Kerala, God’s own country as it is popularly called,  is a beautiful state with equally wonderful cuisine. Most of us living up North consider Idli and Dosa classified as South Indian cuisine. We are not aware of the diversity of cuisine that is available in the state until we know someone from there or travel to Kerala. I have been fortunate to have a lot of Malayali friends and the good fortune of travelling to Kerala on multiple occasions that I have learned a lot about the wonderful variety of cuisine in the state.

You might have already seen me talk about some of my other favorites like Idiyappams with Vegetable Stew and Sweet Coconut Milk and Beetroot Poriyal. Today I am going to talk about another curry made with black grams or kale chane called Kadala Curry. It pairs very well with Puttu, which is steamed rice logs and even with boiled red rice. My husband loved to eat it with hot chapatis too.

Here’s the recipe of authentic Kerala style Kadala curry.

COOKING TIME: 20-25 minutes
SERVINGS: 1 big bowl (4-5 people)


  1. Black gram (Kale Chane) – 1.5 cups
  2. Water – 5-6 cups
  3. Onion – 1, medium
  4. Tomatoes – 2, large
  5. Garlic – 2 pods
  6. Ginger – 1 small stick
  7. Grated coconut – 1/4 cup
  8. Coconut Milk – 1 cup
  9. Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  10. Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  11. Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
  12. Bay Leaf – 1
  13. Black Cardamom – 1
  14. Cloves – 2-3
  15. Black Peppercorns – 3-4
  16. Cinnamon stick – 1, small
  17. Red chillies – 2-3
  18. Coconut oil – 2 tablespoons
  19. Salt – 1 tablespoon (or to taste)


  1. Non-stick kadhai
  2. Wooden ladle
  3. Grinder
  4. Pressure Cooker


  1. Coconut Oil: I prefer using good quality coconut oil which gives a wonderful flavor to the curry. I use Hesthetic Cold – Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil, it is the most wonderfully fragrant oil I have used.
  2. Coconut Milk: I prefer using Dabur’s Coconut Milk as it comes in handy, easy – to – use tetra packs.


Prepping the black grams / Kadala –
  1. Wash and soak the black grams overnight or for at least 7-8 hours.
  2. Add the soaked black gram with 5-6 cups of water in a pressure cooker.
  3. Also, add in 1/2 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.
  4. Close the lid and cook in high flame until you hear a whistle. Now turn down the heat and let them cook on low heat for another 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and let the pressure release. Black grams would be nicely cooked.
For the Kadala curry masala –

6. Take a non-stick kadhai and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
7. Add in all the whole spices – bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, red chillies, cloves, black peppercorns, and some cumin seeds.

Add these whole spices to the hot coconut oil
Add these whole spices to the hot coconut oil

8. Chop the onions into long and thin slices and add them to the kadhai. Cook them until they turn light brown.
9. Grind tomatoes, ginger, and garlic into a fine paste. Add them to the wok once the onions turn brown.
10. Cook the tomatoes until they cook well and leave the sides of the kadhai. Mix a little salt and coriander powder too.

Add the ground tomato - ginger - garlic paste to the caramelized onions
Add the ground tomato – ginger – garlic paste to the caramelized onions

11. Grate some coconut pieces to get 1/4 cup of coconut. Add these to the kadhai and let them cook for 2-3 minutes until it turns fragrant.
12. Take the masala off the heat and let it cool for 5-7 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and grind the masala into a smooth paste.

Preparing the Kadala curry –

13. Add a little coconut oil into the kadhai and add the ground masala.

Add the masala back to the kadhai
Add a little coconut oil and the ground masala back to the kadhai

14. Add in the coconut milk and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes.
15. Next, add in the boiled black grams along with the water.
16. Let the Kadala curry cook for 5-7 minutes until it thickens and soaks up all the masala.

Serve the Kadala curry with some Puttu.

Kadala Curry with Puttu
Kadala Curry with Puttu