This Courgette Curry is packed full of flavour and warming spices. Made with chickpeas for extra bite and protein and seasonal zucchini/courgettes for using up that glut! The extra time it takes to cook the rich tomato base is totally worth it, especially as it makes quite a lot, perfect for meal prepping!
This lovely curry is perfect for making in late summer or early Autumn, when you have loads of courgettes to use, but you want something a little more warming and hearty.
If you want to make a full Indian spiced meal, why not pair this recipe with some Creamy Tomato Dhal and of course some roti to mop up the juices. And if you want to go all out, then definitely make a refreshing raita and some pakora for an appetizer! Alternatively, if you're looking for another hearty curry to try out as well, this Butter Bean curry is a great wholesome option.
This courgette curry recipe does have quite a lot of spices, but that's what makes it so special. Most are pretty easy to find in a standard supermarket. I've noted where you can omit or substitute where possible. For the best flavour, try to use spices that are fresh and haven't been hanging around in the back of your cupboard forever!
- Courgette/Zucchini: Smaller ones are tastier, however if you have to use up a larger one, just cook it a litte longer.
- Fresh or Tinned Tomatoes: If you have lots of lovely rich ripe tomatoes, use those, however a tin of tomatoes will work just as well.
- Tomato Paste: Adds an extra richness to the curry.
- Tinned Chickpeas (canned chickpeas) : or equivalent pre-cooked.
- Fresh Garlic: Essential! - You can cheat and use pre-minced if you want.
- Fresh white onion: You could use red or yellow onion instead.
- Ginger: Freshly grated ginger adds a fragrant base that can't be beaten in a curry like this.
- Cinnamon stick: A single stick of whole cinnamon adds a lovely warm depth to the curry. You could use a half teaspoon of ground instead.
- Black Cardamom: This is a chunky large dark brown seed which gets popped into the curry to simmer in it. If you can't find it, you can substitute regular cardamom or just leave it out.
- Bay Leaves: Fresh or dried.
- Cumin: I like to grind my cumin seeds freshly for the best flavour. I find out of all the spices it is one to really lose it's fragrance the fastest.
- Garam Masala: try to find a good quality blend that is quite fragrant.
- Chilli powder: Use this to taste or omit if you want a less spicy heat to your curry.
See recipe card for quantities.
This is your handy step by step guide to making this rich tomato based courgette curry. The extra effort and time it takes to make is totally worth the flavours that develop!
- First you need to make the tomato masala base. After cooking the onions until soft, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, ginger and garlic.
2) Cook the tomato masala mixture for at least 15 minutes to let the flavours develop and deepen. Remove from the pan and set aside for later.
3) Into the now empty pan add oil, and toast the spices for a little. Now add the chickpeas and stir to coat in the spices.
4) Add the courgette to the chickpeas and spice mixture and turn to coat in the spices.
5) Add the tomato masala mixture back to the curry and stir.
6) Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the courgettes are softened and the curry smells fabulous. Add extra water if needed to prevent catching. Serve.
Hint: Don't worry if it looks like the curry is getting dry, add some water and keep cooking. The longer it cooks, the better the flavours meld together and taste more amazing!
🌶Substitutions and Variations
I have to confess that when I first made this recipe I totally overdid the chilli, so if you're a little more sensitive to heat, reduce the chilli. Or add more if you like it spicy!
- Chilli: Adjust to your own taste!
- Other Pulses: You could use kidney beans, butter beans or any other of your favourite legumes here.
- Aubergine: This recipe calls for courgette, but you could pre-cook aubergine/eggplant and substitute that. Or add it in additionally.
- Coconut Cream: I added coconut cream to leftovers of this curry to make it a creamier richer taste and that was also delicious. Also a great hint if you have accidentally made it too spicy hot!
You'll need a lovely heavy based saucepan or casserole dish. One day I'd like to be able to have this Le Crueset pan to use, but it the meantime I use a pan we picked up at a garage sale!
This recipe tastes even better the next day, and will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can also store it in the freezer, ready for a quick dinner for up to 3 months. You can cook it from frozen, just add some water into the pan to help it along when reheating.
For the richest flavour, cook the tomato masala base for at least 15 minutes, if not longer. Add extra water in if it starts looking dry and keep cooking until you have a lovely rich tomato base.
The level of spice in this curry is dependent on how much chilli powder and garam masala you use. Add less if you want a milder curry, add more chilli if you like it hot.
Don't worry, add a little extra water as the curry cooks. It's important to cook the curry for quite a while for the best flavour, adding water prevents it from catching and drying out.
You can use 2 or 3 regular cardamom instead. Just be sure to remove them from the curry before serving!
Courgette Curry with Chickpeas
- 1 Heavy Based Pan
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
Tomato Masala Base
- 500 g (3 ¼ cups) white onions
- 400 g (2 ⅔ cups) tomatoes (fresh, or one standard 1 standard 11oz tin/can)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 50 ml (¼ cups) vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
For the Curry
- 2 medium Courgettes (zucchini: Chopped into half moon slices.)
- 1 black cardomam pod (use regular 2 x cardamom if you can't find black cardamom)
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 bay leaves
- 250 g (8.82 oz) chickpeas, drained (1 standard 11oz tin/can drained)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder (to taste!)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala (*Or more if you want it spicer!)
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder (freshly ground if you can )
- Fresh coriander to serve
For the Tomato Masala Base
- Finely chop the onions, and add to the pan along with the oil. Cook down until softened and browned. This adds flavour so do this slowly! It will take around 10 minutes500 g white onions
- Add the tomato paste, grated ginger and finely chopped garlic and chilli powder and cook for a few minutes.1 tablespoon tomato paste, 5 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
- Add the fresh chopped or tin of tomatoes. Simmer for 10-15 minutes to let the flavours develop and come together. Season with a little salt.400 g tomatoes
- Remove the tomato masala base from the pan and set aside for later.
To cook the curry.
- Add all the spices, ginger, garlic and drained chickpeas along with a little oil to the pan. Cook for a minute so the spices release their aroma and it smells delicious. Be careful not to let it burn!1 black cardomam pod, 1 stick cinnamon, 2 bay leaves, 250 g chickpeas, drained, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, ½ teaspoon chilli powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 2 cloves garlic, chopped, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 50 ml vegetable oil
- Add in the chopped courgettes (zucchini) and turn in the spices to coat.
- Add the tomato masala base back to the pan and stir. Cook for 10-15 minutes, adding extra water if it looks dry.2 medium Courgettes
- The curry is cooked when it smells amazing and the courgettes are softened. Taste and sesaon with more sale or spices (according to your taste buds) and add fresh coriander if desired.
- *remove the large spices before serving!
- Don't worry if it looks like the curry is getting dry, add some water and keep cooking. The longer it cooks, the better the flavours meld together and taste more amazing!
- Before serving, remove the large spices!
- For the richest flavour, cook the tomato masala base for at least 15 minutes, if not longer. Add extra water in if it starts looking dry and keep cooking until you have a lovely rich tomato base.