This healthy chickpea curry without coconut milk is spicy, creamy and absolutely delicious! And here’s the best part – it’s very easy to make. It’s the perfect accompaniment to rice, roti or chapati.
Leftovers can be used to make a filing, protein-packed sandwich the next day. Throw in a few tomato and cucumber slices and you’ve got yourself a quick yet nutritious meal.
This is a great dish, especially if you don’t have coconut milk at home or if you’re trying to cut down on coconut milk in general. Instead of using coconut milk, this recipe uses tomato puree to create a thick curry sauce.
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Why you’ll love this chickpea curry without coconut milk
Here’s why you’ve got to try this curry:
- It’s vegan. If you’re looking for recipes to make your vegan/vegetarian friends, this is definitely worth a try. And although it’s vegan, even hardcore meat eaters (like myself) can enjoy this creamy and spicy dish.
- It’s healthy. Made with plant based protein and no coconut milk, this curry is healthy and very nutritious.
- It’s budget-friendly. Canned chickpeas are a cheap protein option which is great for when you need to add protein to your cart on a tight budget. Pair it with inexpensive spices and other pantry staples to create something truly delicious and satisfying.
- It’s very easy to make. The hardest thing about this recipe is not devouring the whole thing in one sitting. It’s easy to make and acts as a great starting point if you’re new to Indian cooking.
Ingredients for vegan chickpea curry without coconut milk
Here are some of the ingredients you’ll need to whip up a batch of this mouthwatering chickpea tomato curry without coconut milk:
1. Canned chickpeas
This humble pantry ingredient is the star of this dish. Canned chickpeas are a great choice for a quick and nutritious meal. They’re already cooked, so you don’t have to worry about soaking them overnight or long cook times.
I use a 15oz (425g) can of chickpeas for this recipe, which serves about 2 – 3 people. In the recipe instructions, you’ll notice that I mention to use peeled chickpeas. Let me explain. Canned chickpeas have this thin outer casing which is totally edible, so you can definitely keep them on if you’re short on time.
However, for aesthetic purposes, I prefer to remove them because after a lot of poking and prodding, the outer casing may come off during cooking, leaving empty shells behind in the curry. To peel canned chickpeas, gently squeeze each chickpea between your thumb and index finger until it slides out of its outer coating.
While this task sounds tedious, I find peeling chickpeas while watching Netflix in the background somewhat therapeutic. However, you can always skip this step, if you prefer.
For this recipe, I blend a whole tomato into a smooth puree before adding it into the curry. It helps to create a thick, luscious curry sauce that coats each chickpea perfectly.
Spices are a must when it comes to making a good curry. This recipe uses both whole and ground spices to create a rich, flavorful curry.
Spices you need include:
- Mustard seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Fennel seeds
- Urad dhal (split black lentils)
- Curry powder
Curry leaves and cilantro are the must-have herbs in South Indian cooking. They are used to impart aroma and flavor to various dishes. Curry leaves are usually added at the beginning of the cooking process along with the onions, allowing the subtle flavor of this herb to permeate the dish.
Cilantro, on the other hand, is usually scattered on top the dish at the end to add fresh, citrusy notes to the dish.
Other vegetarian recipes you can try
How to make chickpea curry recipe without coconut milk
Here’s how to make this super easy chickpea curry:
1. Prepare the tomato puree.
Put the garlic, ginger and tomato into a blender. Blend to form a smooth puree.
2. Fry the spices.
Heat oil in a non-stick pot on medium-high before adding mustard seeds, cumin, fennel, urad dhal, and asafoetida. Fry until the mustard seeds begin to crackle.
3. Brown the onions.
Next, add the onions, chili, and curry leaves. Sauté until onions brown, around 8 to 10 minutes. Nicely browned onions form the base of this simple yet oh-so flavorful curry, so be patient!
4. Add the puree and spices.
Add the blended tomato puree along with turmeric and curry powder. Mix well and cook for 1 – 2 minutes before adding water and cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
5. Add the chickpeas.
Then, add the chickpeas and salt before cooking, covered, for 10 minutes.
6. Finish the chickpea curry without coconut milk with a squeeze of lime and a scattering of cilantro.
Pro tips for making perfect chickpea curry without coconut milk
Here are some pro tips for making the perfect chickpea curry:
1. Add asafoetida to reduce gassiness from chickpeas.
Eating legumes can sometimes leave us feeling gassy and a good way to counter that gassiness of legumes such as chickpeas is to add asafoetida (also known as hing) to your dishes.
If you love chickpeas but hate the gassy aftermath of eating them, adding asafoetida will be a total gamechanger for you.
2. Brown your onions well.
Onions are the foundation of most curries and you’ll want to take the time to brown them well. Keep the flame on medium-high, adding some salt to draw out moisture from the onions and speed up the process, and stirring often to make sure the onions brown evenly.
3. Don’t overcook the chickpeas.
Canned chickpeas are already cooked, so you don’t have to heat them long on the stove. Just 10 minutes will do to allow the chickpeas to marry with the spicy, flavorful curry sauce. Overcooking will result in mushy chickpeas.
How to serve this vegan chickpea curry
This chickpea curry goes great with rice, roti or chapati. You can even use it as a filling for sandwiches along with tomato and cucumber slices.
Other vegetarian curries without coconut milk
How to store leftovers
You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 – 2 days. You can reheat it in the microwave before serving.
If you’re making sandwiches the next day with leftovers (which I absolutely love), you can use the back of a fork to mash the chickpeas slightly before adding to your sandwich. This makes the filling extra creamy and delicious.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does chickpea curry contain?
Typically, chickpea curry contains coconut milk, tomatoes, whole and ground spices. However, it can also be made without coconut milk if you’re trying to cut down on saturated fat.
Why is my chickpea curry bitter?
One common reason for bitter curry is overcooking certain ingredients or spices, especially garlic. You’ll know your garlic is burnt when it turns a dark shade of brown. Burnt garlic tends to give dishes a bitter taste, so it’s important to keep an eye on your garlic to prevent them from burning.
How do you thicken chickpea curry?
You can thicken your curry by adding tomato puree, a cornstarch slurry (mix of cornstarch and water), or yogurt to it. Alternatively, you could also simmer your curry sauce on low to reduce the curry and achieve a thicker consistency.
Is chickpea curry good for health?
Chickpeas are a rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They offer various health benefits including weight management and reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease. It’s also protein-packed, making it the perfect plant-based protein alternative to meat.
However, whether chickpea curry is good for health ultimately depends on how it is made. If it’s made with high amounts of coconut milk, which is rich in saturated fats, this may negate the health benefits offers by chickpeas.
Why do you put coconut milk in curry?
Coconut milk is added to curries to add creaminess and sweetness. Plus, it also gives curries a thicker consistency. If your curry is a little too spicy, adding coconut milk helps to cool it down as well.
Does curry require coconut milk?
Is coconut milk a must for curry? The answer is – no. You can achieve similar results using other ingredients, especially if you’re trying to cut down on saturated fat. If you want to add some creaminess to your curry, use yogurt instead. If you want a thick curry sauce, try adding tomato puree to your curry.
What can I use instead of coconut milk in curry?
This ultimately depends on your end goal. If you’re looking to add creaminess to your curry, you can swap coconut milk with yogurt or milk. For a thicker consistency, you can add tomato puree or a cornstarch slurry to your curry.
How do you thicken curry without coconut milk?
Add tomato puree, a cornstarch slurry (mix of cornstarch and water), or yogurt to your curry. Another way to thicken your curry without coconut milk is to simmer your curry sauce on low heat to reduce the curry and achieve a thicker consistency.
Why do you put lemon juice in curry?
A nice squeeze of lemon or lime can do wonders for your curry. It brightens the dish, adding a sharp, citrusy element that enhances the flavor of your curry. These acidic ingredients have the power to bring out flavor in food. If you feel your curry is tasting a little flat, a squeeze of lime could give it the lift it needs.
What liquid to add to curry?
Wet curries, that have plenty of gravy to slurp up, are created by cooking spices or curry pastes with liquids such as water, stock, yogurt, or coconut milk. Vegetables, legumes or meat are simmered in these wet curries, imparting their own flavors to the curry sauce.
Chickpea Curry Without Coconut Milk
- 1 15oz (425g) can of chickpeas rinsed, drained and peeled
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 tomato chopped
- 2 tbsp oil
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp urad dhal
- ¼ tsp asafoetida
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 red chili chopped
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Salt to taste
- Squeeze of lime
- Put the garlic, ginger and tomato into a blender. Blend to form a smooth puree.
- Heat oil in a non-stick pot on medium-high before adding mustard seeds, cumin, fennel, urad dhal, and asafoetida. Fry until the mustard seeds begin to crackle.
- Next, add the onions, chili, and curry leaves. Sauté until onions brown, around 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the blended tomato puree along with turmeric and curry powder. Mix well and cook for 1 – 2 minutes before adding water and cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
- Then, add the chickpeas and salt before cooking, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Finish with a squeeze of lime and garnish with cilantro.
If you’re looking to expand your repertoire of plant-based dishes, definitely give this easy chickpea curry without coconut milk a try. It’s a quick and easy dish that you can pair with rice or roti, and leftovers taste great as well.
With canned chickpeas and a handful of pantry ingredients, you can whip up this creamy, delicious dish in 30 minutes. It’s perfect for when you’re craving something creamy and spicy. Enjoy!