Thursday, February 7, 2008

Kadala Curry (Black chickpea in coconut curry)

Puttu and kadala curry - traditional Kerala breakfast at it's best. A very satisfying and nutritious combination of slightly bland puttu (rice flour and coconut, usually, filled into cylindrical moulds and steamed) and a spicy nutty gravy, I had it first at a dear friend's house and still remember the amazing taste. His mother who is one wonderfully brave woman, gave me the recipe.

I'm still a bit partial, though, to puttu with sugar and ghee which is what Mom used to make when I was growing up.....and no, haven't yet acquired a taste for plantain mashed into puttu which is another way of eating it!

I felt like having the kadala curry today for lunch, and had no intention of making the puttu which (for me) involves a lot of work. So I cooked the chickpeas but just as I started on the masala bit, we lost power.

Luckily I already had some coconut grated with cumin and green chillies in the fridge, left over from another dish. So I decided to use that and then change the recipe to accomodate the other ingredients without the usual roasting and grinding.

The onions which are usually roasted and ground went in grated. The tomatoes followed suit, though I could have just chopped it finely. The cloves and garlic went in whole at the beginning and the red chillies and coriander seeds were replaced by powders. I added ginger garlic paste instead of grinding them.

I fried all the ingredients a little more than if they would have been roasted including the coconut paste. The gravy needed some more tang I thought, so I added a spoon of tamarind extract just to give it that extra something. Perfect.

I wasn't very sure about how thw changed recipe would taste, but the thought of thinking up another dish was enough to put me off - and of course, I just HAD to have kadala curry!

Well, it did taste like kadala curry - different since the spices and coconut weren't roasted, but delicious in it's own way.

This is the recipe I usually use.

Kadala Curry (Black chickpeas in coconut curry)


Black chickpeas (kadala/kala channa) - 3/4th of a cup, soaked overnight and then pressure cooked for 20 minutes till soft.

Mustard - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - handful

Onions - 1 sliced

Masala paste:
Onion - 1 small
Tomatoes - 2 medium chopped
Ginger - 1" piece
Garlic - 2 cloves
Cumin - 1 tsp
Black peppercorn
Red chillies - 4
Dhania - 1 tbsp
Coconut - 1/2 cup grated
Clove - 2
Cinnamon - 1 " piece

1. Roast the ingredients of the masala pastes (except the onion and tomatoes) on a low heat till they change colour and are well roasted. Add the coconut last and when it turns brown, then add the onions first and lastly the tomatoes. Cool and grind to a smooth paste.

2. Heat oil in a heavy pan, add the mustard seeds and when they splutter, the curry leaves. Then fry the sliced onions till they are translucent.Put in the masala paste, fry for 1 minute, add the cooked chickpeas and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, add salt and let simmer for about 10 minutes till it becomes a thick curry.

3. Serve hot with puttu, appam or rice.

This dish is going to My Legume Love Affair - an event being hosted by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. As she so rightly points out....

"Legumes are consumed and revered in every culture that has the arable land to cultivate them on. Chock full of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, they are one of the natural wonders of the plant kingdom and a staple where meat, fish or dairy are scarce. They are also the banner diet of many a staunch vegetarian and vegan, offering myriad options in flavor, shape, color and texture, fending off the notion that alternative lifestyles need be boring."


Nina Subramani said...

hi! had some time to kill and found your blog! greatstuff!
i made kadala curry lastweek and it tasted like it does in all kerala dhabas - its very simple - got the recipe from my friends mom in cochin.
soak the kadalai and cook it with a stick of cinnamon.
roast grated coconut, a stick of cinnamon, and an elaichi till the coconut becomes a little brown. grind it into a paste.
fry chopped onions and green chillies and karuvapillai leaves till the onions brown, add the cooked kadalai, salt and haldi and then the coconut masala. when it all combines well, switch it off and enjaaaai! i like kadala curry with a nice soft pav.

Miri said...

Wow! thanks for stopping by Nina! and for the recipe, the curry leaves being ground must make it really different!

Asha said...

Just looking at it makes me feel good!:))

Susan said...

Mmmmmm... I've seen dried black chickpeas in the grocery, but I didn't know how to cook them.

Wonderful recipe, Miri. I'm very intrigued by the puttu, as well. Thank you for sharing!

Cynthia said...

Eaten with chapati, this must be very tasty.

Laavanya said...

Miri.. this is a combination i love. With some papadam to crush into this would be just great. I make it very similar to how nina has described. Your version sounds great too.

DEEPA said...

This is a good one and a healthy curry!!!

Miri said...

Thanks Asha, Susan, Cynthia and Laavanya - and yes, Im going to be trying Nina's version soon!

Lisa said...

This looks so good. I think I am going to have to get something to eat now.

Aparna said...

Just discovered your blog from your comment on mine. Thanks.
Just made this with puttu (my easy version) for Sunday breakfast.