Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Today I am sharing the best Kerala style, Kadala Curry, that uses the black chickpea and which is a great partner for the quintessential Puttu (steamed rice cake), the King of Kerala food. 

Images updated on 26th May 2017

Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry

Before I get to the recipe, I have to share something. The past few days, the weather has been very unpredictable with wind and dust storm and so we have been missing the night walks. It is going to be hard to get back to the routine if the weather continues to be this way...😒  on a brighter note, we had two guests last week; baby bird and a kitten. We found the bird right outside our main door and surprisingly it allowed us to hold it. I couldn't identify the bird.  It couldn't find the way out and kept trying to fly only to drop down flat. Poor thing was too young to fly and looked very gloomy.... F took and kept it outside the stairway window and I kept a bowl of water and some grains. Next day morning, the bird was back in front of the door and this time I felt like actually bringing it in and keeping it with us. I am not fond of pet birds but I felt it will die if we leave it out...but we just left it again on the window and later found that it was gone. I was glad but sad too. Then came the second guest of the week - a constantly meowing kitten as though it lost its way to home or something.. I love cats and I was even ready to bring it home but it never budged not even a plate of raw meat..😯

Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry

Puttu (steamed rice cake) with Kadala (chickpea) is a universal combo and staple breakfast for the whole of Kerala just like Porotta. But here in Yanbu, I make this combo once in a month because I use packaged puttu podi that I brought from India. Like many other things, this flour is not commonly available here. I still have a few packets in the fridge and freezer. 😡

Making puttu from packaged or home made flour is a battle in itself. Alhamdulillah, I have learnt my own tricks to get the puttu out neatly without least most of the time. When I do have a bad day, I just tell "you are anyways going to break it down and pour ladles of Kadala curry.. so why bother having it in shape???" 😁 and yet don't we love the sight of the cylindrical cake sandwiched with coconut.. yum!

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So let's deal with one battle at a time. Today, I am sharing my version of Kadala curry because I learnt the hard way.. and want to keep a record of it here. I have tried quite a few recipes from the internet.. and each time it just did not seem the right blend of flavour for our taste buds.. there are so so so many version of Kadala curry and am sorry I am adding to it. 😁

Even my mom's Kadala curry is never ever the same so never bothered asking her. I like it to be thick and together not too thin where the Kadala refuses to marry the curry. I have made this version of Kadala curry umpteen times and since then F is more open to having Puttu Kadala for a weekend breakfast.

Again, I don't get good fresh coconuts here. Even when there are good ones in the market, we avoid it as we don't have the means to break it and grate it. So I have found solace in desiccated coconuts for all my Indian cooking. Adding a few tablespoons of water into the desiccated coconut puffs it up and makes it resemble fresh ones...I do this, for the puttu and the curry so it doesn't brown too soon while dry roasting.

Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry

Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry


1 cup black chickpeas, washed and soaked in enough water for 8 hours or overnight
1 large onion,  chopped finely
2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped roundels
3 green chillies finely chopped or slit
1 teaspoon ginger grated
3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
3/4 cup of water
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Salt to taste

Roast and Grind:
1/3 cup of desiccated coconut soaked in 1/4 cup water for 5 to 10 mins
2 dried red chillies

To Temper:
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
a spring of curry leaves
3 to 4 shallots

  1. Wash the soaked black chickpeas and add them into a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 5 to 6 whistles or until soft. Let it cool on its own. Check the doneness and pressure cook more if required. The chickpeas should hold the shape and yet to melt in mouth soft. 
  2. Roast and Grind: Meanwhile, roast the coconut along with the red chillies until the coconut becomes light brown colour and fragrant. Do it carefully by taking the pan away from the fire when it gets too hot and stirring continuously to roast evenly to golden brown colour. Transfer the roasted mixture into a spice blender or chutney maker- let it cool. Open the pressure cooker and transfer the cooked chickpeas along with the water into a bowl and keep that aside. Take out a tablespoon of cooked chickpeas and add them to the roasted coconut and grind it to a thick paste with some water. 
  3. In the same pressure cooker, heat the oil and add onions and saute until translucent. Then add the chopped tomatoes and ginger and sautΓ© till all comes together and oil separates. Add all the spice powders and combine well. 
  4.  Add the remaining cooked black chickpeas along with enough water and pressure cook for 1 whistle. Let the pressure cool on its own. 
  5. Open and add the coconut paste to the curry and let it boil till the curry thickens to the desired consistency and then switch off.
  6. For the tadka, in another small pan,  heat coconut oil and add the items listed under 'to temper' and fry till shallots turn golden brown.
  7. Pour the tadka over the curry and mix
  8. Serve hot with warm puttu (steamed rice cake) or chapatis
Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry

This recipe makes enough curry for at least two people. I always make more puttu than curry because I like to have some puttu during evening tea time too... strange? πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š Whenever my mom makes puttu for breakfast, I ask her if there is any left over during my evening tea. It is nice with a little sugar and banana too. Have you tried?

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