I have a new favorite bowl, guys, and I can't stop eating. Because this Caribbean Bowl with Chickpea Curry, Roasted Plantains and Coconut Rice is just that good.
The rice is coconutty and fragrant with herbs and spiked with one of the spiciest peppers around but still mellow but delicious, the chickpea curry is fiery and full of flavor, and the roasted plantains, with a golden, crunchy bite that melts into soft sweetness, round out the meal perfectly.
I love Caribbean flavors and this is exactly the kind of food I crave when I am busy at home or at work. Taking a few minutes to myself, this bowl in hand, is just that satisfying comfort-food experience I need to get me recharged and ready to get stuff done.
This recipe takes no more than an hour to put together, and probably less if you multi-task efficiently (which I don't), and is quite straightforward. Most of the ingredients are likely already in your pantry if you make Indian or Caribbean food somewhat regularly.
There are three distinct recipes here that work great as a bowl, but if you don't want to make a bowl, cook them individually at separate times by all means. The curry goes great with plain rice, and the roasted plantains make the perfect side or snack for any meal (you can also use my baked plantain fries in this bowl). The coconut rice can be eaten by itself as a meal.
Ingredients for Vegan Caribbean Bowl:
For the rice:
- Rice. A long grain like jasmine or basmati works best
- Coconut milk. I used the kind that comes in a carton here, not the canned one.
- Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper (you will need just a small piece. When I buy habaneros I freeze them rightaway and cut out a little piece as needed. They last a long time this way)
- Ground cloves
- Chickpeas. Use canned or dry. If using dry, preferably soak them overnight and then cook until tender. You can also do this in an Instant Pot. I soak the beans for about an hour, then cook them for 3o minutes at high pressure. Wait for a natural release or quick release 20 minutes after cooking has ended.
- Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
- Coriander seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Black peppercorns
- Fennel seeds
- Mustard seeds
- Fenugreek seeds
- Vegetable oil
- Plantains (these should be slightly ripe but not mushy. You can tell they are ripening when the skin starts to get black or brown spots and turns yellow from green)
- Adobo seasoning (or use a mix of oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and ground black pepper)
- Garlic powder
- Vegetable oil
Tips for making the perfect vegan Caribbean Bowl:
- Start out by getting your ingredients together. It might look like a long list above, but many of the ingredients are common to the curry and the rice.
- You can use either canned or dry chickpeas, but your chickpeas need to be tender and ready to eat when they go into the curry.
- Cook the rice according to instructions and do not get tempted to open the pot and take a peek halfway through cooking. That way you'll have the perfect coconut rice.
- Cut your plantain into even sized pieces, so they roast together into perfect doneness.
- Coconut Rice
- Chana Masala
- Curried Chickpeas Bowl with Turmeric Rice and Garlicky Chard
- Sesame Soba Noodle Bowl with Spinach and Tofu
- Vegan Crack Chili Tofu Noodle Bowls
- Chickpea Curry, South Indian Style
Vegan Caribbean Bowl
For Chickpea Curry
- 30 oz chickpeas (approx 2 cans)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion (finely diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- A small piece of scotch bonnet or habanero pepper (these are very spicy, so use a very small piece and be sure to deseed. You can sub with jalapeno if you can't find either of these.)
- 2 medium potatoes (cut into a ½-inch dice)
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano (or use 2 tablespoon fresh thyme or oregano, chopped. You can also use a mix.)
- 2 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns (use more of less per your preference)
- 5 cloves
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- ½ tsp turmeric
- Salt to taste
For the coconut rice:
- 1 ½ cups jasmine rice (or basmati)
- 2 cups coconut milk (from the carton, not can)
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion (finely diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- A small piece of scotch bonnet (or habanero pepper. Jalapeno is okay as a substitute)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
- Salt to taste
For roasted plantains:
- 4 plantains (Peeled and cut crosswise into ¼-inch thick slices. Use plantains that are slightly ripe, with the skin just turning yellow with some black spots. You don't want very mushy, overripe plantains here)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoon adobo seasoning (or make your own by combining equal parts of onion powder, garlic powder, dry oregano, black pepper and salt)
- ½ teaspoon paprika (optional)
- Salt to taste
Make the chickpea curry:
- In a skillet, roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, mustard seeds, ground cloves, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and turmeric until a couple of shades darker and fragrant. Process to a coarse powder in a spice grinder and set aside.
- Heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Then add the chili pepper, thyme and powdered spices and stir in.
- Add the chickpeas and potatoes with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and let the curry simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. At any point, if the curry looks too dry, add some water.
- After the potatoes are tender, add salt and turn off heat. Garnish with cilantro if you desire.
Make Coconut Rice:
- Heat the oil in a saucepan or skillet. Add the onions and garlic and thyme and cook until the onions are translucent.
- Stir in the ground cloves, the chili pepper, and thyme and mix well. Add the rice and stir until it turns opaque. Add the coconut milk and ½ cup water along with salt. The water should taste a little saltier than you would like your rice to be.
- Once the water starts to boil, cover the pot, turn heat to low, and let the rice cook 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice stand, undisturbed, at least 10 minutes more.
Make the roasted plantains:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a bowl, toss the plantains together with the adobo, paprika if using, and salt.
- Place the plantain slices, without overlap, on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Flip the slices over halfway through baking.
Assemble the bowls:
- To make your bowl, scoop rice into the bowl, top with the chickpea curry, and with the plantain slices. Add some more fresh thyme or cilantro to the bowl if you wish. I also love adding slices of fresh avocado for more nutrition and texture.
Hi Vaishali, I love all of your recipes! I want to make this for a Caribbean night we have planned. I can't get fresh plantain where I live, so I'm wondering if frozen would work?
Thanks so much,
Hi Trish, I think frozen should be fine so long as they are not too mushy! Hope you enjoy it. 🙂
Excellent.Very Very nice and thoughtful.Please provide us with more dishes.All the best.
Thanks, Sai, happy you enjoyed it.
Hi, that recipe looks absolutely delicious and I will definitely try it soon. However, for a special occasion I would like to serve my (vegan) friends a dish that's more or less traditionally caribbean. Would you consider the chickpea curry authentic for caribbean or is it more like caribbean-inspired? (I don't want to sound pretentious, because it really sounds like such a delicious recipe but my question really is for the special occasion).
Hello, I will be making this would like to know if I could use the curry powder I have on hand. If so, how much would I need to use??
Hi Neko, is this for the chickpea curry? It's hard to advise exactly if you're planning to use the curry powder to replace all the other spices and you won't get the same flavor, but I'd say just add a teaspoonful and add more if needed to your taste.
I’m making this right now. Could find fenugreek in my pantry and too late to go shopping for it.
Would it be ok to add some fire roasted tomatoes to the curry?
Hmmm..not quite sure how that would taste, but you can give it a try.
Finally got to making this, it's been on my to do for weeks and it was worth the wait. I especially love the plantains and the chickpea curry was incredible, spicy and savory and magical. Thank you for this amazing food experience.
Awesome, so happy you loved it Nate.
This recipe looks really good! I definitely want to try the rice for sure haha thank you!