Every typical Indian party in the US is bound to have some variation of channa masala, a North Indian chickpea curry made with tomato, onion, and an Indian spice combination. However, this traditional chickpea curry with cilantro and coconut from Kerala, provides a fresh and healthy alternative to an old favorite. This recipe is also great for anyone new to veganism (or vegetarianism). Serve hot over rice, or idiyappam (South Indian rice noodles).


Recipe Summary

45 mins
8 hrs
9 hrs 5 mins
20 mins
5 servings


Original recipe yields 5 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place chickpeas into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water. Let soak 8 hours to overnight.

  • Drain chickpeas and add to a medium-sized pot filled 3/4-full with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cook until soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water. Drain chickpeas and set aside.

  • Combine coconut, green chiles, onion, ginger, and poppy seeds in a food processor. Break cilantro stalks in half and half again and add to the food processor. Pour in water and blend, adding more water as needed, until smooth.

  • Place a large saucepan or pot over medium-high heat; add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom and heat for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add mustard seeds to temper, making sure not to stand over pot as popping of hot oil can cause mild burns.

  • Add coconut mixture to pot once all mustard seeds have popped, followed by chickpeas, being careful that hot oil does not splash on you. Stir until puree is well-distributed with chickpeas. Add 1 cup reserved cooking water from chickpeas, salt, turmeric, black pepper, and jaggery.

  • Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until curry begins to boil and froth slightly, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Cook's Notes:

You can use regular dry garbanzo beans instead of black chickpeas, coconut milk instead of fresh coconut, and canola oil instead of vegetable, if desired.

When tempering the mustard seeds, the oil should be hot enough that the seeds pop upon contact with oil.

If using coconut milk instead of fresh coconut, add it to the mixture in the last step once the curry begins to boil and froth. Cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes over low heat, taking care not to allow curry to come to a boil.

Nutrition Facts

409 calories; protein 17.4g; carbohydrates 58.4g; fat 13.5g; sodium 957.9mg. Full Nutrition