Kadala is part and parcel of Kerala cuisine. In the rest of the world kadala is also known as chickpeas or Egyptian peas, ceci beans and kabuli channa. There’s evidence that these little fellas were first cultivated in 7500 BC in the Middle East. They sure did travel far and wide, it seems,  since records show they soon made their appearance in ancient civilisations in Egypt, Greece, Rome et al. Kadala can be black, green, red or brown. What is generally used in the

Kadala can be black, green, red or brown. What is generally used in the kadala curry in Kerala are the small brown ones.

What’s interesting is that these can grow in dry land needing very little water. And it is not easy to kill these buggers since their leaves have natural insecticide. Talk about self-defence!

They contain fibre and a host of antioxidants. They are also high in protein. Though they originated in the Middle East, currently India is the largest producer of chickpeas in the world – 8,832,500 metric tons. Phew! That’s a lot of kadala, I say. Enough with the history, let’s move on to the recipe.

Enough with the history, let’s get on with how to make the yummiest kadala curry — straight from mama’s kitchen.

Ingredients

400 gms brown chickpeas/Bengal Gram

5-6 small onions or shallots

4-5 garlic pods

½ tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 inch ginger (chopped)

1 tblsp grated coconut

½ tsp mustard

curry leaves

salt

water

Method

Soak the chickpeas overnight and cook it in boiling water the next day. Let it not become soggy.

In a pan, saute whole garlic and onions in hot oil.

To this add the fennel seeds and ginger and saute for a few seconds before adding curry leaves.

Add chopped tomatoes to this mix.

After a minute or so add grated coconut.

Mix well till the tomatoes are cooked.

Add, turmeric, chilli and coriander powders.

Fry the mixture for 10 minutes.

Remove from stove, cool it and grind it into a paste. Keep aside.

Splutter mustard seeds in hot oil.

Add chopped onions and curry leaves till the onions become translucent.

To this add the ground paste; mix well.

Now add the boiled chickpeas. Add enough water to cover the chickpeas.

Add salt to taste.

Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

If you want the curry to be thicker, keep it on the stove for an additional minute or two.

Serve hot with rice, chapati or puttu.