Kala Chana Curry (Black Chickpea Curry)

Kala chana curry is a very simple Indian curry. The brown chickpeas are a little firmer and a little tastier than the white/yellow chickpeas we are used to in the UK. This recipe has loads of flavour and loads of fibre.

Preparation Time:
Cooking Time:
Yield: 6 servings

This recipe does need some advance preparation. You'll need to soak the chickpeas in the morning so that they're ready when you want to cook in the evening.

Since brown chickpea curry has so much fibre in it and demands determined chewing, it's best to enjoy a small bowl of it, perhaps with some rice and another curry.


  • 300g black/brown chickpeas (kala chana)
  • 750mL water (~750g)
  • 40mL sunflower oil (~36.4g)
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seed (~2g)
  • 1 green chilli pepper (~3g)
  • 1 small knob fresh ginger (~8g)
  • 30g chickpea flour (gram flour/besan)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric (~2.5g)
  • 8g ground coriander seed
  • 40mL lemon juice (~41.2g)
  • 3g salt
  • 8g fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 2g unrefined caster sugar


  1. Soak the black chickpeas for 8 to 24 hours in a litre of water - I start them soaking before I go to work and cook with them when I get home.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and rinse.
  3. Start to heat the sunflower oil in a non-stick pan that can be covered later
  4. Boil the kettle, with about a litre of water in it.
  5. Finely chop the chilli and peeled ginger, measure out the cumin seeds and set aside.
  6. Add the asafoetida to the oil and then immediately afterwards add the chilli, ginger and cumin seeds
  7. Fry on a high heat while stirring for 1 minute.
  8. Add the chickpea flour, turmeric and ground coriander and stir in to make a paste, keep on the heat for another minute.
  9. Add 750mL of boiling water and stir, then add the drained chickpeas
  10. Bring to the boil and cover, simmer for 40 minutes. At this point the chickpeas should be fully cooked and be suitably soft.
  11. Add the lemon juice, chopped fresh coriander, sugar and salt, then stir
  12. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  13. Optionally, mash up some of the chickpeas with a potato masher to thicken the sauce.

One variation on this is to add de-skinned and de-seeded diced tomato at the same time as the chickpeas. It makes it a little sweeter and changes the flavour quite a bit. If you love the taste of chickpeas, this recipe doesn't need tomatoes. Some also prefer it hotter, this recipe is quite mild, so some people may wish to put in more fresh chilli at the start or adjust with powder at the end.

It's really important that you only add the salt towards the end as directed, otherwise it can stop the chickpeas from softening properly.

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Special Diets

  • Suitable for vegetarians
  • Suitable for vegans
  • Gluten free


Per 100g Serving (199g)
Energy 551kJ 1098kJ
Energy 131kcal 262kcal
Fat 4.8g 9.5g
  of which saturates 0.55g 1.1g
Carbohydrates 17.3g 34.4g
  of which sugars 3.2g 6.4g
Fibre 4.8g 9.5g
Protein 5.5g 11g
Sodium 105mg 210mg
  as salt 0.27g 0.54g
Fruit/veg portions 0 0.01

Values are based on nutritional values of the ingredients, it doesn't allow for evaporation losses or changes caused by cooking. Figures are estimates only.