coconut Chickpea Curry

Top-down view of a white plate with rice and chickpea curry.

An easy creamy rich mildly spiced coconut curry combining all my best memories of restaurant-style curries from the south end of India and Karnataka. It's even vegan and tomato-free!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1½ inches fresh ginger
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ Tablespoon oil (sunflower or canola)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (400g)
  • 1 can coconut milk (unshaken, 400ml)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1½-3 tablespoons lemon juice (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Peel and roughly chop the onion, ginger, and garlic. Add to the bowl of a food processor or blender along with the cinnamon, clove, and black pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the cream spooned from the top of the can of coconut milk. Blend/process until as smooth as possible (it will still be a little chunky).
  2. Heat the oil in a pan on medium-high heat and add the cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to crackle and have browned, add the ground paste. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring often, until mixture is reduced and lightly browned.
  3. Add the turmeric and ground coriander, mix well, fry 1 minute more.
  4. Add the chickpeas, coconut milk, salt, and sugar turn the heat up to high and reduce to medium-high once bubbling and nearly boiling. Let simmer around 5-8 minutes or until the curry is at your desired consistency.
  5. Add the garam masala, and lemon juice, mix well, and take off the heat. Taste and add more salt, sugar, or lemon juice as needed.
  6. Serve!

Notes

This is a mildly spiced curry, for a medium-hot curry you can add a quarter or half a teaspoon of ground cayenne in with the turmeric and cilantro, or add chili pepper to the onion and garlic, etc. before blending.

This curry will thicken a little as it cools due to the chickpeas releasing more starch into the sauce, simply adjust the consistency by adding a little water.

If you're watching your calories you can swap out half the coconut milk for vegetable stock or water and the full-fat coconut milk for light coconut milk for an everyday style healthier curry.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 368Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 19gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 0mgSodium 553mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 7gSugar 5gProtein 10g

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