Naadan Kadala Curry-Kerala Country Style Recipe


Nadan kadala curry-"How to prepare black chickpea gravy using authentic kerala spices, How to make thattu kada style chickpea  gravy"

This had been my search query in google for the past few days. I had been going frantic about this topic, searching for ways to make a naadan thattu kada style recipe, ever since my friend in UK had asked me to write about one. I must say that, I am quite relieved, now that I have come to a conclusion. 

In my mind, I was dreaming of a recipe that would be like the one I had, in a small hut shaped “thattu kada” (small hotel) near my college, or the one I ate from the road side while I went for trekking; where an old lady wearing a traditional “chatta and mundu” would be serving me this dish.  

I wanted to prepare a recipe like how she would make; I wanted to use the masala's that, she would use. This was what I felt missing in the search results. The recipes, I saw, were very good. But they were like five star style dishes; not simple enough. Not naadan enough. 

As I read through a lot of the sites related to naadan recipes I saw one, that came quite close, to what I was looking. This was from mariasmenu. Even though, I liked her recipe, I felt it was not quite there to what I was looking for.

Taking inspiration from her recipe, and from a few cooking experiences I have had, I decided to make my own version of Naadan Kadala curry. Today, I am going to show you how.


To prepare this recipe, you really need to make your own masala. There is no other way to it. So, get a mixer ready by your side. 

Apart from that, you need coconut oil. This makes the difference in taste for this recipe. 

Last, but not the least grated coconuts and black chickpea.

This recipe, is one that will take around 40-50 minutes time to make. I would recommend you make this recipe during a weekend.  Now, that I have cleared things out of our way… lets begin.

Ingredients List 

For Gravy

• Tomato – 3 

• Onion – 2 

• Salt – 1 tbsp 

• Green Chilly – 3 

For Masalas 

• Grated Coconuts – ½ cup( 125ml) 

• Cinnamon – 1 

• Cloves – 2 

• Cardamom – 1 

• Fennel Seeds/Saunf – ¼ tbsp.

• Red Chilies – 5-6

• Coriander Seeds – 2 tbsp

• Pepper – 10-15 

Naadan Kadala Curry – Preparation Steps

1. Soak the black chickpea in water for about 10-12 hours. Wash it well, add ½ tbsp. of salt into it and place it in a cooker. Let it cook for about 20-25 whistles. That will be around 15-20 minutes.



Keep the stock water of the boiled chickpea aside. We will be using this water for making our gravy

2. In the meantime, chop 1 onion, 7-8 small onions, and 1 tomato. Also slit 2 greenchilies and keep it aside.  



I have used, small onions because they taste good for this. If you cant find one, you can use 1 more big onion instead.

3. To prepare the masala, we need ¼ fenugreek seeds,  6-7 red chilies, 2tbsp of coriander seeds, 10-15 blackpepper, 1 cinnamon, 2 cloves , 1 cardamom and a small bowl of grated coconuts.



If you don’t have black pepper, use ½ tbsp. of pepper powder instead. 

4. Heat the pan and let any water content evaporate from the pan. Now, add the grated coconuts and fry them, to golden brown. Ensure, to fry them in a medium flame. Keep aside fried coconut chunks, if you find them. We would need them for garnishing.


5. Heat the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom next. When the cloves or cinnamon starts turning dark brown, remove them from the pan.

6. Now fry the other spices namely the red chilies, fenugreek, coriander seeds, pepper together. As the coriander seeds turn brown, or when the red chilies start turning brown, remove them from the pan.


7. Take all the fried spices, blend it to fine powder in a mixer. This is our traditional masala for this recipe.


8. Heat oil in the pan, Add ½ tbsp. of mustard seeds. As the seeds splutter, add the diced onions and small onions mix. Add ¼ tbsp. of salt, ¼ tbsp. of turmeric powder and ¼ tbsp. of red chilli powder into the mix.


9. As the onions get sautéed and start turning brown add the diced tomatoes. Add ¼ cup of water into the mix and close the lid of the pan.


10. After 5 min, the tomatoes would have been cooked and become soft. Stir it well, till the mix has become a thick soft  gravy.


11. To this gravy, add the freshly prepared masala. Add 1-2 tbsp of oil to the mix and stir it well. Fry till the ingredients have lost its raw flavors. You can check this by tasting a pinch of this mix. 


12. Once the masala has become thick, and lost its raw taste, add the stock water of black chickpea into the mix. Add water, as per your desired thickness. I added roughly 2 glasses of water.


13. Let the mix boil for another 5-10 minutes. The gravy tastes better, when the mix is boiled for around 15 minutes. This is because, by this time, the masala's settle down and would really dissolve in the gravy.


For this recipe, I boiled the gravy twice. First time, I tasted the gravy, the masala's hadn’t settled. So, after boiling it for 10 minutes, I added 1 more glass of water. This is an optional step. 

14. After your masalas have fallen in place add the cooked chickpea into the mix. Let it boil for another 5 -10 minutes.  Add the 2 slit green chilies and 4-5 curry leaves into the mix and boil. Let it boil for another 5 minutes.



Adding the green chilies gave me that missing thing, I was looking for. The taste of raw chilies, gives you that extra punch. 

Now, if you are someone who is used to eating spicy non veg recipes, I would say that you should add 1 more  green chili into the mix. You will love it. 

15. Garnish the recipe with 5-6 curry leaves and fried coconut chunks. Your naadan gravy is ready to be served. 


Cooking tips

Roti, doesn’t go well with this recipe. I would suggest rice items like dosa, or puttu along with this recipe

After transferring the recipe, onto a vessel, add 1-2 tbsp of fresh coconut oil on top of this recipe. It will taste really good.

The masala I made, can be used to make any kerala recipe. If you felt goda masala ingredients are difficult to find, this masala is much easier. 

› Nadan Kadala Curry