Vegan & Gluten Free South Indian Chana Masala

Fragrant chickpea curry made in South Indian style with fresh coconut and whole spices.


  • 1 cup dried Chana or 1 can Chickpeas
  • 0.75 cups grated fresh Coconut or 1 cup thick Coconut Milk
  • 5-7 dry Red Chillies
  • 1 small Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
  • 0.5 tsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
  • 1-2 Cloves (Lawang)
  • 0.5" Cinnamon (Dalchini)
  • 1 green Cardamom (Elaichi)
  • 4-5 Black Peppercorns (Kali mirch)
  • 0.5 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp grated Ginger
  • 1 tsp Tamarind pulp
  • 4 tsp Oil
  • A handful of fresh coriander leaves to garnish
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required


  1. Soak the dried chickpeas in water for 8-10 hours.
  2. Pressure cook with a 0.5 tsp of salt until completely cooked. Do not overcook them.
  3. Dry roast the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and pepper on low heat until fragrant. That should take around 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and keep aside.
  4. Heat 1 tsp of oil in the same pan and on medium to high heat, roast the dry red chillies until they puff up. Remove from heat and keep aside.
  5. Lower the heat, and add the grated coconut (if using) to the pan and on low heat, roast the coconut until it turns a golden brown.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  7. Grind together the roasted whole spices, red chillies, roasted coconut, grated ginger, tamarind, turmeric powder and chopped onion along with a little water to a smooth paste. If using coconut milk, just grind together the spices, red chillies, ginger, tamarind, turmeric powder and onion.
  8. Heat the remaining oil in a pan, and add the ground paste.
  9. Fry on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Add the cooked chickpeas, 1 cup of water and salt. Allow to come to a boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  11. If using coconut milk, then add it after 5 minutes of simmering and continue to simmer until the curry reaches the desired consistency.
  12. Garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.
  13. Serve warm/hot with rice, bread, or flatbread of your choice.