Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kadala Kari: Kerala Black Chickpeas Curry


Kadala Curry/ Black Chickpeas Curry
This favourite accompaniment to Puttu has variations from home to home in Kerala. The most basic combination [suggested from the Thiruvananthapuram region]  was to boil the chickpeas with salt and turmeric, season with a tempering of mustard seeds, red chillies, curry leaves, perhaps a heap of sliced shallots,  and generous drizzles of coconut oil. The addition of coconut and roasted coriander seeds paste was another traditional combination.

Varutha Aracha Kari = Roasted and Ground Kari, would lightly roast all the spices and coconut, then grind it to a paste. Garlic, ginger, tomatoes and sauted onions in the gravy were variations alongwith a couple of  basic Kari-masala spices. It also extended to the whole gamut of kari masala spices in some recipes: Cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, aniseeds, cummin and black pepper.  Another version uses coconut milk, instead of the ground coconut-spice paste. An unfortunate  version exists as  a staple hostel food in Kerala. This would be a plain boiled chickpeas in brown water, hopefully salted, served with slices of store-bought bread!

The following recipe  is the version made in my maternal grandparents home and extended clan. The rich red colour of the gravy and the proper, soft texture of the chickpeas came from slow cooking in Kalchatti's [soapstone cooking vessels]  on wood burning stoves.
1 Cup black chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
1 Cup of grated coconut
2 shallots/ small red onions/ sambhar onions
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
2 dried red chillies [or more according to taste]
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of chopped ginger
[Optional: Kari masala= usually one cardamom and a small piece of Indian cinnamon]

For tempering
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 dried red chillies, broken
2-3 shallots, finely sliced
1 stem curry leaves
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil

Boil/ Pressure cook the chickpeas with salt and turmeric powder.
Heat  1 tbsp of coconut oil,
Roast the shallots, dried red chillies until glossy, about 3-4 minutes
Add the grated coconut at the last minute.
Saute for a minute.
Grind to a smooth paste adding water as required.
Add this paste to the chickpeas and  let it come upto a gentle simmer
Cook for 5-7 minutes
Heat the coconut oil to smoking hot,
Temper the mustard, red chillies, curry leaves and finely sliced shallots
Pour the tempering over the curry.
Drizzle with coconut oil, if needed


  1. Sounds delicious and what a lovely presentation.

  2. Awesome presentation.. luks delicious and very traditional...

  3. puttu n kadala curry is my all time favo.. love ur clicks.. will b visiting u often

  4. Nice recipe.. looks too good.. beautiful presentation !!

  5. black peas curry looks relly delicious ...adding cardamom defiantly give n nice flavor n taste to the curry i told u i am a big fan of ur presentation style n click .....happy to follow you now...have a nice day


  6. I am craving for this now... Used to have it during our trips to kerela. Love it. Will try it . THe clicks are gorgeous.

  7. looks very tempting...lovely presentation...

  8. Tempting and a wonderful click. Mouthwatering

  9. Hi...looks so delicious and your presentation is really great...

  10. wonderful recipes....i saw many of them today .

    this one and the nool puttu i'd like to make some day .........also the dahi baingan made your way.

  11. delicious perfect combo puttu kadala

  12. My Fav..looks so perfect and yummy!!!

  13. Our fav combo..beautiful clicks as always..


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