Thai Curried Chickpeas with Coconut Rice

Thai Chickpea CurryI’ve been going through coconut milk like crazy this month, not least because this past week I’ve been trying out Thai food for It’s A Vegan World: Thai, started right here on Holy Cow! and hosted this month by Priya of Askhayapaatram.I love coconut milk, so no complaints. Plus, although it does have a fairly high fat content, the fats in coconut milk are actually good for you, unlike cream or butter or other kinds of fat that usually give foods their richness.

My recipes for today are Thai Curried Chickpeas and Thai Coconut Rice, which are divine either by themselves or with each other.

I chose the chickpeas because for one, I don’t run into too many bean dishes when browsing through Thai recipes, and for another, I’m mad about chickpeas. And although I love coconut rice the way I’ve done it for ages, the South Indian way, this recipe– which is much more pared down– is just as delicious. Some recipes I saw called for the addition of a sweetener like maple syrup or brown sugar to the rice, but I chose not to add those because I love the flavor of the coconut by itself. The addition of coconut oil to the recipe really packs a punch, so try not to skip it.

My recipe for Thai curry paste is very versatile, so feel free to experiment with ingredients that have a similar taste if you can’t find the real thing. For instance, replace the lemon grass with extra lime juice, or use ginger instead of the galangal. Make sure you taste everything as you go along, and you won’t fail!

Here are the recipes. Serve these with a simple but flavorful side like my Mint-Smothered Spuds.

Enjoy, everyone!
Thai Coconut Rice

Thai Curried Chickpeas With Coconut Rice
Thai Coconut Rice
Serves: 8 servings
  • For the Coconut Rice:
  • 1½ cups long-grain rice like Jasmine or Basmati
  • 1½ cups coconut milk + 1½ cups water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
  • For the Chickpea Curry:
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, washed, soaked for a few hours and then cooked until tender (or use 2 cups of canned chickpeas, drained and washed)
  • 2 tbsp red Thai Curry Paste (recipe follows)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp tamari sauce (use regular soy sauce if you can't find this)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 10-15 basil leaves, cut into strips (use cilantro/coriander leaves if you can't find these)
  • 1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
  • For the Red Curry Paste:
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 3 red chillies
  • 1-inch piece of galangal, sliced thinly (use ginger as a substitute)
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass. Trim off the top and the hard outer leaves and slice finely
  • 1 tbsp lime juice + zest of one lime
  • 1 tbsp Thai hot sauce, like Sriracha
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground black or white pepper
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Up to ¼ cup of canola or other flavorless vegetable oil
  1. Make Coconut Rice:
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan.
  3. Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes until the grains start to turn opaque.
  4. Add the coconut milk, water, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover tightly with a lid, and simmer until done for 15 minutes. Leave the lid on for at least another 10 minutes after cooking before you handle the rice.
  5. With a fork, gently fluff up and mix the grains with any of the coconut-milk solids that might have separated to the top.
  6. Make Thai Curried Chickpeas:
  7. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onions. Stir-fry until they brown.
  8. Add the garlic and 1 tbsp of the red curry paste. Stir until the paste has dissolved into the oil.
  9. Add the chickpeas, tamari/soy sauce, sugar, lime juice and tomatoes. If the mixture is dry, add about ½ cup of water.
  10. When it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer another two-three minutes. Add the coconut milk and warm through without bringing to a boil.
  11. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of red curry paste and stir in.
  12. Check if you need salt. Add the basil leaves and turn off the heat.
  13. Make Thai Red Curry Paste:
  14. Put all the ingredients in the grinder but add just enough oil to keep the blades moving. Add the rest of the oil if needed, to make a fairly smooth paste.

While my other dogs and cats usually cuddle up at night in their own beds, Opie prefers to take over ours. I think he looks like a lion when he yawns, don’t you? :)


(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Get new recipes by email. Sign up below.


  1. says

    the dish looks delicious Vaishu. chickpeas in coconut milk, needless to say, it should taste heavenly. i always thought coconut is high in cholesterol and bad for health. am i wrong?

  2. says

    Coconut milk is a favorite ingredient of mine and I’ve been craving a creamy curry dish like mad! Thanks for including the recipes to your delicious looking meal.

  3. says

    I love coconut milk! And, yes I read too that the medium chain fatty acids are better for you than previously thought. I have some dried chilies that I needed to find a use for- Thai food is definitely on my list- thanks for the recipes!

  4. says

    I would have never thought of making thai chickpea and this loooks so creamy dleicious, i have a shope bottle red paste, will sure bokmark this recipe.

  5. says

    That’s one fabulous plate to sit down to at mealtime! I made a version of the curried chickpeas too! Was surprised to see a choley-style recipe and I had to make it 😀 Thank you for these yummy recipes :)

  6. says

    Superchef, Madhu, Asha, Trupti, Cham, Priya, Ashwini: Thanks, dear ladies!

    Mahimaa, great question. Coconut fats had a bad reputation for a long time because they are saturated. But increasingly research shows that not all saturated fats are bad for you and that the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut fat can actually reduce cholesterol. A number of chefs who emphasize healthy cooking now champion coconut oil and milk. Anecdotally speaking, my immediate and extended family has always consumed a lot of coconut– in fact it’s eaten at every meal– and no one really has major heart health or weight issues. As you can see, I’m a big fan :)

    Paulina, Karma, Happy, Mia, Priya: Thanks!

  7. says

    yummy curry and rice… and I have only had the south indian version of coconut rice that is a must when making other mixed rice like puliyodharai, lemon rice, etc… for festivals and stuff – your version must be delicious :)
    and I had the same doubt that Mahimaa had about coconuts and cholesterol – thanks for clarifying :)

  8. says

    This dish looks and sounds amazing! Mmm coconut milk always gets me. and P.S. your dog is the most adorable animal I’ve ever seen!

  9. says

    Vaishali!! I saw this pic .. and wanted to eat it right off my screen. So I rushed home and cooked it for dinner .. and oh My God!! Was sooo yumm!!! I loved the coconut flavor in the rice .. and the curry was to die for!! I think this was one of the very few recipes which I have tried which looked EXACTLY like the pic you posted, color consistency .. everything!

  10. says

    I’d love some of that, especially on this rainy, chilly day.

    Opie knows comfort when he feels it. : } That’s one happy fellow.

  11. says

    Hi Vaishali,

    I found out your blog, a couple of months ago, when I was searching for roasted potatoes :). I tried your recipe and they were delicious! Since then I’ve been following you recipes and in the beginning of this week I tried this recipe. I was curious because of the flavors. I love basil, but in my home country (Portugal) we don’t we it often, but chickpeas we do. I never had rice cooked in coconut milk and I said to myself “this sounds so exotic and yummy!”. It was, definitely! :) This is an excellent meal! Thank you so much for sharing!


    PS – Your dogs are adorable!

  12. says

    Hi Vaishali,

    thank you so much for your comment! :) I’m really happy about it.
    This weekend I will try the Creamy Baked Pasta in a Minty tofu Sauce :). I don’t remember the last time I had pasta, some couple of months ago maybe, so when I saw the pictures in your post I said to myself: “That’s it! This weekend I’ll give it a try”. It’s so much fun trying new recipes!
    I’m totally amazed by the size of the vegan/vegetarian community here and how creative and supporting you guys are! :)

    Keep up the fantastic work!

    PS – I’m having Indian Vegetarian Cooking classes, free (!!) given by a group of Indian people that work in Microsoft (there is big Indian community working for Microsoft, here in Seattle), and last week they taught us how to make Aloo Parathas :) and I just came across with your recipe!
    Gosh, I want to go home and cook!

  13. says

    I just found your wonderful blog through a link a friend posted on Facebook. I am now feeling SO hungry! I love chickpeas and cook a large batch to keep in the fridge, but am always looking for new ways to use them. This will be the next recipe I try! Thank you!

    What a sweet pooch! Very like our old dog, Charlie…

    I’m now off to add you to my blogroll.

  14. NalaShanti says

    I am mad about chickpeas and here I find I am not the only one! This is a great dish. I didn’t have a fresh tomato on hand and was too lazy to go out so I used stewed canned tomatoes. They worked out great to add moisture to the dish. I also was out of coconut oil so I added a handful of grated coconut with the rice before the liquid was added. It toasted up nicely and was an additional layer of flavor. Yum.

  15. Anonymous says

    Your recipes are so beautiful and I can tell they taste delicious; being a vegan with a pakistani father and white mother, your recipes speak to me. I love thai food there’s so many yummy flavors; I will save this blog…I have many of your recipes on my mental to-do list lol. Thanks!

Leave a comment!