If you ever liked Chinese Curry Chicken or Chinese Curry Brisket, you will love this veganized version. This recipe for Coconut Curry Chickpeas was made especially for Regina Barrientos, the winner of the last “secret word” game. She requested a curry recipe made with ordinary, affordable ingredients and I was more than happy to oblige. It just so happens that the theme for Vegan MoFo day 26 is for cold weather food made from basic pantry items and this recipe also fits that bill! Click here for the printable recipe.
Video Tutorial for Coconut Curry Chickpeas
In my late teens, my friend and I always hung out pretty late at night; meeting up at 10pm and not coming home until 3am or sometimes the morning. We did extremely cool things like playing pool, drinking bubble tea and standing in the parking lot of McDonald’s deciding what to do. IE. Extremely tame things. What to do next usually involved food and late at night my favourite options were Hong Kong style cafes and 24 hour Pho. Hong Kong style cafes usually had a “mini set” meal for after 11pm; a drink and entree for between $5.50 and $10. One of my usual dishes to get was Chinese Curry Chicken or Brisket. I was so predictable that I would look over the whole menu, hem and haw about calories and fat and still order the same thing. The gravy was mild, coconuty, slightly sweet and very savory. I loved how the potatoes soaked up the flavours from the sauce and even though I didn’t like cooked carrots (still don’t), I enjoyed them in this Chinese curry. Luckily, when I went vegan, I discovered it was easy to veganize this dish.
Interestingly, when I was trying to find out the origin the dish that we’re basing this off of, I was told it was just the Chinese way of making a south Indian curry. The result of two cultures coming together and making delicious things happen.
The fat in this recipe comes mostly from coconut milk, though we don’t need a lot to make this curry smooth and creamy. Though there is oil in the usual restaurant dish, I find that it isn’t necessary in this case. Instead of using oil to saute the onions, I use the water saute method. That’s not to say that the water saute method can stand in for oil-based sauteing for any dish. Oil often plays a part in developing a particular flavour that cannot be replicated with the water saute method. Water sauteing works for this dish as only the onions are sauteed and the rest of the ingredients are simmered together anyway.
It only takes about 30 minutes to cook up this dish. In that time, the chickpeas, potatoes and carrot get tender but not mushy and really soak of the flavours in the curry. Serve this with steamed rice for the traditional accompaniment or try this with noodles. I also love this dish with broccoli as the florets can really soak up a lot of sauce. What would you have this with?
Printable recipe for Coconut Curry Chickpeas
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 1/2 cups chopped potato (about 1-2 large potatoes)
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 slice ginger
- 2 tablespoons madras curry powder
- 1 1/2 cups chicken-style vegan broth (or your choice)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 3/4" stick of Chinese brown cane sugar or 1/2 - 1 tablespoon raw sugar*
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or sherry (optional)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- pinch white pepper
- salt to taste
- In a large pot over medium high heat, water saute the onions until soft and starting to become translucent.
- Add the potatoes, carrots, garlic, ginger, curry powder and chickpeas. Stir to coat the vegetable evenly with curry powder. Stir in the vegetable stock.
- Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover and let cook until the potatoes and carrots are soft; about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir ever so often to ensure even cooking.
- When the potatoes are easy to cut with the edge of a spoon, stir in the rest of the ingredients: coconut milk, shaoxing wine or sherry (if using), soy sauce and white pepper. Cover and let simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
- Taste, adjust for salt and pepper, and serve over rice or noodles. Optionally, garnish with sriracha and/or cilantro. Enjoy!
- Water sauteing is a technique for cooking without oil. View the video demonstration here. First add a splash of water to your non-stick pan and heat it up over medium high. Get a cup of water ready. When the pan is hot and the water is bubbling, quickly add your chopped and separated onions. Stir so that the onions get a light coating of water. As they cook, they will start to stick to the pan; add a few drops of water at a time and stir to loosen the onions and dissolve the yellowish substance that they leave behind. Repeat until the onions are soft. For other dishes, this can be repeated until the onions actually become caramelized though it takes some practice to get them to caramelize instead of burn. Add too much water at a time and you'll boil the onions resulting in a mushy texture.
- For the sugar, if you can't find the Chinese brown cane sugar bars, you can use any sweetener you like. I prefer some with a malty flavour like raw sugar. You can also use date or coconut sugar. Start with a 1/2 tablespoon. Then at the end of cooking, taste and see if you want to add more.
- For the chickpeas, I used home cooked chickpeas from dried legumes. I prefer them but you can also use canned. Whatever you do, make sure they are pre-cooked!