Chickpea Curry, South Indian Style


  • 4 cups boiled or canned chickpeas. Rinse if using canned.
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ cup of coriander leaves, chopped
  • Salt to taste

For masala powder or spice mix:

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp methi seeds
  • 2 pods of green cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • ½-inch stick of cinnamon


  1. Make a powder of all of the masala ingredients, in a spice grinder or a powerful blender. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add cumin seeds. When they sputter, add the onions, curry leaves if using, ginger and garlic.
  3. Sprinkle some salt and saute, over medium heat, adding a teaspoon or two of water if the ginger and garlic start to stick.
  4. When the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes, paprika, cayenne, turmeric, and the spice mix.
  5. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes darken and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Add the chickpeas and salt and stir well to mix. Add 2 cups of water.
  7. Bring the chickpea curry to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and let it warm through.
  8. Add salt. Garnish with leafy coriander and serve hot with rice.



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Chickpea Curry, South Indian Style