Recipes – Black-Chickpeas with coconut milk

Recipes – KADALA CURRY WITH COCONUT MILK (black-chickpeas in coconut milk)

In my previous post, I have mentioned the importance of adding legumes in our diet. Kadala in malayalam (language spoken in Kerala – Southern India) means whole bengal gram (kala chana in hindi) or black chickpeas. There are many ways to prepare black chick peas which is the core ingredient to this dish. It can be made in a dry or gravy form. A kadala curry can be made with roasted coconut along with other spices or only coconut milk or combination of both.  Fried slivers of coconut added to kadala curry enhances the taste.

Kadala curry is hugely enjoyed traditionally with puttu (cylindrical steamed rice cake cooked with coconut shavings) for breakfast / brunch. This curry can also be eaten with appam (rice pancake – soft and thick in the centre and lacy outside), dosas (fermented crepes made from rice and black lentil batter), idiyappam (string hoppers made from rice flour), pathiris (thick/thin rice roti) and red/brown/white rice.

I have prepared this dish with canned coconut milk (Natco brand) for the first time – glad it did not disappoint me 🙂   You can go ahead and make fresh coconut milk from scratch. It is the coconut milk that lifts up the flavour to this dish.

Spicy and delicious, black-chickpeas curry made with distinct flavour of the coconut milk, combination of spices and flavoured with curry leaves.

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prep time : 20 mins, cooking time : 15 mins, cuisine : kerala, serves : 4, author : gloria


250gms black chickpeas/whole bengal gram

1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1 big onion sliced/chopped

3 big garlic sliced/chopped

1″ ginger sliced/chopped

3 green chillies chopped

2 tomatoes cubed

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 1/2 tsp mild chilly powder

1 tbsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp brown/black mustard seeds

1 whole red chilly

few curry leaves

1 cup/tin coconut milk

salt to taste

oil (preferably coconut oil)


Soak black chickpeas for 8 hours or preferably overnight. Pressure cook the soaked chickpeas with sufficient water (i.e., the level of water should be just above the chickpeas level) – do not add too much water for 12 minutes. If you are doing it in a vessel, boil in water and cook till it is soft and tender; this method takes longer time around 40 minutes or so. Once it is cooked (it will be soft when pressed), add teaspoon and a half salt. Mix well. keep aside.

Taking a wide pan, into a pre-heated oil, add fennel seeds. Stir for few seconds. Add green chillies, ginger, garlic and onion. Sauté on low heat till the onion sweat. Add salt, tomatoes, turmeric, chilly, coriander and garam-masala powders and cook till the tomatoes give up liquid. Do not caramelize onions or tomatoes in this process. Switch off heat, cool and grind the mixture into a smooth paste*.

Take the same pan, add oil. When it heats up, add mustard seeds, whole red chilly and few curry leaves. Now add the grounded mixture*. Sauté till oil releases from the edges.

Add the boiled black chickpeas/whole bengal gram. Stir to mix. Break open a can of coconut milk. Pour into the curry and simmer; stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes till everything is well combined and the gravy becomes a semi-thick consistency.

Do a taste-test and adjust salt accordingly. At the final stage, sprinkle a pinch of garam-masala.

Garnish and enjoy!

My observations/notes:

  • for canned chickpeas, add it directly to the dish

  • can add little ghee while boiling chickpeas

  • do not throw away the water in which chickpeas were boiled. use it in the dish instead of plain water

  • for 250gms chickpeas, double the amount of water


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