Kadala Curry – Bengal Gram or Kala Chana Curry with Coconut and Spices. Brown Chickpea Coconut Curry from South India (Kerala). Serve with rice, appams, dosas or make a bowl with roasted veggies and grains. Vegan Gluten-free Soy-free Indian Recipe Jump to Recipe
Brown Chickpeas – Kala Chana or Bengal Gram are the earthier nuttier cousin of white chickpeas. White Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans are generally more easily available. Brown Chickpeas have slowly started getting the shelf spots they deserve in many stores now. These beans are hardy and have high fibre, protein and iron content. These beans cook quickly when pressure cooked. If the beans are old, they will take a long time if cooking in a saucepan.
This Kadala Curry has brown chickpeas that have been cooked to tender in a Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot or Saucepan. The sauce uses onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, coconut and spices that would make a kerala garam masala(spice blend from the state of Kerala). The curry is finished with a mustard seed tempering and served with rice or flatbreads from the southern Indian region. I serve the curry as a soup by itself, or over rice or as a part of a bowl with veggie sides and sliced radishes or cucumbers. It has an amazing flavor profile. Do try it and let me know how you like it in the comments.
Kala chana is also the bean which makes up Besan while the Garbanzo beans make chickpea flour. They are slightly different and behave differently depending on the use.
More Chickpea Recipes
- Mushroom Chickpea Greens soup. GF
- Kala Chana Masala – Sprouted Brown Chickpea Curry – GF
- Masala Chickpea Bowl – GF
- Shawarma Chickpea Buddha Bowl – GF
- Chana Masala – My Chickpea curry – GF
- Curry Leaf Pepper Chickpeas. GF
Serve the chickpea curry as a soup garnished with coconut and crackers. So Good!
Brown Chickpea Coconut Curry - Kadala Curry
- 3/4 cup (123 g) uncooked brown chickpeas optionally soaked for 4 hours
- 2 cups (500 ml) water
- 1/2 cup (40 g) shredded coconut fresh(thawed if frozen) or dried + more for garnish
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) mustard seeds
- 6 curry leaves optional
- a good pinch of asafetida / hing optional, use certified gluten-free if needed
- 1/2 (0.5) medium onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) ground fennel
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) cardamom
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) cloves
- 1/3 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) turmeric
- 2 (2) tomatoes chopped
- 3/4 tsp (0.75 tsp) or more salt
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) mustard seeds
- 2 dried red chilies
- If you haven’t soaked the chickpeas, Bring the brown chickpeas to a boil in 1 cup of water. Discard the water.
- Pressure Cook: Pressure cook the chickpeas with 2 cups of water for 20 minutes in stove top cooker, Or 30 -35 minutes in electric (Manual 30 minutes in the Instant Pot). Let the pressure release naturally.
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add coconut and toast for 2 to 3 minutes until golden. Stir occasionally to avoid burning. Blend with 2 tbsp of water until most of the coconut breaks down and set aside.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add mustard seeds and let them start to sputter. Add curry leaves and asafetida and cook for few seconds. They will sputter, so be careful.
- Add the onion, garlic, ginger and cook until translucent.
- Add the ground spices and mix well. for half a min. Add tomatoes and a splash of water and cook until the tomatoes are tender. 5 minutes. Mash the larger pieces.
- Add this mixture, salt and the coconut paste to the brown chickpeas (or vice versa depending on the pan size) and simmer over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and heat. Add more water if needed.
- Garnish with coconut. I also usually add a fresh tempering before serving. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add 1/4 tsp mustard seeds and 2 chilies and cook for a few seconds. The seeds will start to pop. Drizzle this over the chickpea curry. Serve over rice, cooked grains or with flatbread, appams, dosas etc.
- To make the Chickpea Curry in a saucepan: Soak the brown chickpeas for at least 4 hours in warm water. Drain and add to a saucepan with 3 cups of water. Partially cover and cook over medium heat for 35 to 45 minutes or until tender to preference. Make the Curry mixture and add to the simmering chickpeas and continue.
I’m confused. Do I need to boil the chickpeas first prior to using IP?
If you haven’t soaked them then boil and discard to remove the physic acid. It’s optional.
when cleaning out the cupboard I used to fill with stsple food during COVID I ended up with a lot of dark chickpeas never seen before. No idea what to do with them..
THANKS for this wonderful recipe!
when cleaninn out the cupboard I used to fill ith stsple food during COVID I ended up with a lot of dark chickpeas never seen before. No idea what to do with them..
THANKS for this wonderful recipe!
kala chana has that subtle taste, very nice. first time I tried this recipe the curry leaves and fennel weren’t there, yet it was good.
second go I prepared it as you meant it to be. the result was wonderful (and not difficult to make)
thanks you Richa 🙂
Thank you for the recepie
Vegan Richa Support
This recipe is *such* a winner. I did substitute the majority of the coconut shreds with a can of coconut milk, and used regular chick peas, but the spices are what really makes this dish. Your curries are always rich and full of flavor and this one is no exception!
I just spent 5 weeks in Kerala where fell in love with Puttu, which is usually served with Kadal and/or bananas for breakfast. It was awesome! So now that I’m home I’m looking to replicate this experience to the best of my ability. 🙂
Have you ever made Puttu? I bought a Puttu maker and plan on giving it a go this weekend. Wish me luck! We will use your Kadal recipe along with some bananas to attempt the full meal.
Thats awesome! I havent made puttu. I do try Southern Indian dishes but because of the special equipment and ingredients that are available only in Indian stores, the trying and posting happens once in a while 🙂 You would need puttu flour to make it, which should be available in an Indian store.
I cooked it the other day (in a simplified version as I didn’t have all the spices) and it was awesome – thanks for the recipe!
I do have a question though. The usual techniques for skinning white chickpeas didn’t work with the brown ones, is this normal? Is there anything in particular you do to skin brown chickpeas?
I havent tried skinning them, so I am not sure. I also dont skin the white chickpeas for any Indian recipes. If you want the skins removed, then you can buy skinned brown chickpeas from the Indian store. Or use Chana Dal, which is basically brown chickpeas that have been skinned and split.
Looks delicious! Will definitely try. I come from Burma (but ethnically Nepalese) and we use kala chana slightly differently. In fact, we mix it with vermicelli noodles and have it for breakfast!
Intriguing. Would you share your recipe please? Thanks.
Will this make well in slow cooker?
If yes, I just need to soak the chana & add everything in right?
I havent used slow cookers so I cant help there.
>Kala chana is also the bean which makes up Besan while the Garbanzo beans make chickpea flour.
Is it means than “Besan” don’t maked from Garbanzo beans?!
yes. besan is made from brown chickpeas while chickpea flour is made from garbanzo beans.
Sarah | Well and Full
I’ve never had brown chickpeas before but they look and sound amazing! I’ll have to hunt for them next time I’m at the market! 🙂
Definitely try them Sarah. They are amazing!
could i use “regular ” chickpeas?
yes, you can. Uncooked white chickpeas will take 5 to 10 minutes less time to cook through. or use cooked 2 to 2.5 cups.
If the kala chana is soaked for 4 hours can one skip the first step 10 minute pre-boil?
you can, but i would still do it to help make the beans more easy to digest.
I have a bag of dried green chana, would those work here as well?
14 tsp cardamon should be 1/4 tsp?
🙂 yes 1/4 tsp. Corrected. 14 tsp would be inedible
This looks really lovely! They sell kala chana in tins here alongside regular chickpeas and I don’t often see recipes that use it.
Thats awesome! There are many ways to use kala chana, i love to sprout it and add it to salads.