Instant Pot Kerala Kadala Curry (Brown Chickpeas in Coconut Curry)


This recipe for Kadala curry is so easy to make! If you haven’t heard of this dish, it’s a recipe that hails from Kerala, a south Indian state located on the Malabar Coast, where coconuts are aplenty. It’s flavorful, a little spicy (can adjust!) and incredibly comforting.

Instant Pot Kerala Kadala Curry (Brown Chickpeas in Coconut Curry) by Ashley of

You won’t find this dish on any restaurant menu – but ask anyone from Kerala, and they will tell you all about Kadala curry. This brown chickpea coconut curry is a very popular dish typically made on Sundays for breakfast/brunch and served with something called puttu (steamed rice and coconut). You can also eat it with idli/dosa, rice or an Indian flatbread.

I think most Keralites love kadala curry because it’s a dish that tastes like home. Except for my husband… he was forced to eat this one too many times as a child and refuses to eat more than a small bowl of this whenever I make it. I’m okay with that because it just means more for me. And it is so good you guys! It’s Indian comfort food at it’s best.

Instant Pot Kerala Kadala Curry (Brown Chickpeas in Coconut Curry) by Ashley of

Kadala curry is so flavorful and it’s just the right amount of creamy. The spices in this dish mask the flavor of the coconut so you should know that the coconut milk isn’t overpowering.

If you’re wondering what the word “kadala” means – it just means “chickpea.” The chickpeas used in this recipe are brown chickpeas which are different from garbanzo beans or white chickpeas. Brown chickpeas have a nutty flavor and they are denser than white chickpeas. If you press a cooked white chickpea between your fingers you can easily smush it, but with a brown chickpea you have to press a little harder to smush it. I realize this is probably an odd way to describe the texture but hopefully you get it. Basically, a brown chickpea is a hearty little thing. It’s tasty, try it!

Instant Pot Kerala Kadala Curry (Brown Chickpeas in Coconut Curry) by Ashley of

Instant Pot Kerala Kadala Curry (Brown Chickpeas in Coconut Curry)

Instant Pot Kerala Kadala Curry (Brown Chickpeas in Coconut Curry) by Ashley of

Instant Pot Kerala Kadala Curry (Brown Chickpeas in Coconut Curry)

5 from 7 reviews
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  • 1 cup dried brown chickpeas soaked overnight
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 1-2 Serranos or green chilies minced
  • 15-20 curry leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 to mato diced


  • 1 tablespoon meat masala
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk


  • Soak the brown chickpeas in cold water overnight. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  • Press the sauté button, add the oil and allow it to heat up for a minute. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds to the pot. Once the mustard seeds begin to splutter, add the onions and stir-fry for 10-12 minutes, or until the onions begin to brown.
  • Add the Serrano pepper, curry leaves, garlic, ginger and spices and stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, or until they begin to break down.
  • Add the brown chickpeas and water. Mix well.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 30 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure.
  • Add coconut milk and press sauté to cook for 3-4 minutes.
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Instant Pot Kerala Kadala Curry (Brown Chickpeas in Coconut Curry) by Ashley of
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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. jessica says

    5 stars
    We love this recipe! I usually double it, sometimes freeze half. Sometimes I do all kala chana, sometimes 1/2 kala and half regular chana. It’s always good. I like blending the garlic, ginger, and chiles together as well.

  2. Ken Lutz says

    5 stars
    I used canned brown chickpeas and made a double batch- first time and they are really nice. Everyone initially thought they were raisons. Can’t find fresh curry leaves but the dal has very good flavour. I had some creamed coconut in the fridge and used half the water. I found more complex recipes but this is straightforward, good flavour and easy to make during the week.

  3. Garima Tewari says

    Can we used onion tomato masala instead of using the fresh onion and tomato? And if yes, what quantity would you recommend for this recipe?

  4. Gayathri says

    5 stars
    I have followed many of your recipes, commenting for first time. Simple recipe, this turned out perfect, thank you!

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