Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry in Roasted Coconut Sauce

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

Updated newer images on 4th July 2019 from Abu Dhabi. Puttu is the pictures were made from Eastern puttu podi.

Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry in Roasted Coconut Sauce

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 storms 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; a 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. The 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 in Roasted Coconut Sauce

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 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 homemade 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!

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 versions 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 boldly state this as Better than Mom's Kadala Curry! 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 them as we don't have the means to break them and grate them. 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 in Roasted Coconut Sauce

How to make Kadala Curry? 

A brief recipe...

  1. First, you will pressure cook the soaked chickpeas with salt - this helps the legume hold its shape -keep aside
  2. Roast the coconut and dry red chilli and make a paste of it with some cooked chickpeas and water
  3. Use a deep pot or the same deep pressure cooker and cook the onion tomato masala with all the spice powders and Malabar garam masala 
  4. Dump the rest of the cooked chickpeas along with their water and bring to boil 
  5. Add the coconut paste and more water and bring to boil 
  6. Make tadka with coconut oil and add to the simmering curry
  7. Switch off and close

Easy? Yes!
Tasty? You will thank me!

Now for the detailed recipe...

Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry


Pressure cook:
  • 1 cup black chickpeas, soaked 8 hours or overnight
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt to taste
Onion Tomato Masala: 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion,  diced finely
  • 3 green chillies, slit
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger (you may use 1 tsp ginger garlic paste too)
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped chunks
  • Water to adjust the consistency approx 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water
  • Salt to taste
Roast and Grind:
  • 1/3 cup of desiccated coconut soaked in 1/4 cup water for 5 to 10 mins OR 1/2 cup packed freshly grated coconut
  • 2 to 3 dried red chillies, torn
  • 2 tablespoons of cooked black chickpea
  • approx 1/4 cup water
To Temper:
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • 3 to 4 shallots (optional)


  1. Pressure cook or boil the soaked black chickpeas 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 be melted in the mouth soft.
  2. 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. 
  3. Transfer the roasted mixture into a spice blender or chutney maker- let it cool. 
  4. Open the pressure cooker and take out a tablespoon of cooked chickpeas and add them to the roasted coconut and grind it to a thick paste with some water. 
Prepare the kadala curry:
  1. Heat some more coconut oil in a deep pot and add onions and saute until translucent
  2. Add the grated ginger (or ginger-garlic paste) and sauté for a couple of minutes 
  3. Add all the spice powders and fry for a couple of minutes until the raw smell is gone
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until mushy
  5. Reduce the flame to low and cover the pot to cook down the tomatoes until no trace of chunks
  6. Dump all of the cooked black chickpeas along with the water and bring this to boil
  7. Add the coconut paste, wash down the jar with some water and add that too and bring to boil on low to medium flame and let it simmer while you prepare the tadka
Tempering or tadka:
  1. Heat coconut oil in a small pan and add the items listed under 'to temper' and fry till shallots turn golden brown.
  2. Pour the tadka over the curry and mix
  3. Serve hot with warm puttu (steamed rice cake) or chapatis
Kerala Style Kadala Curry | Black Chickpeas Curry in Roasted Coconut Sauce

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? 😉😊 Whenever my mom makes puttu for breakfast, I ask her if there is any leftover during my evening tea. It is nice with a little sugar and banana too. Have you tried?


I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then do share the recipe link on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchaai so that I can see your creations!