Jamaican curries just hit different! This Jamaican chickpea curry uses a classic Jamaican curry powder to create an authentic flavour but it’s easy, simple and quick. Creamy coconut milk, a deep, rich flavour and perfectly soft chickpeas will have you going back for seconds! Great served with roti.
🌟 Why this recipe works
- Easy – curry recipes don’t get much simpler than this Jamaican chickpea curry. With only 14 ingredients and some simple frying and simmering, we’re sure you’ll enjoy making this recipe.
- One-pot – you only need one pot to prepare this recipe, which in our books is always a win!
- Authentic flavours – with Jamaican curry powder, allspice and fresh thyme, we’re sure you’ll feel like you’re eating a dish straight out of your favourite Caribbean restaurant’s kitchen!
- Curry aficionados – we eat an unbelievable amount of curries, from all over the world. You might say we’re curry addicts! We know how to cook a great curry, whether it’s an Indian madras, a Thai Green or this Jamaican chickpea curry.
- Size of sweet potato – chopping the sweet potatoes into roughly the same size as the chickpeas means that they will cook at the same pace. We recommend this specifically so that both are cooked to perfection.
📋 Ingredient Notes
- Jamaican curry powder – it’s important to use the right curry powder when making this Jamaican chickpea and spinach curry. Jamaican curry powder has a very different spice mix compared to Indian curry powder. That’s because it tends to contain more turmeric and often has allspice in it too. All that being said, we have tried making this dish with a madras powder for experiment's sake and it tasted good too – just don’t expect it to taste like an authentic Jamaican chickpea curry.
- Allspice – also known as pimento. This is a key flavour in a lot of Jamaican cooking, so if the curry powder you have doesn’t contain it (or not much of it), it’s important to add. We use ground allspice for this recipe, but whole allspice or pimento berries are often used.
- Fresh thyme – thyme is another ingredient that’s used a lot in Jamaican cuisine, with over 100 varieties being grown on the island! For this recipe, we use fresh thyme – just the bog-standard stuff from the supermarket. We preferred the outcome when using fresh thyme, but if you want to use dried thyme try using 1 teaspoon.
- Tinned chickpeas – tinned chickpeas allow this recipe to come together quicker and with less preparation time. If you want to use dried chickpeas, just make sure to soak them overnight before cooking, and use half the amount (measured when dry).
Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this article for exact measurements to make this Jamaican chickpea curry with spinach.
🔪 Step-by-step Instructions
This is a step-by-step overview with photos showing how to make Jamaican chickpea curry with spinach. The full recipe, along with measurements and detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.
1. In a large pan or wok, add a splash of oil and bring to medium-high heat. Fry the onion for 3-4 minutes until softened.
2. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for another minute.
3. Chuck in the spices and spring onion and fry for another minute until fragrant.
4. Stir in the puree.
5. Add in the sweet potato.
6. Pour in the coconut milk and water, then drop in the thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer.
7. Pop in the chickpeas and continue to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8. Remove the thyme sprigs (the leaves should have mostly come away from the sprig) and season well with salt and black pepper. Add the spinach and stir until wilted and mixed into the curry, then serve with rice, rice and peas or quinoa.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
- Use the right curry powder – using Jamaican curry powder is important for achieving an authentic flavour. The blend of spices is very different to curry powders from other regions, such as India. You’ll be able to find Jamaican curry powder either in the ethnic food aisle at the supermarket or online.
- The right type of chilli – we recommend using a scotch bonnet chilli when making Jamaican chickpea curry. Scotch bonnets do contain quite a bit of heat, but they also offer a sweet, fruity flavour that other chillies do not. However, if you’re struggling to find them or you just happen to already have chillies in the fridge, standard red or green chillies will do a good job too.
- Chop the sweet potato small – chopping the sweet potato into small pieces ensures that it cooks thoroughly during the 20 minute simmer time. We also think that it mixes into the curry and sits between the chickpeas more evenly so each mouthful is perfectly balanced.
- Lots of simmering – for us, chickpeas are at their best when they’ve been simmered for a decent amount of time. After the 20 minutes of simmering required in this recipe they’re intact but beautifully soft.
- Use fresh thyme if possible – fresh thyme offers a better flavour so we’d recommend using it for this recipe. If you’re in a pinch, dried thyme will be fine, just use 1 teaspoon and add it earlier in the recipe along with the dried spices.
- Storage – this chickpea and spinach curry keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If freezing, defrost before reheating and in both cases ensure the food is piping hot before serving.
Yes, it will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating.
You can, although don’t expect it to taste like a traditional Jamaican chickpea curry! We’ve tested this recipe with an Indian madras curry powder to experiment and, while it was very tasty still, it tasted more like an Indian curry.
The spices that are often used in Jamaican curry powder include turmeric, allspice, coriander, cumin, fenugreek and black pepper. They tend to be heavier on the turmeric than a lot of curry powders from other countries.
If you’re looking to spice things up, add more fresh chilli, or even top up the heat with some chilli powder during the cooking process. You could make this into a completely mild curry by omitting the fresh chilli altogether.
🍛 What to serve with it:
More recipes to try
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Jamaican Chickpea Curry
- 1 onion – chopped
- 4 cloves garlic – finely chopped or grated
- 1 tsp ginger – finely chopped or grated
- 1 scotch bonnet – finely chopped, alternatively use 1 red chilli
- 4 tbsp Jamaican curry powder
- 0.5 tsp ground allspice (if curry powder doesn't contain it)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 spring onions – finely sliced
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 sweet potato (~ 400g) – peeled & chopped into ~6-7mm pieces
- 400 ml coconut milk
- 0.5 cup water
- 4 sprigs Fresh thyme
- 2 tins chickpeas – 500g drained weight
- 80 g baby spinach
- In a large pan or wok, add a splash of oil and bring to medium-high heat. Fry the onion for 3-4 minutes until softened.1 onion
- Add the garlic, ginger and scotch bonnet (or red chilli) and fry for another minute.4 cloves garlic, 1 tsp ginger, 1 scotch bonnet
- Chuck in the spices and spring onion and fry for another minute until fragrant.4 tbsp Jamaican curry powder, 0.5 tsp ground allspice, 2 tsp paprika, 2 spring onions
- Stir in the puree, followed by the sweet potato.3 tbsp tomato puree, 1 sweet potato
- Pour in the coconut milk and water, then drop in the thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer.400 ml coconut milk, 4 sprigs Fresh thyme, 0.5 cup water
- Pop in the chickpeas and continue to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.2 tins chickpeas
- Remove the thyme sprigs (the leaves should have mostly come away from the sprig) and season well with salt and black pepper.
- Add the spinach and stir until wilted and mixed into the curry, then serve with rice, rice and peas or quinoa.80 g baby spinach
- Jamaican curry powder is a must to achieve the right flavour. You can use an Indian curry powder, but you’ll get a different tasting curry.
- Spice it up by adding more fresh chilli, or completely omit the chilli for a mild curry. Or remove the seeds and membrane for less heat.
- Keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- If using dried thyme, use 1 teaspoon.
- If you don't have a scotch bonnet chilli, a red chilli works well too.