Close up of Brazilian Chickpea Curry in a bowl
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5 from 32 votes

Brazilian Coconut Chickpea Curry

Recipe video above. A chickpea recipe that even carnivores think is worth making!! The sauce is from this traditional Brazilian Fish Stew. I call it a curry because it tastes distinctly curryish - except with a fraction of the ingredients!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Mains
Cuisine: Brazilian, South American
Keyword: brazilian stew, Chickpea curry, chickpea recipe, coconut chickpea curry
Servings: 4
Calories: 399kcal
Author: Nagi


Chickpea Curry:

  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion , finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 red capsicum/bell peppers , cut into 3 x 0.75cm / 1.25 x 1/3"" strips
  • 2 cans chickpeas , drained (Note 1)
  • 400ml/14oz coconut milk , full fat for best flavour (Note 2)
  • 400ml/14oz can crushed tomato
  • 1 cup (250ml) chicken or vegetable stock/broth , low sodium
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust spiciness to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp sugar (any type)
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 50g / 2oz baby spinach leaves (or kale)

Finishing & Serving:

  • 3 tbsp coriander/cilantro , roughly chopped, plus more for serving (Note 3)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice , plus extra wedges for serving
  • Yogurt (optional)
  • Rice - or something to soak up the sauce (Note 4)


  • Heat oil in a pot or large deep skillet over high heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 1 minute.
  • Add capsicum, cook for 2 minutes until onion is translucent and slightly golden on edges.
  • Add remaining Curry ingredients except baby spinach. Stir, bring to simmer then lower to medium low so it's simmering gently.
  • Simmer 12 - 15 minutes until it changes from pale pink to an orangey red colour.
  • Stir in spinach until just wilted, then stir in coriander and lime juice. Add more salt it needed.
  • Serve over rice with a dollop of yogurt, extra sprinkle of coriander and squeeze of lime (don't go overboard, I often do and it's too sour!)


1. Chickpeas - can use any canned beans, I've made this often with black beans, cannelloni beans and even lentils!
Dried chickpeas - Note 5 below.
2. Coconut milk - full fat best for flavour because the fat is where the flavour is. But light is ok too.
3. Coriander haters - sub with chives! Still tasty but will be missing the coriander flavour which is in traditional Brazilian Fish Stew.
4. Serve over something to soak up the sauce. Plain white rice, lime rice, cauliflower rice, mashed potato, couscous, polenta or even pasta.
If I don't have something to soak up sauce, I usually bulk it out with another can of beans, corn, or diced fresh veg and serve it as a chunky stew ie not over rice or anything.
5. DRIED CHICKPEAS - 1 cup dried chickpeas (200g / 6.5 oz) - once cooked it will be around the amount of chickpeas in 2 x 400g/14 oz can. Cook using stove or pressure cooker:
  • STOVE: soak overnight in lots of water. Pick out anything that doesn't look like chickpeas that floats to the surface. Place in a saucepan with 3 cups of water and simmer on medium for 40 - 50 minutes (depends on chickpea size) until they are very soft. Skim off any skin that floats to the surface. Drain, proceed with recipe.
  • PRESSURE COOKER: No soaking required, cover with 3 cups of water and cook 45 minutes on high.
6. Storage and make ahead - keeps 5 days in the fridge and freezes near perfectly! Thaw and reheat using chosen method, might need a splash of water to thin sauce.
7. Nutrition per serving, curry only (ie no rice included). About 1.5 cups (375ml) per serve.


Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Sodium: 725mg | Potassium: 1021mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3660IU | Vitamin C: 65mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 8mg