Kadala is Malayalam for kala chana or whole bengal gram. Kadala curry, is Malayalam for the best damn curry ever! Bengal gram is also a great source of protein for vegetarians, which makes this one of the rare instances when something that’s good for you also tastes amazing.
When it comes to cooking any type of bean or legume, overnight soaking and pressure cooking is definitely the way to go. You can even add a little bit of baking soda to the chana while cooking, which will soften the chana even further. The Regalia 5 Litres Induction Base Pressure Cooker is perfect for this portion of Kadala curry. I like to cook my chana in this pressure cooker ahead of time and then use the same pressure cooker to make the curry. Anything to reduce the number of dishes to wash after! The Forza Cast-Iron Kadhai is great to roast your coconut and coriander mix and the best part? It comes pre-seasoned! Appams are a favourite in Kerala and go very well with kadala curry but you can’t make one without the gorgeous Crimson Aluminium Non-Stick Appachetty! Appachattys are crucial to making perfect Appams that are crispy on the sides and soft in the centre.
Now that you’ve gathered all your equipment let’s jump on the flavour train! The main flavour of kadala curry comes from the roasted coriander seeds and the browned shallots. My grandmother doesn’t eat garlic so we do without. Despite being obsessed with garlic, I honestly think there’s enough flavour just the way it is but I can’t in all consciousness ever say no to garlic! So feel free to add some!
Bengal Gram/Kala Chana works best but if you don’t have any on hand you could replace it with chickpeas (Kabuli Chana). Kadala curry is traditionally eaten with Puttu in Kerala, but I think it goes great with dosa, idiyappam, roti (especially porotta!) and rice. After all, it’s just a tastier version of chole! One of my new favourite ways to enjoy this curry is with foxtail millet, it’s the perfect match!
- 1 1/2 Cups Bengal Gram/Kadala/Kala Chana
- 2 Onions
- 2 1/2 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
- 1 1/2 Cups Shredded Coconut
- 1 Tbsp Chilli Powder
- 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 4 Shallots (chopped)
- 2 Tbsp Oil
- 1 Sprig Curry Leaves
- 1 tsp Salt
- Wash and soak the Kadala (Bengal Gram) overnight.
- Transfer to a pressure cooker and cook on high flame for one whistle. Reduce the flame to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Set aside.
- In a cast iron skillet, add 1 tbsp oil and fry the chopped large onions till they start to colour, (the sides need to brown a bit).
- Add the coriander seeds and fry till fragrant.
- Add the coconut and mix thoroughly. Fry for a minute.
- Turn the heat off and add the chilli powder. Mix well.
- Grind the mixture with about 1/2 cup of water slowly till it forms a paste. Set aside.
- In a separate pan, add 1 tbsp oil and mustard seeds.
- Once the mustard pops, add the chopped shallots and fry till almost brown.
- Add the cooked kadala along with the leftover water and increase the heat to high.
- Add the ground coriander and coconut mixture to the pan and mix well.
- Add the salt. Be sure to taste the curry and adjust.
- Add more water as required and add more salt if needed
- Allow it to boil for a minute and you’re done!
If you want your curry to be a little thicker, you can blend a handful of the cooked chickpeas with a little water and add that to the curry.