Coconut Chickpea Curry Recipe
Chickpeas are a wonderful source of both protein and dietary fiber. They also contain large amounts of folate and zinc. Chickpeas are an essential part of most vegetarian and vegan diets. In India, we love chickpeas to the extent that we even have several dessert recipes made with chickpea flour (besan).
My delicious Coconut Chickpea Curry is the Maharashtrian version of this typical Punjabi staple. Best of all, it’s easy to prepare & healthy to boot ☺. In India, the traditional method of preparation calls for using dried chickpeas -- which first need to be soaked overnight and cooked until tender using a pressure cooker. If you prefer this method, then by all means -- god bless! The simpler way is to just use canned chickpeas, personally I prefer the organic variety but feel free to use your favorite canned chickpeas for this recipe.
MAHARASHTRIAN COCONUT CHICKPEA CURRY
2½ to 3 cups cooked chickpeas
1 large onion, finely diced
4-5 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1½” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
3-4 small fresh green Thai chilies, slit in half lengthwise (to taste)
1 medium tomato, finely diced
1 small black cardamom pod
2-3 green cardamom pods, gently crushed
2 allspice berries
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick (about 2” long)
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
½ tsp red chili powder, to taste
½ ground coriander powder
1 tsp ground cumin powder
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup of thick coconut milk
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or butter or oil
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a small skillet on medium heat, add the whole spices (black cardamom pod, green cardamom pods, cloves, allspice berries, star anise & the cinnamon stick). Stir until fragrant & aromatic, remove from the heat & allow to cool slightly. Then using a spice grinder or clean coffee mill, grind into a fine powder. Set aside until needed.
In a medium size soup pot on medium high heat, add the ghee. When hot, add the onions along with the garlic, ginger & green chilies. Sauté until the aromatics are just lightly browned. Then add the freshly ground spice mixture along with the rest of the spices (turmeric, red chili powder, ground coriander powder, ground cumin powder, salt & pepper). Mix well & let the spices cook for a minute or so before adding in the cooked chickpeas along with the tomatoes. Stir well, cover, reduce the heat to low & let simmer for about 6-8 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened. Lastly, add in the coconut milk & stir well to combine. This dish is a rather thick curry but you add water if you prefer a thinner consistency. Simmer on low for another 4-5 minutes. Garnish with the freshly chopped cilantro leaves, serve with fresh chapatis & fragrant Basmati rice.
Feel free to add some freshly chopped baby spinach to the dish in the last 5 minutes of cooking. You can also add some diced pumpkin cubes or sweet potatoes; just add these earlier along with the spices so they will cook.
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