Easy chicken and chickpea curry recipe, packed with flavour. A delicious hearty, healthy, chicken curry the whole family will love! Simple quick one-pan curry dinner ready in 30 minutes! No curry paste or curry base is needed!
This curry is made with tender chicken breast, chickpeas, and creamy aromatic coconut milk. Seasoned with curry powder, and a handful of simple spices. If you are making it a kid-friendly or milder version, reduce the chilli and use mild curry powder. Simply serve with fluffy basmati rice, plain naan, or chapatti.
This curry is originally known as ' Murgh Cholay ' and is made with bone-in chicken pieces, chickpeas, and tomatoes in Authentic Indian and Pakistani recipes.
UK Indian takeaway and restaurants, curries are usually cooked with the curry base which is known as BIR, British Indian restaurants cuisines. Very smooth and creamy curry gravy which is made from onions, garlic, tomatoes, carrot, spices, etc.
In Indian and Asian households we usually don't prepare a curry base ahead, we usually cook the curry sauce scratch. I love both restaurant-style curries and homemade curries. If you love to try BIR style curry please stay tuned. I'll share our recipe on how to make curry base from scratch very soon.
This homestyle easy chicken and chickpea curry recipe with coconut milk is easy to cook everything in one pan with minimum effort. You will find it much easier and tastier than you have imagined.
Why you should try this recipe
- A fantastic way to use up the chickpea tins left in the pantry.
- Cook everything from scratch with quick and simple instructions.
- No pre-cooked curry paste or blender is needed.
- A crowd-pleasing dish, that you can make one day ahead.
- Fridge and freezer friendly, plus budget friendly too!
Ingredients we need
Chicken - I use boneless chicken breasts in this recipe. Chicken thigh fillets or bone-in chicken pieces go well too. If you use bone-in chicken pieces, you will need more time to cook, until the chicken is tender.
Chickpea tin - I use boiled chickpea tin in this recipe as it is so fast and easy to cook and pantry-friendly. Drain the water out from the tin before adding in the curry.
Can I use dry chickpea? If you use dry chickpea, soak the chickpea in water and a pinch of baking soda for 4-8 hours or overnight. Then drain the water out, add cold water and bring it to boil. Then lower the heat and simmer until tender, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Dry chickpea increase about 3 times when you boil it, so you will need about 120-130 gram chickpea for this recipe. You can also boil the chickpea in batches and keep it in the fridge or freezer for later use.
Curry powder - Use any mild or hot Indian-style curry powder or Madaras curry powder according to your preference. I usually use hot curry powder.
Shallot onions - If you have followed my other curry recipes you might notice that I love to use shallot onions in the curries. Shallot onions are less in moisture and easy to melt in the curry gravy, without blending with the blender. You just need to finely chop or cut thin slices and saute them until brown before you add the spices and tomatoes. If you cannot get Asian shallots, you can use small shallot onions.
Tomatoes - Curry sauce tastes best with ripened vine tomatoes, use fresh chopped tomatoes or tomato tins.
Tomato puree - I add tomato puree for a more vibrant red colour. You can skip tomato puree and add more fresh tomatoes instead.
How to make chicken and chickpea curry
- Heat the pan into medium heat, drizzle vegetable oil. Add bay leaves, cumin seeds and stir for a few seconds then add the finely chopped shallots and cook until soft and translucent.
- Next, add the fresh ginger paste and grated garlic, continue stirring until the onions become slightly brown.
- Now add the spices, turmeric, paprika, and curry powder and saute for a few seconds.
- Follow with the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and cook until the oil separates.
- Then add the chicken pieces and cook for 2-3 minutes, next add chickpea, pour the water and coconut milk in.
- Season with salt and chicken stock cube/powder. Close the lid and simmer with low heat for 8-10 minutes until the chicken and chickpea are tender.
- Turn off the heat, and stir in green chillies, garam masala and chopped coriander.
- Transfer to serving plate and garnish with chopped coriander and green chillies.
- Use fresh ginger, garlic and onions for deep aromatic gravy.
- Saute the onion until light brown before adding the spices and tomatoes.
- Use ghee or butter instead of cooking oil if you love extra rich buttery curry flavour.
- Omit paprika/chilli powder to make it milder or kid-friendly curry.
- Do not over cook the chickpea. Pre-cooked canned chickpea are soft and tender within 10-12 minutes.
- This dish taste better the next day. If the gravy is too thick, add a splash of water when you reheat it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Add chicken, water, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, chopped shallots, spices and seasonings ( except garam masala ) in the slow cooker/crockpot. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. Once the chicken is cooked, stir in chickpea and garam masala and cook for another 30 minutes. Add green chillies and chopped coriander just before serving.
This dish is 284 calories per servings without rice or naan. Nutrational facts are calculated approximately and can be slightly varied by the numer of factors.
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Chicken and Chickpea Curry
- 250 g Chicken breast ( about 9oz ) breast/thigh, boneless skinless, cut medium bite-size pieces
- 1 Chickpea tin ( about 400g/14oz ) water drained
- 3-4 Shallot Asian shallot or small shallot onions
- 3 cloves Garlic Grated
- 1 tbsp Ginger paste Or finely grated
- 2 Tomatoes Large vine ripen tomatoes, finely chopped
- 2 tsp Tomato puree Or tomato concentrate
- 200 ml Coconut milk Full fat or creamy coconut milk ( see details in note )
- 250 ml Water about 1 cup, add more if needed
- 3-4 Green Chilli cut half lengthways
- handful Coriander roughly chopped
- 1½ tsp Salt Adjust salt according to your taste
- 1 tsp Chicken powder or half chicken stock cubes ( about 5 g )
- 2-3 tbsp Oil Vegetable, sunflower, or neutral flavour oil, or ghee
- 1 tbsp Curry powder Mild/hot Indian curry powder, or Madaras curry powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Paprika powder or chilli powder
- ½ tsp Cumin seeds Zeera/Jeera seeds
- 2-3 Bay leaves
- ½ tsp Garam Masala
- First, heat the oil into medium heat and saute the bay leaves and cumin seeds for few seconds.
- Next, add the chopped shallots and cook until translucent, then add the grated garlic and ginger paste. Stir well until the onions are light brown.
- Follow with the spices. curry powder, paprika, and turmeric. Saute for few seconds then add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and oil separates.
- Add the chicken pieces, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the chickpeas, water, and coconut milk.
- Season with salt and chicken powder/stock cubes. Stir well, close the lid and simmer for 8-10 minutes or cook until the chicken and chickpeas are soft and tender. You can add more water if the gravy is too thick.
- Now stir in green chillies, chopped coriander and garam masala.
- Turn off the heat and transfer to serving plate. Garnish with chopped coriander and green chillies. Serve with basmati rice, naan, flatbread or chapati.
- Curry powder - use any of your favourite Indian curry powder, mild or hot.
- Bay leaves & cumin seeds - Bring more flavour to the curry. If you don't have it in hand, you can skip it.
- Coconut milk - cream or full-fat coconut milk works best with the curry. If you don't like coconut flavour, swap it with heavy/double cream. For a healthier/low-fat option add greek yoghurt 100g.
- Shallot onions - recommend using Asian shallots or baby shallot onions which are easy to melt in the curry sauce.
- Chicken powder/stock cubes - add chicken stock cubes or powder for extra rich umami curry taste. It's totally optional, you can skip it if you don't have it in hand.
- Ingredient Variations - you don't need to add the exact same spices or ingredients that are used in this recipe. Canned butter beans, kidney beans, or black beans are a great substitutes for chickpea tin. Or you can also try it out with boiled chana dal or chickpea.
- Extra vegetables - Small dices of carrot, potato, aubergine, butternut squash, courgette can be also added.
- Vegetarian option - add paneer, tofu, potatoes or sweet potatoes instead of chicken and swap the chicken stock with vegetable stock cubes.
- How to prep ahead? You can cook this dish one day ahead, once it cools down keep it in an air-tight container in the fridge. Re-heat over the stovetop or in the microwave until piping hot just before serving. Add a bit of water if the gravy is too thick.
- How to freeze it? Once it cools down completely, freeze it in an air-tight container in the freezer. Curries usually last in the freezer, up to 3 months.
- How to prepare for the crowd? You can double or triple the ingredients, there is an auto-multiplier in the recipe card.