Kerala Kadala Curry / Chickpeas in a coconut flavored curry

Kerala Kadala Curry or Kadala Masala Curry ~ Chickpeas cooked with coconut-tomato-onion and spices. The perfect accompaniment for breakfast specials like Puttu / Idiyappam / Appam / Dosa.

Kadala masala curry

D’s parents are from Palakkad, and needless to say that’s my source for Kerala food and recipes. Kadala curry or Kadala masala curry as it is otherwise called, is a very popular and frequently dished out curry in most malayali households. The Palakkad method involves grinding the onion, tomato and spices to a paste after sauteing, giving it a thicker consistency. I seem to like it this way more than the other version where there is no grinding but just sauteing of the ingredients with the dry spices. My mil makes this masala curry recipe with chickpeas/ green peas/ potatoes or any combination of these. Oh and I must say this about kadala curry – it is a must-have when there’s Puttu for breakfast!

Such an easy to make curry – you have to try very hard to get it to go wrong. If that does not motivate you enough to try this, then wait until you see pictures of Puttu Kadala from a Sunday breakfast.  Just saying 🙂

Source: Mother-in-law

Cooking Time: 30 minutes


Set 1 – For the curry:

  1. Black chickpeas – 1.5 cups (pre-soak for 4-6 hours or preferably overnight)
  2. Onion – 1 large, chopped
  3. Tomatoes – 2 medium, chopped
  4. Red chilies – 4 or to taste
  5. Coriander seeds – 1/4 cup
  6. Coconut – 1/2 cup (grated/shredded/chopped into small bits)
  7. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  8. Salt to taste

Set 2 – For the tadka / tempering:

  1. Oil – 1 tbsp
  2. Curry leaves – few
  3. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp


Note: While the chickpeas are boiling, you can get started with the masala curry preparation.

  1. Drain the water from the soaked chickpeas.
  2. Boil chickpeas in some water along with a little salt and turmeric powder, until it is cooked well – can be mashed by pressing hard between fingers but not broken or mushy to look at. Drain the water and keep aside.
  3. Heat some oil in a pan, add the onions, some salt and red chilies and cook until the onions start browning.
  4. Add the coriander seeds and cook for a couple of minutes until it starts browning and there’s aroma from the seeds.
  5. Add tomatoes and cook until it is cooked to a soft consistency and oil is oozing from the mixture.
  6. Add the coconut and saute for a couple of minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and let it cool down a little bit.
  8. Grind the mixture in a blender/ food processor (90% fine with some texture is good).
  9. Mix together the boiled chickpeas and the ground masala, adding extra water as needed to bring to desired consistency.
  10. Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes on simmer so everything comes together nicely.
  11. Turn off the heat.
  12. Tadka: In another small pan, add some oil, and then add mustard leaves and allow to crackle. Add curry leaves and turn off the heat.
  13. Add the tadka to the kadala curry and serve.


  1. You could make a small variation by doing the tadka first and then adding the chick peas and ground masala curry to the tadka pan and cooking together.
  2. You can substitute chilies and coriander seeds with 3/4 tbsp chilli (or to taste) and 1.5 tbsp coriander powder.
  3. I’ve read that both the soaking process and boiling process leech out the gas producing indigestible sugars (oligosaccharides) in these beans into the water. Discarding the water used for soaking and cooking the beans will help eliminate those carbohydrates to a large extent.

Boiled chickpeas for kadala curry

One Response to “Kerala Kadala Curry / Chickpeas in a coconut flavored curry”
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