Curried Chickpeas or Kadalakari is a dish from Kerala. It is a spicy coconut based curry very close to the heart of the Malayali. It is made with the darker and smaller variety of chickpeas. Curried Chickpeas or Kadalakari is typically served with Puttu, a steamed rice and coconut dish, for breakfast. It can also be eaten with rice.
The most common way of cooking Kadalakari is in a spicy coconut gravy much like this. There is also a simpler version cooked without coconut. I came across a third version cooked with coconut and tomatoes. I first came across the recipe in Lathika George’s The Suriani Kitchen Cookbook.
Let me start at the beginning with this story. It began when I first met Lathika George a couple of years back at the annual Goa Literary and Arts Festival. Then I met her again in Kochi last year at the Muziris Biennale. She was then working on the second edition of her cookbook, The Suriani Kitchen, a collection of traditional recipes from her community.
Lathika wanted to redo some of the food photographs in her cookbook asked me to shoot them. That’s when I saw her cookbook for the first time. As I was going through it, I came across her Curried Chickpeas or Kadalakari recipe. I had never eaten or seen this dish cooked with tomatoes in it. Apparently, it is not all that uncommon to do so. Her recipe is also different from mine in the spices used in it. My version also uses, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom in the spice-coconut mix.
So today I’m sharing Lathika’s Curried Chickpeas recipe. The new edition of Lathika’s Suriani Kitchen was published by Penguin Random House late last year. Lathika has been kind enough to give away a copy of the latest edition of The Suriani Kitchen. More about that a little further down.
Kerala is a state that is home to many different communities that are distinct in their culture, traditions, rituals and cuisines yet live together in harmony. The Suriani Christians (or Syrian Christians or Nazranis or followers of Jesus of Nazareth) are one among them.
They trace their origins to St. Thomas the Apostle who is believed to have arrived in Kerala in AD52. Over time, they have absorbed Jewish and Syrian influences in their distinctive cuisine, though the Suriani Christian cuisine is deeply rooted in Kerala. Lathika George’s cookbook is full of recipes that are typical of her Suriani Christian Community. A good chunk of the recipes are naturally non-vegetarian. There are lots of vegetarian recipes including snacks, sweets and Sadya staples of Kerala.
The Giveaway :
As I mention earlier, I’m giving away a copy of the new edition of Lathika George’s cookbook, The Suriani Kitchen.
If you would like to to try your luck at winning that copy, please leave a comment on this post. In your comment tell me what your favourite vegetarian dish from Kerala is and why you like it so much. The giveaway is open to bloggers and non-bloggers alike. You must however live in India or have an Indian shipping addresses.
This Giveaway is open till the 15th of February, 2018. I will pick one random commenter to receive the cookbook, once the giveaway is closed.
Here are a couple of the images I shot for The Suriani Kitchen.
This recipe for Curried Chickpeas or Kadala Kari is reproduced below with Lathika’s permission. The recipes in Lathika’s book seem to have been written with an international audience in mind. When I cooked the recipe below, I did some things differently because that is how I cook in my Indian kitchen. For this recipe, she suggests toasting the coconut in an oven. I do it on the stove-top as is traditionally done in Kerala.
Her recipe also calls for adding the soaked chickpeas to the curry towards athe end and cooking it till done. This probably gives a more flavourful dish as the chickpeas absorb the flavours while cooking. I prefer to pressure cook my chickpeas till done and then add them to the curry, and let them simmer for a shorter time on the stove top, about 15 to 20 minutes. Otherwise I have stayed true to the recipe.