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Kala Chana Curry


Chana Curry

Kala Channa Curry

Lots of different textures and delicious flavours in this chana curry!

When you look for kala chana, it is often called ‘yellow channa’. When cooked, it turns black which is why it is often called black channa on menus.

You could use the easier to find white chickpeas for this recipe but I like the slightly different flavour of the kala chana and the colour of the sauce. This curry has such a nice flavour! I hope you get a chance to try with the darker version.

I learned this chana curry recipe at a restaurant called Ury in Newcastle. The head chef there walked me through the recipe and I ate with with a delicious Keralan style paratha. I loved it so much, I made it again the same day when I go home.

Make this chana curry recipe your own

My family like a lot of liquid in this chana curry so that naan bread or paratha can be dipped in and absorb all of the delicious sauce. If you like a thicker sauce just let it boil down for a little longer, the beans will thicken the chana curry quickly.

If you enjoy this chana curry recipe try these other vegetarian curry recipes:

Vegetarian Chilli
Bean Curry
Kidney Bean Curry

Making Kala Channa Curry

Tempering the spices and curry leaves.

Making Kala Channa Curry

Add the onions, chillies and dry spices.

Making Kala Masala

Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and sizzle for about 30 seconds.

Making Kala Masala Curry

Stir in the chopped tomatoes.

Making kala channa

Add the cooked black chana.

Making kala channa curry

Stir in the thick coconut milk.

Kala channa curry

Allow to reduce down until you have a thick curry. You could cook it down to taste. A runnier sauce is ok too.

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Prep Time
10 minutes

Cook Time
40 minutes

Total Time
50 minutes


  • 200g (1 cup) kala chana soaked in 625ml (2.5 cups) water overnight
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon asafoetida
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 medium size onion,
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 to 2 green chillies
  • 2 medium tomatoes or 1 large tomato – diced
  • 200g thick coconut milk
  • salt as required
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves


  1. Pour the soaked chickpeas along with the soaking water and bicarbonate of soda into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat for about 30 minutes or until tender. Set aside.
  2. Now heat the oil/ghee over high heat in a large frying pan. When visibly hot, add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, reduce the heat to medium and stir in the curry leaves. When these become fragrant, stir in the asafetida, cumin, coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric. Allow to sizzle in the oil for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the chopped onions and fry for five minutes or until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and the chillies. Stir to combine and then add the diced tomatoes. Bring this all to a simmer and then stir in the coconut milk and the cooked chickpeas with the water.
  4. Allow to simmer until you are happy with the consistency. Season with salt to taste. To serve, sprinkle with the garam masala and coriander leaves to garnish.

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