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Home / Recipes / Keralan-style black chickpea curry

Keralan-style black chickpea curry

35 mins

The coconut is ubiquitous in Kerala and south India, and black chickpeas also play an important part in Keralan cuisine. This dish combines these two wonderful ingredients into a delicious, hearty curry.

Black chickpeas have a slightly sweeter and nuttier flavour than regular chickpeas and are well worth tracking down, but if you are unable to source them, regular chickpeas can be used as a substitute.


  1. 2 x 400 g organic black chickpeas
  2. 400 g can organic chopped tomatoes
  3. 400 g can organic coconut milk
  4. 1 onion, chopped
  5. 2 red chillies, chopped
  6. 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  7. 4 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  8. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  9. 2 tsp ground cumin
  10. 1 tsp ground coriander
  11. 1 tsp ground turmeric
  12. 1 tsp garam masala
  13. pinch asafoetida
  14. 250 ml vegetable stock
  15. 1 tsp sea salt
  16. 30 g coconut oil
  17. 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped


  1. Blend the chilli, garlic and ginger into a paste using a pestle and mortar or food processor.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over a high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. They will quickly start to sizzle. After 30 seconds add the asafoetida followed by the chopped onion. Stir and reduce the heat to medium.
  3. Once the onion is soft, add the chilli, garlic and ginger paste. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes before stirring in the ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinammon and sea salt.
  4. Add the black chickpeas, tomatoes and vegetable stock. Cook, stirring every so often, for a further 30 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and the garam masala and bring back to a simmer. Cook for a further ten minutes, stirring every so often. Serve with a scattering of chopped fresh coriander plus Indian flatbreads or rice.

Recipe & photo from Steve Dent AKA The Circus Gardener’s Kitchen