Banana, chickpea and tea curry (trust me on this one, it’s amazing.)


This is my take on a banana curry I had in the Isle of Wight after the literary festival. It’s not a traditional Kashmir curry, as I used what I had in the cupboard, but it is utterly delicious. The tea is the twist, but trust me, it works, lending a slightly smoky, sweet flavour. I love tea, I must use it in more recipes…

(I’ll cost this up tomorrow – I’m knackered!)

Ingredients (serves 4, if served with rice):

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 red or green chilli, finely chopped, or generous pinch of dried
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
400g canned chickpeas
200g canned mandarins (peaches or apricots would work too)
300ml strong tea
2 bananas
200ml natural yoghurt
Handful of coriander, or mint, or parsley, chopped

First, add the onion, chilli and garlic to a sauté pan or frying pan. Drizzle the oil over, add the cinnamon and cumin, and sauté gently on a medium heat to soften the onions for 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the kettle and brew the cuppa! (And make one for yourself while you’re there!)

When the onions are softened, drain and thoroughly rinse the chickpeas, and tip into the pan. Slice the bananas and add to the pan. Pour the mandarins over, add the tea (without the teabag) and most of the herbs, and turn the heat up high. Boil vigorously for a few minutes, then reduce to a medium simmer. Simmer for around 20 minutes, until the chickpeas have slightly thickened the sauce. ***To save energy, you can turn the heat off completely here, cover the dish with foil or a lid, and leave it to cool. The retained heat will continue to cook it gently, amalgamating the flavours beautifully.***

Stir the natural yoghurt through before serving, and top with the remaining herbs.

I had mine with rice and a basic pitta bread, with extra natural yoghurt on top.

And I loved the dimension the tea gave this so much, I’m going to try it in other curries in place of the stock. At 27p for 80 Teabags, versus 20p for 10 stock cubes, it’s a saving!

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook:


  1. Ooh, I was just reminiscing about a mess of curried rice I used to cook up when I was a starving teenager and could eat anything that wasn’t nailed down – bacon, bananas and bog standard curry powder. I recall it was delicious but I could be wrong. As for tea, my mum always used it in a stew in place of wine – cheap and yummy – it’s the tannins, apparently.

  2. Really? OK, I’m going to try it this week, even though I find it hard to believe, if only to spite Richard Littlejohn (which is a good enough reason but I think it would also good for me to try something new and challenge my assumptions (I’m a terrible snob about not using tinned things)(except beans of course)(and tomatoes)).

    • Well, I made it and it tasted lovely, although I got a bit too much liquid in it, think I’ll add just half a mug of tea next time. It tasted very bannanarey with some tang which I think came from the tea. I didn’t really notice the mandarins, they like the bannana had broken down into the sauce. My chick peas were resolutely solid. I wonder if something extra to add bulk would work to soak up some liquid, maybe courgette or aubergine, or possibly potato.

  3. Oh Jack – this sounds (and looks) totally yummm! I am drooling on my iPad. I have everything in so will make this tomorrow (today already done). We do love a curry chez Phryne!


  4. Do you put the juice from the manderins in too, or just the segments? Sounds awesome, so definitely going to try.

  5. how intriguing, I’m not sure what I think about this one 🙂 Having said that, I love sweet things in savoury dishes, AND I have loads of Approved Foods mandarins, so I’m going to HAVE to have a go at it. I can only use decaff t-bags as I can’t have caffeine, but that prob won’t matter
    On the subject of possibly odd combinations, one of the salads that I really like is banana, raw cauliflower sprigs and date with a little mayonnaise. Usually have it in a jkt spud, sometimes with another salad of grated carrot and salted peanuts or cashews

  6. Hi
    Would this work without the yoghurt to make it ‘vegan friendly’? Would love to try this.
    Any thoughts, please, everyone?

    • Hi there, I’d probably not totally leave out the dairy-ish element if trying to reproduce a creamy curry. How about subbing coconut cream or milk? Another fave dairy sub of mine is Oatly oat cream, really clean smooth creamy taste without too many additives – you can get 250ml cartons from Waitrose for 75p (quite a bit cheaper than most health food shops)

      • If anyone wants the taste of coconut milk but for less money for about £1 (cost of one tin) you can buy a pack of dessicated coconut – I take 2-3 tablespoons of this, pour kettle hot water over it and leave it to cool. You’re supposed to strain it afterwards but I normally chuck the whole lot in.

    • the other response is brilliant, but this was also delicious without the yogurt altho hotter obviously

    • I’m going to try it with soya yogurt tonight. It usually works when I’m making vegan friendly subs.

    • If you can’t have soya yoghurt, or coconut cream is too expensive or fatty, you could add some other non-dairy-milk of choice and maybe stir a spoonful of cornstarch in to the milk before adding, to replicate the thickness of the yoghurt.

  7. The stress of the past few months has clearly got to you judging by the title – but not one to knock it until i have tried it, I will indeed give it a go as I love your other receipes

  8. Eskimomel, you know you can get soya yoghurt? My son can’t have dairy, so we use that in recipes.

  9. this is todays dinner! its utterly delicious and i say that as a curry officionado. its dinner tonight and lunch for two tomorrow. sooooo good, in case anyone had any doubts. and extremely diet friendly

  10. 1 can of chickpeas in the cupboard, walk to the co-op (other supermarkets can be substituted) bananasx6 55p yellow sticker, I have this curry cooking now smells gorgeous. Really grateful for yet another great recipe and a change from hummus. I will slice the remaining bananas into a freezer bag for next time, and some quick cheap smoothies.

  11. Just made this for my tea, absolutely delicious, wasn’t expecting it to be as good, but should know from all your other recipes! The only thing I changed was that I used a fresh mango because they were on offer.

  12. Just had it for dinner and LOVED it!! Everyone wanted second and third helpings! Next time, will cook twice as much and freeze some. What a WINNER! Thanks so much, Jack!

  13. Tea is an interesting touch – I use it to soak fruit for cakes sometimes and it’ always makes it tasty. I also make homemade cider (easiest homebrew going – cartons of apple juice + tea + champagne yeast + vanilla extract + patience).
    The tannin in the tea mimics the tannin from fruit skins – which is what gives you that nice satisfying flavour you get from a good cuppa. Much healthier as a stock cube replacement too – lots of antioxidants and no salt! If you get posh and get some Lapsang Souchong you would get a really smokey flavour, and earl grey will impart citrus notes. This is opening up some exciting ideas for me…..

  14. Last week I was pondering my second day bean & chickpea curry (it was looking a little limp), and with a wisp of inspiration from time spent in Liberia West Africa, I added a couple of bananas… this really brightened up the meal and gave a lovely twist. So I can strongly support your recipe.
    Jack, love your work; keep it coming…

  15. This sounds completely bizarre. Have printed off the recipe for my scapbook, so I may well try it. Would probably serve it with a dry potato curry on the side.

    Is it just me, or are Jack’s recipes getting more interesting?

    • I’m definitely getting a little more ‘experimental’ 😉 But then one of my early recipes was a peach curry, and that got a few eyebrows too, but it’s still one of my most popular! Gently nudging boundaries and reassuring myself with the odd macaroni or lasagne 😉

  16. Trying this tonight – it sounds delicious. Glad to see some others have got there before me and confirmed this. Quite excited for dinner tonight!!

    On a side note, I am on Weight Watchers and worked this out for points. If you make to the quantities stated and get 4 portions out of it, it is 4 points for the curry – so it wins here as well!

  17. Kohlrabi?
    – Grate 1/2 and add to a tomato sauce, grate the second 1/2 and add to mash (both indetectable for children, if you want them to get all the goodness)
    – or cut into matchsticks and glaze as you would carrots (, don’t forget to sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving. Mixing with glazed carrots also works)
    – or serve raw with a mayonnaise dip,
    – dice and add to minestrone,
    – stuff with mince ( or rice or a combination of both (stale bread works well in the mixture, too)
    – shave with a potato peeler and add to a summery glass noodle salad (, lime/lemon, chilli, onions, garlic, fish sauce/anchovy are essential and I’d add a generous pinch of sugar plus shaved carrot. You can lose all the other ingredients …)

    have fun

  18. I find that banana is an amazing ingredient in curry. Always seems to improve it, and I LOVE chickpeas so will definitely be giving this a go Jack, thank you : ) x

  19. I’m itching like mad to make this as I’m utterly intrigued by it!!!! I take it the mandarins are drained?

  20. I made this last night and wow. This is sooo tasty and took minimal time to make. Eating the left overs for lunch at my desk just as I write this! 🙂

  21. Wow, so good! I didn’t have any tinned mandarins so I left them out and threw in some green peas, and it was great.

  22. I haven’t made this recipe owing to not having al the ingredients available – BUT it did inspire me to shove a banana into a “leftovers” dinner I was making this evening and it worked beautifully! Thanks Jack 🙂

  23. I was surprised at just how good this was, as I am not keen on fast use of canned chickpeas as they are slow to take up the flavour, and I had no cinnamon, which using peaches and banana I really would have liked, so it was great to find this was so good, and after 24 hours in the fridge, it was superb. Thanks!

  24. made this for tea last night, and it was yummy – and now I have 3 pots stashed in the freezer for an easy tea over the next few weeks – love these recipes – thank you x

  25. I’ve got a couple of chicken legs needing used up, do you think this would work in curry or be too much amongst all the bananas/chickpeas?

  26. Took the advice on here and used 200 ml tea. Guy at work asked what the great smell was. He was surprised with the reply!

  27. We are big meat eaters in our house so, was a bit apprehensive about trying something so different. I added a tin of cannellini beans, a beef stock cube and chicken stock pot – as the carnivores would have howled at me otherwise – and I was delighted with the results!! So easy, tasty and cheap too.
    I will be studying your blog very closely for more recipes!!
    Thanks for sharing xxx

  28. Just made this (at last!) Had run out of cinnamon so used mixed spice and it is truly delicious – as usual. Will definitely cook again, thanks Jack.

  29. Just made this for me and my fruity curry loving boyfriend. It was very watery so I’d definitely do it again with less liquid and also add more spices. Drained the mandarins and used 300ml of tea so will try less next time! Still enjoyed it though! This is the first of many recipes of yours that I’ve tried. Picked a few out for this week and our big shop cost a lot less!

  30. Hi Jack, I just made it and it’s brilliant, even with swapping chickpeas with red lentils and mandarins for apricots as that’s all I had on hand. I must admit I was really skeptical even while it was cooking as it looked pretty insipid on the stove, but it tastes lovely. Creamy, sweet but with depth from the tea and the spices and chilli keeping it savoury. Have a load of your other recipes bookmarked to try!

  31. I made this for our dinner this evening. It tasted absolutely AMAZING. I tried it before I put the yoghurt in, and to be honest, for a dairy free experience it works just as well. So nommy and filling, that’s definitely one I’m doing again.

  32. I had this book marked from the day you posted it and Just made it for dinner, it was amazing thank you would never have come up with this combo in a million years. Had it with homemade naan. Am sure the kids will love the leftovers tomorrow. Have a good day all. Thanks !

  33. Mmm I finally got round to trying this; I didn’t have enough chickpeas or bananas so added mushrooms and peas as well and it’ll probably only do two portions. It’s good, and I bet the leftovers tomorrow will be even better

  34. This is the first recipe that I’ve made off this blog. It’s great! I served it up and just told my husband that it was veggie curry. I waited until he’d scoffed half of it, before checking whether he liked it (yes!) and then I told him what was in it.

    I also served this to my baby (10 months) and I think the sweetness and mildness of the yoghurt appealed to her too.

    I didn’t add the juice from the canned apricots, but did use the full 300ml of tea. There was plenty of liquid in the dish, so I don’t think the juice was needed.

    I did have to cook it for quite a lot longer than was suggested. My chickpeas never really mushed down. Possibly I could have taken a bit of the curry out and blended it, then returned the puree to the dish to thicken it a bit.

    I chopped a few mint leaves into the left over yoghurt and served it as a raita style dip on the side. I also cooked Lou’s Onion Bhajis ( and had them as a side to make this a special Friday evening meal.

  35. We found this much too sweet. I used peach slices since that was what I had, and didn’t use any of the syrup. There were no savoury or umami tastes. In an effort to get a more savoury flavour I stirred in some frozen spinach at the end, but it was still too sweet. It wasn’t inedible, but I won’t make it again. The tea (even though I brewed it strong) was insufficient to balance the sweetness.

    I made homemade naan bread to go with it and that I certainly will make again.

  36. Curry Pudding. Not revolting. We both ate it all. But not repeatable, as is. Felt I need a savoury dish after to correct the balance. Sadly out of cheese.

  37. tastes just like baked banana – one of my favourite puddings, so I absolutely loved it. Made it with peaches too as that’s what I had to use up. Really enjoyed this, though it definietly wouldn’t serve 4. Nor did my sauce look quite like in the photo, but I didn’t mind it being a little runny as it was soaked up by the rice. Like nothing I’ve ever cooked before, so I enjoyed it. Though I would possibly boil the chickpeas first next time and not add the bananas until mid way through the simmering step, so as to stop them from disintegrating so much. Try not to stir more than needed either as this will cause the fruits to mush up. Other than that, thanks Jack!

  38. Just made this and it was amazing. The Chickpeas didn’t thicken the sauce as well as they should so I added some cornflour. I enjoyed mine with some ready made roast potatoes that were on offer at only 4 pence!

    I’m making a Girl Called Jack Recipe every night for the next seven days. Aubergine Burgers tomorrow. Score.

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