Masala Vegan

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Spicy Brown Chickpeas Stir Fry

Black Chickpeas Stir fry

Spicy Brown Chickpeas Stir Fry A.K.A. Kala Chana Usli (Vegan & Gluten Free)

October 1st, 2016 marks the beginning of the official festival season in India and, the most confusing time of the year for me! For the next month or so, all the major festivals are observed starting with, the worship of the female embodiment of energy or, “Durga Puja”, all the way to the Festival of Lights, “Diwali”.

When I was younger and living at home, my mother usually did everything, followed rituals, made holiday treats and kept tabs on what needed to be done, etc., etc. An added bonus was that, these days were usually public holidays in India.

Fast forward to my current confused life, where I constantly miss one occasion or, the other because,

A) It’s a working and school day and, B) I had absolutely no idea!

To alleviate my current clueless state and perpetual state of confusion, I’ve decided not to buy any onions or garlic for the next month (as onions and garlic are not to be eaten during festivals) and make a sweet dish every alternate day! Nailed it!!

Here’s what I’m eating today…. Spicy brown chickpeas  stir fry also called Sundal or, Usli. Gluten-free, allium free, plant based, grain free and nut free.

To make this, we need
  • Black/ Brown Chickpeas, soaked overnight (~8 hours) – 1 cup
  • Coconut Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin Seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh Ginger Root, grated – 2 teaspoons
  • Green Chillies, finely sliced – 1 to 2
  • Fresh Curry Leaves, torn up roughly – 10 to 12
  • Desiccated Coconut Flakes – 2 tablespoons
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Warm Water – 3 to 3.5 cups
  • Salt, to taste
Directions –

Note: Using a pressure cooker to make chickpeas is highly recommended as it not only cooks them thoroughly but also keeps the flavour intact.

  1. Heat coconut oil in the pressure pan.
  2. Add mustard seeds and cover the pan till the seeds stop popping and sputtering.
  3. Mix in the cumin seeds and roast until aromatic.
  4. Tip in the ginger, chillies and curry leaves. Mix well.
  5. Stir in turmeric powder and desiccated coconut. Cook until golden.
  6. Add the rinsed and drained brown chickpeas and coat in the above mix.
  7. Season with salt and add 3 cups of water.
  8. Bring to a boil and place the lid. Add extra water at this stage if the chickpeas look dry.
  9. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes and take off the heat.

Garnish with grated coconut or, roasted nuts if desired. Tastes great warm or cold by itself, or accompanied with steamed rice. If you like this recipe please see my other brown chickpeas recipe here.

😊 Thank you for reading and happy cooking!



I am an enthusiastic plant based home cook and baker who delights in sharing my creations on unsuspecting non vegans, when they least expect it! When not recipe developing, testing or making, I'm found organising and/ or writing, the two other passions of my life ❤️