Mouthwatering yellow curry from scratch

chickpea curry

Sri Lankan Chickpea Curry

Sri Lankan light yellow curry is so versatile. it is easy to make, does not take long and can carry wide array of vegetables or white fish. My favorite types are golden mixed vegetable curry, canned mackerel curry, creamy potato curry, green bean and carrots or chickpea curry. All made using same curry powder.

Yellow curry is mild, creamy and aromatic with coconut, cinnamon and fennel notes. I often make this curry to go with white rice, string hoppers or white bread because its among my children’s favorite. Another reason to love it is it being mild enough for a soup, when the mood calls for it. Its that good on its own.

This type of curry isn’t just for vegetable curries. It can be equally delicious in various types of fish curry recipes or light chicken curry recipe. One of my favorite version of yellow curry is Sri Lankan white fish curry. There are so many variations and ways of making it , but here is one of my favorite methods, along with seasoning base for making it.

Sri Lankan chickpea curry

Yellow curry is oftentimes served at Sri Lankan festive table. It makes a perfect base curry sauce in a meals with white rice or white string hoppers as main component. It can gather up all the flavors from other curries and bind them to a one delicious bite. In other words, yellow curry is The One Ring of Sauron’s. Yes I am making a LOTR refence of rice and curry meal. It also feels like an ideal accompaniment for the 100% whole wheat sourdough loaf because the curry is velvety smooth and mild enough to use as a soup on its own.

Instead of making the curry from yellow curry seasoning, I am going to give you another method today. That is to make your own yellow curry powder. Curry powder easier to make than the base and stores longer on the shelf.

How to make your own Sri Lankan yellow curry powder

  • 3 tablespoon of Turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds ground
  • 1/2 cup of coriander powder
  • pinch of ground cardamom and mustard
  • teaspoon of ground toasted rice flour

Mix everything up and store in air tight container in freezer.

Little bit about unroasted yellow curry powder

Unroasted curry powder can be used to make wide verity of curries from mild, medium to spicy. in coconut based curries it gives fennel and cinnamon aromas and go well with white rice , bread or pasta for a lighter meal. When used in tomato based curries it gives more of aromas of cinnamon, coriander and helps round the acidity a bit. This curry powder is wonderful to make spicy curries that you may want to use just red chili powder without any other strong aromatics like cardamom, cloves or nutmeg. One of the things I really like about this is it is really anti-inflammatory. It can be your wonderful go to light curry for flavoring any spring and summer vegetables that makes your house smell wonderful after making it.

chickpea curry

Sri Lankan Chickpea Curry

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Sri Lankan
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 cups pre boiled chickpeas or two cans of chickpeas approximately
  • 2 tbsp yellow curry powder
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp dried mango powder
  • 1 tsp Dried tuna jerky / Maldive fish skip for plant based curry but highly recommended
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 inch Pandan leaves
  • 5 curry leaves
  • ½ tsp Sri Lankan black curry powder
  • 2 inch stick of cinnamon
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 can coconut milk or 1 cup fresh coconut milk
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • cup of water
  • 1 tsp Salt


  • Soak chickpeas overnight and boil for one hour or until tender. Alternatively drain and rinse two cans of chickpeas and use that in the curry.
  • Add everything except coconut milk in a stew pot. Mix the seasoning with chickpeas to coat
  • Add water and bring to rolling boil
  • Turn the heat to medium low ,cover and let the water cook down and flavors to be absorb to chickpeas
  • taste and adjust the salt and add coconut milk
  • slowly incorporate and heat to a gentle simmer. Do not let coconut milk separate in to oil , keep turning to prevent boiling.
  • Cook until sauce becomes thick. turn the heat off and finish by sprinkling black curry powder on top.


Pandan leaves are hard to come by where I live, if that is the case with you you can skip adding pandan leaves altogether or add little bit of lemongrass instead.
Pandan leaves add a beautiful aroma to the yellow curry. Aroma the lemongrass gives will grant a curry similar to east Asian or Thai curry but still is going to be very flavorful.  
Keyword chickpea curry, yellow curry

Other Curry Recipes using same curry base


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