Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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 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. :-P

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???" :-D and yet don't we love the sight of the cylindrical cake sandwiched with coconut.. yum!

Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry

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 at least three times now 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.

I wish I had taken a picture with the puttu..

Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry


1 cup black chickpeas
1 large onion chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes chopped
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
2 tablespoons water
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. Soak the black chickpeas overnight or if you have less time, soak in very hot water for a couple of hours. 
  2. 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.  (I used 2-litre pressure cooker) Let it cool on its own 
  3. Roast and Grind: Meanwhile, add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of water in a bowl and mix the desiccated coconut until it gets puffed up. Then roast it 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. Transfer the roasted mixture into a spice blender or chutney maker- let it cool.
  4. Back to making the curry: Open the pressure cooker and transfer the content along with the water into a bowl and keep that aside 
  5. In the same pressure cooker, heat the oil and add onions, tomatoes, and ginger and sauté till all comes together 
  6. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder and sauté till the raw smell of spice powders is gone, 
  7. Add the required salt and the cooked black chickpeas (update: Keep aside a tablespoon of cooked chickpeas) along with enough water and pressure cook for 1 whistle. You might not need all of the water.
  8. Back to the blender: Add a little leftover water from the cooked chickpea or just water into the blender along with the reserved cooked chickpea and grind to a smooth paste.
  9. Add the paste to the curry and let it boil till the curry thickens to the desired consistency and Switch off.
  10. For the tadka or temper: Heat coconut oil in a pan and add the items listed under 'to temper' and fry till shallots turn golden brown.
  11. Add the tadka to the gravy and mix
  12. Serve hot with warm puttu
Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry

This recipe makes enough curry for at least 2 people. I always make more puttu than curry because I like to have it during evening tea time too... strange? :-P 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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