Puttu Kadala: Kerala’s Nutrient Dense Authentic Breakfast

Different regions in India have different dishes which are specific to meals of the day. If Delhi enjoys its Puri-aloo and Paratha-pickle for breakfast, Indore loves its poha-jalebi while Banaras enjoys Kachori-Rabri and Andhra in the South loves its Pesarattu Upma. If you were to travel to the NorthEast, Arunachal Pradesh would offer you Khura and in Kerala which lies at the Southernmost tip of India, you would get a generous helping of Puttu Kadala – a combination of black chickpea curry and a rice dish that’s eaten along with bananas. Considered a classic pairing, the Puttu Kadala curry is Kerala’s answer to a fibre-rich, protein dense authentic breakfast.  

Kadala means ‘chickpeas’ in Malayalam and so, the Kadala curry is prepared using black chickpeas and coconut added to a spicy gravy. It is served with Puttu which is ground rice steamed and made into cylinders layered with coconut shavings. Kadala can also be served as a side dish during lunch or dinner. 

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

Servings: 4 servings 

Ingredients Kadala curry

1 cup - Black Chickpeas (soaked overnight)

½ tsp - Salt

4 Cups - Water

Ingredients Masala Paste

1 tsp - Coconut Oil

½ - Cinnamon Stick

2 - Cardamom Pods

3 - Cloves

1 tsp - Fennel Seeds

½ - Onion (sliced)

2 – Garlic cloves

1-inch - Ginger

1 - Tomato (chopped)

½ cup - Coconut (grated)

8-10 - Curry Leaves

¼ tsp - Turmeric Powder

½ tsp - Red chilli Powder

1 tsp - Coriander Powder

½ tsp - Garam Masala 

½ Cup - Water

Ingredients Curry

1 tsp - Coconut Oil

1 tsp - Mustard

1 - Dried Red Chilli

Few Curry Leaves

5 - Small-Sized Onions (Chopped)

1 - Green Chilli (Slit)

½ tsp - Salt

Ingredients Puttu

2 cups - Puttu Flour

¼ tsp - Salt

¾-1 - Cup Water (as required)

1 Cup - Coconut (grated)

Method Kadala

In a pressure pan, add the chickpeas, four cups of water and 1 tsp salt . Pressure cook it for 3-4 whistles, check whether the chickpeas have softened and set aside. In a blender, add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds, onion, garlic, ginger, tomato, grated coconut, curry leaves, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala and half a cup of water. Blend it well till everything is mixed, then slowly add coconut oil and mix again. Set aside. In a large pot, heat coconut oil. Add mustard seeds and allow them to sputter, add whole dry red chilli, curry leaves and the slit green chilli. Add onions and saute till onions turn translucent, then add the previously prepared masala paste. Mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add pressure-cooked black chickpeas (along with water) and salt to taste. Mix everything well. Turn off the heat once everything is blended. 


In a large bowl add puttu flour and salt, and mix well. Add water and crumble the flour, then keep adding more water but in small batches. Mix well using fingertips. In the puttu steamer, layer freshly grated coconut and then add the prepared batter. Repeat the layering of grated coconut and batter three times creating a cylinder. Close the cylindrical tube and steam for 5 minutes or till the steam escapes from the top holes of the cylindrical tube. Once done, turn off the heat. Puttu Kadala is a healthy, protein dense and fibre rich breakfast which contains healthy carbs, essential vitamins and minerals, which makes for a great start for the day.