Guyanese-style Channa (chickpea) curry

Guyanese-style channa (chickpea) curry

I haven’t made chickpea curry in a little while. It’s usually called channa curry or channa masala, depending on where you live. For some reason, I can never think ahead to soak the peas, so it just doesn’t happen very often anymore. And I used to make it a lot. It’s incredibly healthy for you.

There are many variations to this curry. The Guyanese version I learned how to make from my family has potatoes in it too, but this is already a high carb dish since we serve it with rice, so I don’t use them. I serve it with some salad or veggies on the side. If you want fewer carbs, eat the curry with vegetables instead of rice to cut them down in half. It’s the curry that’s important in this dish. We just like bread or rice to eat up all the sauce!

Here are some reasons why it’s the curry that’s important.

Vegetarian curry offers two benefits to reduce stress. The chili peppers help the brain release endorphins to calm your nerves, and curry protects vital parts of the brain against stress.

In addition to managing stress, some of the other benefits in this recipe include weight management, boosted immunity, and improved blood pressure and digestion.

Guyanese-style channa (chickpea) curry recipe

  • Makes: 4 servings
  • Total time: 1 to 1 and a half hours, cook time: 30-60 minutes (depending on the kind of chickpeas used), prep time: 20 minutes


  • This recipe is spicy to very spicy depending on the type of pepper you use,
  • If you’re using dry chickpeas, soak them overnight for 12 hours


  • 1 cup basmati rice or 4 cups of vegetables of your choice
  • 1 cup chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans (dry is better but canned is faster)
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder, I use Lalah’s brand
  • 1.5 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • A teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
  • 4 cups water (2 cups for sauce and two cups for boiling chickpeas)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 -1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1-3 habanero, scotch bonnet or wiri wiri pepper, or a milder pepper (e.g. cayenne, jalapeño, green chili)
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped for garnish


Rice or vegetables: Cook rice according to the package, or the vegetables as you desire.

Curry: In a blender, combine ½ onion, garlic, oil, spices, tomato and two cups of water. Blend until smooth and thick.


chickpeas soaking

If using dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans:

  • Place chickpeas in a large bowl and cover completely with cold water. Allow them to soak overnight, for about 12 hours.
  • Boil two cups of water in a medium or large pot and then add the cup of chickpeas.
  • Cover and simmer for approximately one hour until tender.
  • Drain cool for 15 minutes.

If using canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans:

  • Place chickpeas in a large bowl and wash.
  • Boil two cups of water in a large or medium pot and then add the cup of chickpeas.
  • Cover and simmer for approximately 25 -30 minutes until tender.
  • Drain and cool for 15 minutes.

Directions continued:

  • Once the chickpeas are cool, add them to a bowl and then add ½ the curry mixture, toss together and marinate for 15 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large pan.
  • Add in the remaining ½ onion, the rest of the curry mixture, the vegetables, and chickpeas.
  • Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve with rice and/or vegetables.

Approximate nutritional information for 1 serving (Based on brands and amounts used in the recipe)

  • Calories: 367g with rice / 210g without rice
  • Fat: 8.75g with rice / 8g without rice
  • Carb: 67g with rice / 34g without rice
  • Protein: 17g with rice / 12g without rice

For more plant-based recipes, check out my other posts.


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