{Recipe} Chickpea Curry | Tofu and Coconut Curry

Back in the mid-90’s when I was a uni student and a ‘pescy-vegetarian’ living in Sydney, I frequently ate at cheap and cheerful Indian food establishments.

With names like North Indian Diner and Tandoori Palace, this type of eatery presents the curries in bain-maries, ready to be slopped on to a large plate with rice. A garlic naan or a couple of pappadums would complete the meal. I only required a $10 note to access this comfort-food indulgence (and I usually left with change). Once I became vegan, I ditched the cream-laden curries, but continued to enjoy the (small) range of vegan offerings.

Growing up in Sydney, I was fortunate to have access to great Indian food (beyond the cheap and cheerful places!). My mum exposed my sister and I to foods from many cultures – both in our own kitchen and at local restaurants.

I indulged in delicious Indian food in Malaysia when I holidayed there in the late 90’s. I can’t even recall what I ate (maybe Susykat can help me out here!), but I do remember that it was totally scrumptious (and vegan).

I adore lentils and chickpeas, potatoes and eggplant. I particularly appreciate them teamed with the flavoursome spices that make Indian food so tantalising – cumin, ginger, cardamon, coriander, asafoetida, cinnamon, mustard seeds, and the rest!

Today’s recipes

I recently discovered the blog, Soul of Spice. If you are a fan of Indian food, you will adore this blog. I have fallen in love with the Kala Channa recipe. The combination of cayenne pepper, garlic, freshly grated ginger, cumin seeds, turmeric, asafoetida, and fresh tomato is spectacular.

‘Kala channa’ refers to small, brown chickpeas. For this recipe, I use the variety of chickpeas that is commonly available in my neck of the woods – small, pale brown, dried chickpeas. chickpea1

The recipe is available here.

This recipe requires a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  Although I prefer a ‘heaped half teaspoon’ version, with a big dollop of coconut yoghurt to relieve the spice edge, I only use a quarter teaspoon when preparing it for the whole family. Additionally, I use a medium-sized tomato (which is slightly more than the 1/2 cup of tomato specified), and I add the garlic and ginger once the onion is cooked.


Last week, I served the chickpea curry with basmati rice, potato and pea curry, pappadums, sliced banana and shredded coconut, sliced cucumber and coconut yoghurt, green mango pickle, and sliced avocado. It was a veritable feast!


Last night, I made Tofu and Coconut Curry. 

Readers of this blog know that I occasionally refer to my 6 year-old son as our Least Adventurous Eater.

Well, this curry was a hit with him! First, he exclaimed: ‘This is actually quite good’. That is high praise from him!

Then, later: ‘I love this tofu’. Ah, how my heart sang.

He reiterated his high praise by declaring that we should have it for dinner  ‘tomorrow night too’. No problem! We have enough left over for a side dish for tonight’s dinner.


Tofu and Coconut Curry

Adapted from: Tempeh Curry recipe in Wolf and Lamb: Animal Free Cooking, by Marijonas Vilkelis

Serves 4, with rice.


1 Tbsp olive oil (or 2 Tbsp water, for oil-free)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1tsp cumin seeds

1tsp turmeric

2 tsp ground coriander

A pinch of dried chilli flakes

1 tsp salt

1/2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)

2-3 garlic gloves, crushed

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 medium tomato, chopped

400g/14oz organic, firm tofu (preferably calcium-set) OR 400g/14oz tempeh 

3/4 cup/200ml  coconut cream 

1/3 cup of loosely-packed, freshly chopped coriander (cilantro)


1. Cut the tofu (or tempeh) into cubes. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil (or water) in a wok, then add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Stir regularly until the seeds are browned.

3.  Add onion, ginger, chilli and garlic. Stir regularly, and fry until onion softens. (If cooking without oil, you will need to add additional water at this stage to prevent the onion from sticking.)

4. Add tomato, salt, and 1/3 cup of water. Stir well.

5. Add the tofu (or tempeh) and stir until it is well coated.

6. Add the coconut cream, and stir well. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

7. Add the chopped coriander (cilantro), and stir until incorporated.

8. Serve immediately.

Last night, I served the curry with brown rice, chickpea curry (kala channa), pappadums, green mango pickles, and mango chutney.

What is your favourite type of curry?

Each Monday I feature a delicious vegan recipe (or two) that is enjoyed by my own family. I sincerely hope your family enjoys it too.



About Ally
Mamma. Vegan. I blog at Made of Stars.

35 Responses to {Recipe} Chickpea Curry | Tofu and Coconut Curry

  1. tahinitoo says:

    I’m a dedicated fan of curries too. Surely what comes out of my kitchen is far from authentic, but that’s okay! Your recipe looks amazing and is now on my meal list for the upcoming week. What so wonderful about curries is that they can be catered to please any palate. Hooray for your son’s appreciation of the meal. One step at a time, right? 🙂

    • Ally says:

      Hi Amy!
      Yes, one step at a time 🙂 He is a big fan of tofu, so I’m sure that helped.
      It’s starting to cool down here, so great curry weather is ahead. Although I’ll happily eat a good curry anytime of year.
      I’m sure there isn’t much that’s authentic about my Indian cooking. You saw the bowl of avocado slices!!! haha! It was yummy with the chickpeas though 😉

      I love your idea of the care package…love it! Yes, let’s do it! I will reply to your other msg.

  2. CURRY!!! I’m so damn happy that the weather is getting cooler. Comfort food is going to be abundant in my home shortly. Thanks for linking to Soul Of Spice, I’m now following that wonderful blog 🙂

    • Ally says:

      It is wonderful, isn’t it?
      Ah, now it is my turn to apologise for not replying to your email. I will though. It gave me a good chuckle.
      I dug my slippers out of the wardrobe last week. It’s getting cooler here too.

  3. Hey Ally! That tofu and coconut curry looks awesome! I love curry, but it’s often too hot for me. I I’m a wimp when it comes to spice. I suppose if I make my own curry I can control how spicy it is. Hmmmm – guess I’m going to have to try this.

    • Ally says:

      Hi Celeste! This curry is very mild. You could even leave out the chilli flakes altogether.
      I am a fan of spice, but we have really toned down our curries since having kids.
      I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

  4. susykat says:

    These recipes look delicious! I am trying to learn how to cook curries actually – I made curried chickpeas for the first time recently. They were great. And I successfully made the green pea dahl and alu kofta recipes that you put up here 😀

    I remember us eating roti on our Malaysia trip, and some lovely curries as well but my memory is failing me a bit too :/ On a subsequent trip I took to Malaysia, I tried tandoori cauliflower and it was so good that it is still in my top 3 of the best things I’ve ever eaten! Seb has replicated the dish at home a few times!

    North Indian Diner – those were the days! 😉

    • Ally says:

      Haha! Those WERE the days.
      Wow, that sounds like an impressive cauliflower dish. I’ll have to ask Seb how to make the replicated version.

      Both of these curries are easy. The chickpea one has a longer cooking time, but it’s simple to prepare. The tofu one is very quick.

      I always make curries from ‘scratch’ now. It is simple, and healthier- less salt! I don’t use any of those bottled curry pastes.

      It sounds like a trip back to Malaysia is in order! This time I’ll remember what I eat.

      I want to know what the other two foods in your top 2 are. Speculoos straight from the jar is one, haha!

      • susykat says:

        I can tell you that the potato and tempeh dish from the Indonesian place in Chinatown is probably number one! 😉 I’ve been eating Speculoos from the jar a bit too much lately – haha!

      • Ally says:

        Oh now that is a recipe I need to re-create! I do have a potato tempeh recipe but I’ll need to talk to you about the ingredients (spices, etc) in the Chinatown one.
        I haven’t replenished my Speculoos supply. Too dangerous! I’d have to make the Speculoos Choc Balls. 🙂

  5. Andra Muhoberac says:

    When I hear people say that their kids won’t eat vegetables, I honestly think it’s because they heap a couple of veggies on the plate and expect kids to be excited about it. When veggies are served the way you prepare and serve your meals, I can’t help but believe that kids will love them. Even the most finicky eaters will surprise you.

  6. Xiomara says:

    ahh! i’ve never been a fan of curry which is a shame because indian cuisine is super veg friendly. the food does look delicious though and having you list all the ingredients makes curry seem not as “intimidating”. 🙂

  7. Sophie33 says:

    The 2 recipes make my mouth water: really tasty looking foods! I especially love your last recipe the most: coconut tofu curry: the dish looks amazing, tasty & rich too! Yumm! I would like to eat this with cooked brown rice with a few spices in there too!

  8. Veronique says:

    Oh, that tofu coconut curry is right up our alley! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Ally says:

      Oh great! I hope you love it as much as I do. 🙂 Do your kids like tofu?
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • Veronique says:

        Yes, my kids love tofu as long as I don’t mess it up too much. I don’t have easy access to good tofu: for us it’s whatever is sold at the grocery store. And we love curries.

  9. Andra Muhoberac says:

    This is such a beautiful meal!

  10. Linda says:

    Yum, they look really good and warming. Years ago, when I used to do yoga classes, my favourite part in winter was the visualisation exercise where we imagined smelling a pot of curry bubbling on the stove. We usually have a curry near the end of the week, to use up whatever vegies are left, and it always makes them seem special. I think I might try one of yours next time.

    • Ally says:

      We do that too Linda! It is a great way to clear out the veggie drawer.
      I love the visualisation exercise you did at yoga. I think I would have to go home to a curry after that! Or stop off at the local Indian restaurant on the way home 🙂

  11. Thomas says:

    Hi Ally I love all curries. The curries you have listed are all very good. My favourite curry is difficult because it depends on how I feel some times. I like Aloo Sagwala which is basically yummy spinach sauce, spices and potato… I like Japanese curries, Thai, Indian, British Indian and Malay. Rendang is one my favourites too 🙂 Always love reading your blogs thanks for sharing your experiences it is an interesting read 🙂

  12. This looks really good! I make a similar one and throw in some broccoli and lime too 🙂 Gotta love a good curry!

    • Ally says:

      Oh I like the sound of that! We are big fans of broccoli – all my kids like it. It would add some colour too!
      Lime and coconut are a beautiful combination too.
      Thanks, I’m going to do that next time.

  13. soulofspice says:

    Wow ally this looks a veritable feast. Love how you modified the chickpeas to suit your little one. That’s a huge compliment. Thanks for the shoutout 🙂 charu

    • Ally says:

      Hi Charu!
      Thank YOU for your fabulous recipe. It is a regular meal in our house now. I’m very happy that I found your blog. 🙂

  14. Oooh, yum. To both. I usually tuck lentils or chickpeas into my curries, but I may have to try using tofu in there too. I got a nice chuckle out of your little guy’s initial careful compliment. But asking for a repeat is the highest praise indeed 🙂

  15. narf77 says:

    Bonus! A 2 for 1 post and number 397 in my RSS Feed Reader 😉

  16. Sheila says:

    looks so delicious! i have some coconut milk in my fridge that needs to be used up… and now i know how 🙂

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