Kerala style Kadala curry(Black garbanzo bean curry – Kerala style)


Some of the most traditional foods of India are wholesome in nutrition and even though these foods existed before any knowledge of nutritional benefits, they were designed to aid healthy living. We have turned to new age health foods such as oats, flax etc. having forgotten the benefits of the food eaten by our ancestors. One such power breakfast is Kadala curry served in Kerala along with puttu. The puttu is made with red rice flour and the kadala curry is made with black garbanzo beans. This combination of  carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats from the coconut is a powerful whole grain breakfast that is so much superior than any energy bar or cereal that is found in the markets today. I often make this kadala curry for idly/dosa or appam and it goes equally well with them.

1 cup black chick peas/black garbanzo beans
1 tsp coconut oil
1 onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tomato, chopped
2 green chillies, slit
1 tsp chilly powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
salt, to taste


For spice paste:
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 cup grated coconut(fresh/frozen)
5 shallots/pearl onions, sliced
3 tsp coriander seeds
2 cloves
1 inch piece of cinnamon
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
4 cloves, garlic

For tempering:
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 red chillies
1 sprig curry leaves


Soak the black garbanzo beans in water for 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain the soaked water before cooking.

Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a pan. Add the cloves, cinnamon and fry for a few seconds. Add the coriander seeds and fennel seeds and toast the seeds. Add the sliced shallots and fry until golden. Add in the ginger and garlic. Toss for a few seconds. Finally, add the grated coconut. Over a medium flame, saute until the coconut turns golden brown. Set aside to cool. Grind to a smooth paste adding very little water. Set aside.

Heat another tsp of coconut oil in a pressure cooker. Add the bay leaves, followed by the sliced onion and green chillies. Let the onions fry until soft. Add the tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder. Let fry until the tomatoes become mushy. Add the drained black chickpeas, chilly powder and garam masala. Add 2 cups water and cook for 3 whistles or until the garbanzo beans are cooked but not soft/mushy. Let the pressure release and open the pressure cooker. Add the ground spice paste and water as needed and bring the curry to a boil. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

While the curry simmers, make a tadka by heating another tsp of coconut oil. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add broken red chillies and curry leaves. Add this tadka to the kadala curry and serve hot with puttu/idly or dosa.



Verdict: This curry makes a very filling meal. The spice paste ground with the grated and fried coconut adds a very unique taste that is so signature of dishes from Kerala. A very easy and flavorful dish!

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