Coconut Chickpea Curry
Coconut Chickpea Curry
5 from 1 vote
Ready to dive into a symphony of flavours and elevate your weeknight dinners? My coconut chickpea curry recipe is a scrumptious, easy-to-make dish that's perfect for a comforting meal.
Coconut Chickpea Curry

Coconut chickpea curry, the quintessential comfort dish that boasts not just a burst of flavours but also a roller coaster of textures. Originating from the Indian subcontinent, this dish has found its way into kitchens around the world, gaining global fame.  

With its deep roots in Indian cuisine, the coconut chickpea curry is a tantalizing blend of pantry staples and exotic spices. One can almost hear the sizzle of the spices as they get toasted and envision the chickpeas softening as they soak up the flavours. 

Don’t be fooled by the list of spices; this is a pretty straightforward recipe, even for novices in the kitchen. It’s a one-pot wonder that requires minimal fuss but delivers maximum satisfaction. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a complete rookie, you can whip this up in no time and still get rave reviews. 

What makes this dish incredibly versatile are the different variations it lends itself to.  

While chickpeas remain the star of the show, you can play around with other legumes like lentils or even add some veggies like bell peppers or potatoes for a different take on the classic. You can also adjust the spiciness level, so it’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of situation here! 

Now, for those of you who are adventurous in the kitchen, you can make this curry as thick or as runny as you like. Some prefer a more stew-like consistency, thick and rich, perfect for spooning over a bed of steaming rice. Others like a more liquid texture, ideal for soaking up with your favourite bread. 

Speaking of bread, coconut chickpea curry pairs wonderfully with an array of sides.  

Whether you prefer naan, a traditional Indian bread, or something as simple as a rustic baguette, it’s up to you. The curry has enough personality to hold its own, yet it’s accommodating enough to complement whatever you choose to serve it with. 

The secret sauce, quite literally, is the coconut milk. It elevates the curry, adding a creamy, tropical flair that makes the dish what it is. Oh, and did I mention this is a vegan recipe? But trust me, even the most dedicated meat-eaters will be licking their plates clean. 

So, are you ready to be swept away by the coconut chickpea curry experience? Put on that apron, crank up some tunes, and let’s transform these humble ingredients into a dish that’s nothing short of a masterpiece. 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

So you’re keen on mastering the art of coconut chickpea curry, eh? The heart of any recipe lies in its ingredients. The alchemy that occurs when you combine each element just so is what takes a dish from mere sustenance to something memorable. Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of each component, shall we? 

Coconut Oil: The base of our cooking process, coconut oil offers a subtle sweetness that ties in well with the coconut milk added later.  

It’s good for sautéing the spices and veggies, allowing their flavours to blossom. If you’re not a fan, you can opt for olive oil or even vegetable oil, but you’ll lose that underlying coconut essence. 

Large Onion: Ah, the humble onion. It forms the aromatic backbone of this curry, adding sweetness and depth. Onions help bind the spices and create a thick base for the curry. If you’re trying to avoid onions, leeks can work as an alternative but the taste profile will change slightly. 

Garlic: Garlic gives that pungent kick and aroma which works in harmony with the spices. It’s the zing that awakens the palate. Those who can’t tolerate garlic can use asafoetida, also known as hing, as an alternative, though sparingly due to its intense flavour. 

Ginger: This root adds a spicy, earthy warmth to the curry. It also has digestive benefits, a bonus! Some people use ginger paste for convenience, but fresh is always best. If you don’t have ginger, ground ginger can serve as a last-minute substitute, though the flavour will be less pronounced. 

Spices: These spices form the heart of the curry’s flavour profile. Cumin offers a smoky touch, coriander brings in a citrusy note, and turmeric offers its signature earthy bitterness as well as a beautiful yellow hue. If you’re short on these, a pre-made curry powder can be used, but it won’t provide the same layered flavours. 

Cayenne Pepper: This is what gives the curry its heat. You can adjust to taste, or if you prefer a smoky flavour, you can opt for paprika. For those who love a good kick, a fresh green chilli could also work. 

Canned Chickpeas: The protein-packed star of the dish. Chickpeas are hearty and absorb flavours like a sponge, making them the perfect legume for this curry. If you’re feeling experimental, other legumes like lentils or even tofu can be used. 

Canned Diced Tomatoes: These offer a touch of acidity and sweetness, balancing out the spices and creaminess of the curry. Fresh tomatoes can be used but make sure to cook them thoroughly to release their juices. 

Coconut Milk: The pièce de résistance, coconut milk gives the curry its luxurious texture and tropical flair. If you’re not into coconut, almond milk can be an alternative, though the taste won’t be as rich. 

Salt and Pepper: These are the basic seasonings that awaken all other ingredients. Don’t skimp but also don’t overdo it. Taste and adjust! 

Fresh Cilantro Leaves: Last but not least, the garnish. Fresh cilantro leaves add a burst of colour and a tangy kick. If you’re in the “cilantro tastes like soap” camp, fresh basil or even mint can be a good alternative. 

And there you have it—your roadmap to creating an unforgettable coconut chickpea curry! Each ingredient plays a crucial role, and knowing how and why can elevate your culinary journey. Now, roll up those sleeves and let the cooking magic begin! 

The Art of Spicing Your Coconut Chickpea Curry 

When it comes to cooking, spices are the unsung heroes that elevate a dish from mundane to magical. In the coconut chickpea curry, they are the ensemble cast members who steal the show. Let’s explore the spices used and how they each bring their own unique magic to the curry. 

Cumin, the smoky seductress, lends a mysterious layer that teases the palate. Often confused with caraway seeds, cumin is a distinct spice with a history dating back to ancient civilizations.  

It’s a staple in many spice blends, including the famed Indian garam masala. It pairs wonderfully with the nuttiness of chickpeas. 

Then there’s ground coriander, the versatile friend who gets along with everyone. It’s citrusy, it’s nutty, and it enhances the other spices without ever overshadowing them. Originating from the cilantro plant, this spice has been cherished for its digestive benefits and is a staple in numerous global cuisines. 

Turmeric, the golden child of spices, comes next. It not only adds a vivid yellow colour but also a subtle earthy flavour.  

There’s ongoing research about its health benefits, ranging from anti-inflammatory properties to potential cancer-fighting abilities. In the context of the curry, it balances the creamy richness of coconut milk. 

Cayenne pepper is the fiery extrovert of the group. A little goes a long way with this spice. It brings the heat but also has the ability to intensify the flavours of the other spices. A sprinkle can drastically alter the entire dish’s personality. 

Finally, ginger and garlic might not be traditional spices, but in ground form, they act as such. These two pungent flavours cut through the creaminess and add an edgy kick. Ginger offers a spicy zing, while garlic brings a robust depth. 

Spices are more than just flavour additives. They embody the soul of the dish, turning our coconut chickpea curry into an unforgettable experience. 

Coconut Milk: The Unsung Hero of Vegan Curries 

Coconut milk, often considered the underdog in the dairy alternatives ring, takes centre stage in our beloved coconut chickpea curry. The word “milk” might be in its name, but don’t let that deceive you. This plant-based powerhouse brings richness, texture, and depth to the dish, transforming it from a mere curry to an indulgent treat. 

Firstly, let’s talk about its texture. Coconut milk is lush and velvety, making the curry rich without overwhelming it. It creates that spoon-coating quality that you look for in a creamy curry. It’s the difference between a ‘meh’ and a ‘wow’ in your culinary experience. 

But coconut milk isn’t just a one-note wonder. Its flavour profile is a medley of natural sweetness and subtle nuttiness. This sweetness helps balance the heat from the spices and the acidity from the tomatoes, creating a harmonious dish that sings to your taste buds. 

And let’s not forget, that coconut milk is plant-based, making it a star ingredient in vegan and vegetarian diets. It’s rich in good fats and adds a level of satiety to the curry, making it a satisfying meal option. So if you’re concerned about not feeling full with a plant-based dish, worry no more! 

In terms of versatility, coconut milk is unparalleled. You can choose between full-fat and lite versions, depending on your dietary needs. The full-fat version will give a more decadent texture, while the lite version is great if you’re counting calories. 

Unlocking the Secrets of Canned Chickpeas in Coconut Chickpea Curry 

You might look at canned chickpeas and think, “Well, they’re just a convenience.” But oh, how wrong you’d be! Canned chickpeas are the quick and simple foundation of many a delicious dish, not least of which is our scrumptious coconut chickpea curry. 

Let’s talk texture. Canned chickpeas are cooked to perfection, with a slightly firm texture that holds its own against the lush coconut milk and aromatic spices. They provide the meaty bite that makes each spoonful of this curry so satisfying. 

Then there’s the taste. Chickpeas have an inherent nuttiness that serves as the perfect canvas for the symphony of spices dancing in the pot. They absorb flavours like a sponge, so each bite delivers a burst of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and more. 

Time is money, honey! Canned chickpeas save you not only time but also the potential frustration of getting the texture just right. No overnight soaking or long boiling times are required; it’s as simple as open, drain, rinse, and cook. 

Don’t forget the nutrition. Chickpeas are a powerhouse of protein and fibre, making this curry not just a feast for the senses but also a nourishing meal. They are also rich in essential nutrients like iron, manganese, and folate. 

The Tomato’s Tale: From Tin to Tantalising Curry 

Don’t underestimate the humble canned tomato. They’re not merely a backup plan when fresh tomatoes are out of season or unavailable. In our coconut chickpea curry, canned diced tomatoes are the unsung heroes that build the sauce into something extraordinary. 

What do they bring to the table? For starters, consistency. Canned diced tomatoes have a standardized texture and flavour profile, ensuring your curry turns out impeccable every single time you make it. 

Acidity is another gift from our canned friends. The subtle tartness works to balance the richness of the coconut milk and the robustness of the spices. Think of it as the conductor of an orchestra, guiding every instrument to create a melodious result. 

Canned diced tomatoes come swimming in their own juice, adding both moisture and flavour to the curry. This is what creates the saucy base that coats every morsel of chickpea, turning each bite into a luscious experience. 

Convenience can’t be ignored either. Like canned chickpeas, canned tomatoes save you the laborious task of dicing and offer a quicker route to dinner without compromising on flavour or texture. 

So let’s give a standing ovation to the canned diced tomatoes for their starring role in our coconut chickpea curry. They’re dependable, flavourful, and oh-so-necessary for turning a collection of ingredients into a masterpiece of a meal. 

Cilantro: More than a Garnish in Coconut Chickpea Curry 

I know, I know, cilantro often finds itself relegated to the sidelines as a mere garnish. But in the case of coconut chickpea curry, it’s stepping out from the shadows to shine. This leafy green herb brings more than colour; it brings character. 

So, why does cilantro deserve the spotlight? First, let’s discuss aroma. Cilantro has a refreshing, almost citrus-like smell that immediately invigorates your senses. When sprinkled over the curry, it wafts a perfume that says, “Something delicious this way comes!” 

Next, we delve into the realm of taste. Cilantro has a piquancy that contrasts beautifully with the creamy, spicy, and tangy components of the curry. It adds another layer of complexity, making each bite a culinary journey. 

And let’s not forget texture. The soft leaves offer a fresh, crisp counterpoint to the luscious curry, providing a contrast that adds to the overall eating experience. It’s like a little crunch in a world of smooth. 

On a nutritional note, cilantro isn’t just an empty garnish; it’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. So you’re not just making your curry prettier; you’re making it healthier too! 

Sautéed Onions: Setting the Flavour Foundation of Coconut Chickpea Curry 

Let’s face it, sautéed onions are the unsung heroes in a multitude of recipes, and coconut chickpea curry is no exception. They might seem inconspicuous, but boy, do they pack a punch! 

How so, you ask? For starters, sautéing onions brings out their natural sweetness. They become the silent base notes in the melody of flavours that make up this curry. They lie low but hold the fort, making sure everything else shines. 

The texture of sautéed onions can’t be overlooked. The soft, almost buttery quality of well-sautéed onions melts into the curry, adding a richness that’s subtle yet palpable. It’s what makes you go “Mmm” but you’re not quite sure why. 

Then there’s the aspect of absorption. Onions love to soak up flavours, and in this curry, they’re marinating in a hot tub of spices, coconut milk, and tomato sauce. What comes out is an onion that’s not just an onion, but a chameleon of culinary delight. 

Last but not least, onions bring their own set of nutrients to this curry fest. Rich in antioxidants and beneficial compounds, they don’t just add flavour; they add a dash of healthiness to the mix. 

The Subtle Art of Sautéing Garlic and Ginger in Coconut Chickpea Curry 

When it comes to coconut chickpea curry, garlic and ginger are like the dynamic duo that elevates the whole experience. But these superheroes need the right environment to truly flex their powers, and that’s where the art of sautéing comes in. 

Let’s start with garlic. Sautéed until just golden, garlic sheds its pungent rawness and embraces a mellow, sweet character. It’s a transformation that seeps into the very heart of the curry, creating a warm, inviting undertone. 

Then comes ginger. Its woody aroma and sharp zest already promise a kick, but when sautéed, oh my! It mellows just a smidgen, enough to blend seamlessly into the dish while still offering that distinct bite that tingles your taste buds. 

What’s mesmerizing is the chemistry between garlic and ginger when they hit the pan together.  

Their flavours fuse into something magical—a spicy-sweet symphony that makes the curry not just a dish, but an experience. And let’s not forget how these two absorb the spices that follow, acting as sponges for cumin, coriander, and turmeric. 

The Spiciness Spectrum: Cayenne Pepper in Coconut Chickpea Curry 

Cayenne pepper, the spiciness maven that can turn any dish from mundane to electrifying. In coconut chickpea curry, this red powder does more than just titillate the taste buds; it adds depth and dimension. 

Spiciness is not just about heat; it’s about complexity. Cayenne pepper comes with a tinge of sweetness that perfectly complements the creamy richness of coconut milk. It adds a layer of flavour that elevates the curry to new heights. 

Some like it hot, but not everyone can handle the heat. The beauty of cayenne is its adaptability. A sprinkle for the cautious, a heap for the daring—the spice level can be tailored to fit any palate, making this curry a crowd-pleaser. 

Now, let’s talk aesthetics. Cayenne pepper adds a dash of vivid colour that makes the curry visually stunning. That luscious red hue isn’t just for Instagram; it screams ‘dive in’! 

But beyond flavour and aesthetics, cayenne comes with a perk—health benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants and known for its metabolism-boosting properties. So when you’re enjoying that coconut chickpea curry, know that you’re doing your taste buds and your body a favour. 

The Alchemy of Coconut Oil in Coconut Chickpea Curry 

Let’s talk about the secret elixir that kicks off our coconut chickpea curry journey: coconut oil. Oh, it’s not just a mere cooking medium; it’s the soul whisperer of this dish, connecting every ingredient at a molecular level. 

Why coconut oil, you ask? Well, I’m not. No questions allowed, remember? But I’ll tell you anyway. Unlike neutral oils, coconut oil brings its own personality to the dish. The subtle aroma enhances the tropical flair of the coconut milk, making the curry’s theme more cohesive. 

Now, texture. Ah, the silkiness that coconut oil lends to the curry is nothing short of culinary velvet. It helps the spices cling to the chickpeas, making sure each bite is a flavour bomb. 

Let’s not overlook its role as the initial sauté station for our other stars like garlic, ginger, and onions. The coconut oil lays down the flavour tracks that the spice train rides on, setting the stage for a memorable gastronomic performance. 

Finally, the health angle. Coconut oil is lauded for its medium-chain triglycerides, believed to be metabolized differently from other fats. So while you’re relishing the delectable curry, know that you’re also being kind to your body. 

The Symphony of Spices: Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric in Coconut Chickpea Curry 

The spices. Without cumin, coriander, and turmeric, our coconut chickpea curry would be like a song with no melody. These spices are the musical notes that build the curry’s crescendo. 

First up is cumin. Earthy, nutty, and somewhat citrusy, cumin is the bass note that gives the curry its grounded depth. It forms the base upon which other flavours can layer and unfold. 

Enter coriander, the middle note. It’s fragrant and slightly lemony, effortlessly blending with the earthiness of cumin. It’s the mediator that bridges the gap between the heavy and light notes in our curry’s flavour profile. 

Then we have turmeric, the high note that provides the curry’s vibrant yellow hue. More than its colour, it adds a peppery, warm bite, offering a perfect counterpoint to the richness of coconut milk and the heat from cayenne pepper. 

All three spices have more than just flavour to contribute; they come with their share of health benefits. Rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and a whole lot of culinary history, these spices are the trinity that can elevate any dish but especially shine in our coconut chickpea curry. 

Oh, and by the way, these spices aren’t just solo artists. When combined, they form a magical trio, each enhancing the other, creating a spice symphony that your taste buds will applaud. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

If you loved diving into the flavours of my Coconut Chickpea Curry, you’ve got to try some more of the curry magic that’s just a click away. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you. 

First up, you’ve got to experience the simplicity and elegance of my Lauki Ki Sabzi. This humble bottle gourd curry teaches you that you don’t need a laundry list of spices to make something extraordinary. It’s like a warm hug from your grandma—comforting and filled with love. 

Now, let’s talk about Egg Potato Curry. This dish is what you get when the dependable potato meets the versatile egg in a pot of simmering spices. It’s like a Bollywood love story in your mouth; you won’t want to miss the happy ending. 

If you’re a fan of legumes, then my Chana Curry is calling your name. Imagine chickpeas soaked in a tangy tomato-based sauce, with spices that dance around like fireflies on a summer night. Trust me, it’s not just food; it’s poetry in a pot. 

Yearning for some seafood? Dive deep into my Fish Curry. It’s a tropical vacation in a bowl, where the fish swims through a sea of coconut milk and exotic spices. After one spoonful, you’ll hear the waves and feel the sand between your toes. 

And for the meat lovers, I’ve got something special for you—my Lamb Curry. This dish is where tender lamb pieces meet a riot of spices in a beautiful chaos only a curry can manage. It’s like a rock concert for your mouth, with each spice hitting a high note. 

So go ahead, try these out and elevate your curry game! And remember, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have a question, or suggestion, or just want to rave about your culinary journey? Leave your comments below; I’m all ears! 

Coconut Chickpea Curry

Coconut Chickpea Curry

by Nabeela Kauser
Ready to dive into a symphony of flavours and elevate your weeknight dinners? My coconut chickpea curry recipe is a scrumptious, easy-to-make dish that's perfect for a comforting meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4
Calories 293 kcal


  • 2 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Onion Finely chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 tsp Ginger Grated
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt To taste
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper Adjust to taste
  • 400 g Canned Chickpeas Drained and rinsed
  • 400 g Canned Tomatoes
  • 200 ml Coconut Milk
  • Coriander For garnish


  • Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onion and sauté until it becomes translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and grated ginger. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute to toast the spices.
  • Pour in the canned diced tomatoes, including their juices. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes, letting the flavours combine and the sauce thicken slightly.
  • Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas to the pot. Stir well to coat them with the tomato and spice mixture.
  • Pour in the coconut milk. Mix everything together.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the curry simmer for about 15 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld and the bell pepper to soften.
  • Season the curry with salt and pepper according to your taste preferences.
  • Serve the coconut chickpea curry over cooked rice or with your favourite bread.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves before serving.


The coconut oil adds a wonderful flavour to the dish, enhancing the coconut undertones of the curry.
You can adjust the level of cayenne pepper to control the spiciness of the curry.
This coconut chickpea curry can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat before serving.
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 293kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 8gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 15gSodium: 1000mgPotassium: 624mgFibre: 7gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 292IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 100mgIron: 5mg
Keyword Chickpeas, Coconut, Coconut Chickpea Curry, Curry, Food, Recipe, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!



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Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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