July 18, 2013

Kadala Curry - Kerala Kadala Curry Recipe for Appam, Puttu

Kadala Curry is a regular breakfast side dish in my home. In fact, it's made with appam, puttu, and even dosa since the roasted coconut-coriander base of the kadala curry goes really well with these breakfast dishes. The kadala curry from my childhood days had a thicker gravy but amma has scaled down the amount of coconut in her current version. Either ways, it tastes great and we had it this time with spongy Kerala appam and sweetened coconut milk.

Kadala Curry - Kerala Kadala Curry Recipe for Appam, Puttu

In Kerala, kadala curry is usually made with black chickpeas or kala channa (karutha kadala) but at home we prefer the creaminess of the kabuli or while channa although it's supposedly less healthy than its black counterpart. Go with your personal preference since the gravy of this curry goes well with either variety of channa.

We also make another variation of chana masala that goes great with appam. That has no coconut but an onion-tomato base which is delicious with these same breakfast dishes. Go with what your heart wants.


Preparation time: 5 hours
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves 4
Recipe source: Amma

  • 1 cup of while or black channa (kadala), soaked overnight
  • 3/4 cup of grated coconut
  • 8 dry red chillies (adjust to spice preference)
  • 4 tbsp of coriander seeds
  • A fistful of curry leaves
  • 1/2 cup + 2tbsp of sliced shallots (or use red onions)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of jeera powder (cumin powder)
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp oil of coconut oil (or any oil you use)
  • 1/2 tsp of black mustard seeds


1. Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan and add the coconut, coriander, chillies, and curry leaves. Roast until the coriander turns a dark golden brown. It's important to roast it thoroughly, so don't be hasty. Once done, turn off flame and add 2 tbsp shallots, jeera, garlic, and turmeric. Mix well in the heat and set aside to cool.
kadala curry 1

2. Once coo, grind the roasted spices with enough water to make a smooth paste. Add this and the soaked channa to your pressure cooker.
kadala curry 2

3. Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles and set aside for the steam to release. Meanwhile, chop up the shallots for tempering.
kadala curry 3

4. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and when it's hot, add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the shallots and some more curry leaves. Roast until the shallots are golden brown. This is important for maximum flavour.
kadala curry 4

5. When roasted, add the cooked kadala curry to the pan and bring to boil. Add salt and remove from fire.
kadala curry 5

Serve kadala curry hot with puttu, appam, idiyappam, or dosa. This kadala curry doesn't go well with rice.

  1. If you want a thicker gravy, add more coconut and less water in the pressure cooker while cooking the kadala curry
  2. You can add some coconut pieces while frying the shallots to add some texture to the kadala curry
  3. This curry stays fresh in the fridge for up to two days but tastes best when served immediately

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