varutharacha kadala curry malayalam

Black Chickpeas Curry





15 min


15 min




Black Chickpeas Curry

Black Chickpeas or ‘ Varutharacha Kadala Curry’ is a traditional curry of black chickpeas (chana) cooked in a toasted/roasted coconut spice paste. Popularly served with Puttu or Appam

Total time is not inclusive of the – overnight soaking of the black chickpeas.

The trick is to toast your coconut along with some spices and fresh ingredients to perfection. This is the key to the success of this hearty vegetarian curry.

The Recipe Intro has step by step pictures and Video. Check it out.

read the recipe introduction 300x81 Black Chickpeas Curry

varutharacha kadala curry 300x199 Black Chickpeas Curry

Black Chickpeas Curry


  • ¾ cup ‏dry-large black chickpeas/ kala chana - needs to be soaked overnight
  • ½ tsp ‏turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp ‏mustard seeds
  • 1 ‏red onion, sliced
  • 1-2 ‏small green chillies
  • 1-2 Tbsp ‏curry leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp ‏coriander powder
  • ½ - 1 tsp ‏chilli powder ( according to preference)
  • 1 ½ tsp ‏Kerala Garam Masala (check out my recipe)
  • 1- 2 Tbsp ‏coconut oil
  • To taste: ‏salt

For the roasted coconut-spice paste:

  •  1 ½ cups ‏grated coconut: fresh or frozen( thawed) 
  • 5 - 6 ‏shallots, left whole
  • 4 cloves ‏of garlic, left whole
  • 3 long ‏mild dried red chillies ( the shriveled variety)
  • 1 ½  Tbsp ‏coriander seeds
  • 8-10 ‏curry leaves
  • 2  Tbsp ‏coconut oil



 Hint: If you have a microwave, I recommend heating the grated coconut in the microwave for 1 minute before roasting. This gives the best results every time.

  • Rinse the chickpeas and then soak in room temperature water overnight ( 6-8 hours).
  • Discard the soaking water the next morning.
  • Add the drained chickpeas to a small pressure cooker. Cover with 2 ½ cups of fresh water.
  • Add the turmeric powder (½ tsp) and ½ tsp of salt.
  • Close the cooker and cook under pressure for 10-12 steam whistles (on medium-high heat). If you like the chickpeas softer, cook a bit longer but make sure they don’t get mushy. (Meanwhile, microwave the grated coconut for 1 minute and set aside.)
  • Heat 2 Tbsp coconut oil in a heavy based wok ‘cheenachatti’.  The heavy base ensures the best-roasted coconut.
  • First, add the coriander seeds and allow the aroma to develop slightly.
  • Next add the shallots, garlic, dried chilies and curry leaves. Stir briefly, till the shallots are softened a bit
  • Add the grated coconut now. For the next 8- 10 minutes, stirring continuously. Do not leave the stove. Keep stirring to prevent the wet coconut from sticking to the wok.

    Gradually the coconut will start to change a shade in color … first yellow then slowly golden and darker as you toast the mixture. When it reaches a deep golden color: immediately remove from the wok into another plate to prevent it from going black or too dark in color. This is very important. Once the coconut is burnt even in the slightest, it will ruin the curry. You can not make use of it and you must start over again – that is why it’s so important you don’t step away from the stove.

  •  Set the toasted coconut mixture to cool down a bit before you grind it in a small mixer/grinder jar (without adding water) to make a paste.
  • Wash out the wok used for roasting the coconut and return to the stove. Heat 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil and add the mustard seeds.
  • Once the mustard seeds have popped, add the sliced onion and saute till they turn light golden in color.
  • Add the green chilli and curry leaves and saute briefly, after which you can add the spice powders( coriander and chilli powder).
  • Stir fry the spices till aromatic, adding a sprinkling of water so that they don’t get scorched.
  • Once aromatic, add the toasted coconut paste and stir well.
  • Now, rinse out the mixer with just a little bit of water (half cup) and add to the wok. Stir well and simmer till the oil separates.
  • Now we can add the cooked chickpeas along with the cooking liquid. Stir through. Bring back to a simmer and add salt to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Lastly, stir in the garam masala and remove from heat.
  • Tasty, homely Varutharacha Kadala Curry is ready to be served with Puttu, Appam etc..


Black Chickpeas Curry


Read about Health benefits of black chickpeas.

Key Ingredients: Black chickpeas, Coconut, Shallots, Garlic, Chilli ( dried and green), Red Onion, Curry leaves, Coconut oil, Mustard seeds, Spices, Salt.


Let us know if you tried –  Black Chickpeas Curry

read the recipe introduction 300x81 Black Chickpeas Curry





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