Black Chickpeas with Roasted Coconut and Fragrant Spices

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Black Chickpeas with Roasted Coconut and Fragrant Spices

In addition to cookbooks, one of the greatest sources of culinary inspiration is certainly fellow bloggers. I've printed off, bookmarked and starred literally hundreds of recipes that I've come across since I started Lisa's Kitchen just over two years ago. While it is certain I will never manage to cook each recipe that catches my attention (there are simply not enough meals or time in a day), it sometimes happens that I am trying out a blogged dish within days of discovering it. This was the case with Pooja's Kerala-style chickpea curry, a dish we are told is commonly eaten for breakfast along with steamed rice cakes in that region.

I always have a healthy variety of dried beans on hand, and after reading through Pooja's recipe, remembered the rather neglected black chickpeas at the back of the bean and grain shelf. Brown in color, but commonly referred to as black chickpeas or kala channa, they are smaller than the more popular yellow chickpea and denser and chewier. This unique dark curry is pungent and aromatic, and served with nutty brown rice, makes for a satisfying and balanced Indian vegetarian dinner.

Black Chickpeas with Roasted Coconut and Fragrant Spices

Black Chickpeas with Roasted Coconut and Fragrant SpicesBlack Chickpeas with Roasted Coconut and Fragrant Spices
Recipe by
Adapted from My Experience With Cooking
Cuisine: Indian
Published on June 15, 2009

Black chickpeas simmered in an aromatic spiced tomato sauce

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Spice blends:
  • 3/4 cup dried grated unsweetened coconut
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
  • 6 dried cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cup dried black chickpeas
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 2 to 3 fresh green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri or other chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • generous handful of dried curry leaves
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak in several inches of water for at least 10 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are tender — about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Drain and set aside.

  • Dry roast the coconut over medium-low heat in a large saucepan for a few minutes. Add the shallots and continue to stir until the coconut turns a brownish-red color. Grind to a powder and set aside.

  • In the same saucepan, dry roast the cinnamon, cloves, fennel, anise and cardamon seeds over medium-low heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Grind to a powder and set aside.

  • Again in the same saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and stir until the seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Now add the ginger and stir for another minute. Toss in the asafetida, stir once, and then add the chilies, coriander, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, cayenne and paprika. Stir for a minute and then add the tomato, curry leaves, ground cinnamon and seed powder, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until the tomato is soft, stirring frequently.

  • Add the chickpeas, ground coconut and shallot powder, and 2 1/4 cups of water. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until the sauce is nice and thick.

Makes 4 servings

Black Chickpeas with Roasted Coconut and Fragrant Spices

Other Indian chickpea dishes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Black and Yellow Chickpeas in a Sweet and Spicy Sauce
Channa Masala
Chickpeas with Coconut Sauce


Unknown said...

Black chickpeas curry looks absolutely delicious..I have never tried makin it coconut..sounds interesting, will give it a try.

Parita said...

I love black chick peas, love the spices used in the curry, looks tasty, my type of dish!!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

i really like black chickpeas but they are not as readily available here in germany. brilliant combination!

Preeti Singh said...

Your dishes are interesting and fabulous... you are very creative...this one sounds interesting too.

Aruna said...

Lovely i give you a high five for this dih. 'M here for the first time. :-)

Pooja said...

truly yummy !

Finla said...

Just looking to the pic makes me homesick, we had this almost everyweek.
One of the dishes we had with rice, or puttu ( kerala speciality) appom etc....
Yours look yummy delicous.
Back in Kerala we always used balck chick pea, it is only when i was a teenager mom started using white one.

Usha said...

Black chickpeas in coconut gravy sounds really inviting, this one is definitely a must try :-)

Nithya Praveen said...

Wonderful one...yummy.I wud love to have this with steamed rice or even kerala puttu:)

Pooja said...

Wow Lisa the chickpea curry has turned out perfect! Thanks a lot for trying it out and I'm really glad that you liked it :)

iRaw said...

This dish looks fantastic!

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Should have been a very aromatic black chickpeas curry!!! Looks very yummy

eatme_delicious said...

Ooo delicious! I love things with coconut. I've never used black chickpeas before.

Renus Kitchen said...

i can already smell the flavors!! good job!

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Unknown said...

It's my favorite too looks so delicious yum yum.

figtreeapps said...

Does it get any better than this?? Thanks Figtreeapps

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Lisa, this "kadala"(chickpeas in Kerala) curry is something that makes it to our breakfast table at least once a fortnight!

It tastes good with rice, but is better with chappathis or naan and excellent with bread.

Gattina Cheung said...

I love Kerala-style of dishes... I will look for this chickpea at store next time.

Red Chillies said...

Very nice recipe with black chickpeas. I have limited idea of using the chickpea and this is a fragrant curry.

Vidya said...

lovely. Our favorite breakfast dish.

Unknown said...

I look forward to making this, not sure for breakfast though! I have an abundance of dried black chickpeas given to me by an Indian friend who returned to India in February. Sounds yummy!!