Sunday, 5 February 2012

Kerala Calling - Kadala Curry aka Chickpea curry

Howdy folks! So how is the New Year coming along? For me, it has been an interesting start to the year and I must say time definitely flies really fast! It’s February already and Bangalore is getting less cold but yet very pleasant.

I love my legumes especially chickpeas. Only Indians have such a large repertoire of incredible tasting legume dishes. The variety seems never ending. One of my all time favourites is a simple and comforting dish of chickpeas cooked Southern style, more specifically Kerala style.

Breakfast is a very integral part of Kerala cooking. You will always see the table laden with goodies both savoury and sweet during breakfast. So I’m back today with a famous breakfast dish I grew up with on the coastal shores of Kerala. Chickpea (usually black chickpea) in a deliciously smooth onion and coriander gravy along with steamed rice cakes or puttu (click here to get recipe for puttu) is one of the most popular breakfast combinations inside and outside the homes of all Keralites. (the sides that go well with puttu are many, chickpea being one of the most popular and common) Generally, black chickpea is more common in Kerala as opposed to the white chickpea in North India. But I personally am a bigger fan of white chickpea and hence decided to use it in today’s recipe. The traditional recipe for this curry uses roasted coconut or coconut milk. But I have avoided coconut and kept it simple and healthy.

I learnt this dish from amma, (my hubby’s mum) queen of simple and quick recipes! Thanks amma for this lovely recipe. I dedicate this post to you.

If you ever happen to visit a Kerala home especially during breakfast time, you are most likely to be treated to a bowl of this simple and flavourful curry with steamed rice cakes. In little hotels/restaurants where these sell like hotcakes, you get them served in little bowls made of banana leaves. Oh! and the flavour that comes out, heavenly!! :)

This popular dish from Kerala is sure to fit your bill perfectly when you desperately need a hearty and wholesome breakfast. I also love this dish because it goes extremely well with garam naram rotis :) Fancy it is not – but it is darned good and a perfect dish if you are still acquainting yourself with Kerala cuisine. Enjoy!


Chickpeas (kabuli chana) – 1 cup
Big Onion (finely chopped) – 2 (medium)
Tomato (finely chopped) – 1 (medium)
Garlic (ground to paste or finely chopped) – 5 to 6 cloves
Ginger (ground to paste or finely chopped) – 1 small piece
Green chilli (slit lengthwise) – 1 or 2 (adjust as per spice tolerance)
Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 2 ½ to 3 tsp (heaped)
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp (you can avoid this if you find it too spicy)
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Water – 2 cups

For the Tempering

Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 2 to 3 sprigs (enhances flavour of the dish)
Oil (preferably coconut oil) {refer notes}


Soak chickpeas overnight or for atleast 8 hours. (refer notes) Drain and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker and splutter fennel seeds. When fennel seeds start to pop, add green chillies and finely chopped onions and sauté till onions turns golden brown. When onions have browned, add ginger & garlic paste into it and sauté till raw smell disappears.  (if you are adding finely chopped ginger and garlic, add it along with green chillies and onions) Into this, add the spice powders and stir till raw smell disappears and the masala is cooked through. Now, throw in the chopped tomatoes and sauté till it becomes soft and oil separates. Add the drained chickpeas and sauté for 1 minute on medium heat till masala coats the chickpeas. Pour water and cover and cook till done. Switch off flame and open when pressure releases. Make sure the gravy is thick and the chickpeas is well coated with the masala/gravy. (if there is excess gravy/liquid, reduce it to get the right consistency)

To prepare the tempering

Heat oil in a kadai (wok) and splutter mustard seeds. Throw in the curry leaves and fry for a few seconds. (make sure the leaves don’t burn and turn black) Add this seasoning to the chickpea gravy and close for 15 minutes. Serve hot with puttu or chapathi.


1. Coconut oil definitely lifts up the flavour of the dish. But you can always use any other oil to make it healthier. I didn’t use coconut oil when I prepared the dish, but it tasted just fine.

2. In case you forget to soak the chickpeas earlier, soak it in hot water to speed up the soaking process. But remember you will still need 4 to 5 hours for this process.

Source: Amma

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...