Keralan Chickpeas

I was lucky enough to get a personal tutorial for this Kadala curry from a friend of mine who hails from the south Indian region of Kerala. My friend makes hers with soaked and pressure cooked chick peas, but I just used tinned. If you find a good brand of chick peas – where the texture is just right – stick to it, because some tinned varieties can be really quite horrible. Seeing her prepare this dish made it more accessible to me as dish that I can incorporate into my menu. In the past I’ve been a bit frightened of cooking Indian cuisine as the ingredients and techniques are so foreign to me and I had no one to ask for advice. But since moving to the UK, I’ve been fortunate to make some friends who have been willing to share their kitchen wisdom with me and it makes all the difference.

This Kedala curry is light, a little spicy, flavoursome and super healthy, incorporating the protein of chick peas, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, no carbs, and relatively light on calories. But mostly I love this dish because it tastes great and I love the texture of good quality chick peas. You can make this at home just as easily as you can make a soup or stew. The best part is that the ingredients are easy to find, cheap to buy and will keep in the cupboard for when the mood strikes.

Keralan Chickpeas Recipe

1 x tin chickpeas, drained
Handful of baby plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced (not minced)
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp mustard seeds
3-4 curry leaves (optional)
1-2 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut milk

In a saucepan, put the drained chickpeas and cover with water, add chilli, ground coriander, salt and turmeric. Simmer gently.
While the chickpeas are simmering, saute the onion, garlic, mustard seeds and curry leaves in some oil.
Once the mustard seeds have started to pop, add the tomato, cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon. Stir for a few minutes.
Pour the chickpeas and liquid into the onion, tomato mixture and stir. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes and squash some of the chick peas with the back of the spoon.
Pour in the coconut milk and season to taste if it needs.

Serve with naan or rice, or just on its own for a super healthy, carb-free lunch.