Sunday, September 29, 2019

Kadalai Theeyal (Kerala Style Chickpeas Curry in Tamarind Sauce)

Kadalai Theeyal or Kondaikadalai Theeyal is based on Kerala style curries known as theeyal - aromatuc stews prepared with tamarind as well as roasted spices and coconut. Kadalai Theeyal is a tangy and delicious stew sure to become a favorite. Theeyal means burned or scorched - probably an allusion to the well toasted coconut in the masala!

This recipe is naturally gluten and dairy free and lends itself  to Onion/Garlic Free Option. Adjust the amounts of tamarind, spices etc according to your family needs.
Kadalai Theeyal

Check the post on cooking dried beans. If freshly cooked beans are not an option, canned chickpeas will work out; you may need about two 15 oz cans. Drain the canned beans, rinse and add to the recipe as described below.

If you have a piece of tomato languishing in the fridge, chop and add it to the Kadalai Theeyal. It not only enhances the color, but also adds to the taste.

Both the light colored and the brown chickpeas maybe used to prepare this stew. Any extra stew maybe frozen promptly for upto 3 months.


Masala to Roast and grind:
1 tsp Chana dhal
1-4 Dried Red Chiles 
1/2 tsp Whole Black Pepper
1 pinch Fenugreek seeds
2 tsp Coriander seeds
2 stems Curry Leaves
1/2 cup dried shredded Coconut (unsweetened)

1 cup dried Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans, cooked
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 small Onion, finely chopped (optional)
1-2 cloves fresh Garlic, minced (optional)
1 tsp Tamarind concentrate
1 tsp Rice Flour
4 Green Onions, thinly sliced (optional)
4 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped finely (optional)

Thalippu/Tadka :
1 tsp Indian Sesame or other mild oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Urad dal
2 stems Curry Leaves, finely chopped


Sort the chickpeas, soak in cool water for 6-8 hours or overningt; cook the soaked chickpeas in  fresh water to cover in a regular pan or pressure cooker until soft but not mushy. Stir in salt and reserve.

Dry roast all the masala ingredients except the coconut in a small skillet or pan. When the spices are fragrant and golden, add  the shredded coconut and stir untill deep golden brown; watch carefully and stir constantly as coconut burns quite easily. Pour out on a plate and let cool. 

Process all the roasted ingredients and the rice flour into a smooth paste using a blender.

Heat the oil in a large 3-4 quart pot and add the Thalippu ingredients except the curry leaves. When the mustard seeds pop, add the curry leaves. Curry leaves may sizzle a bit; so add them carefully to the pot. 

Stir in the onions and garlic if using with a pinch of salt and cook covered until softened. If not using the onions or garlic, go to the next step.

Add tamarind paste, turmeric, and ground paste; swish the blender jar with 1 cup of water to garher all of the aromatic paste clinging to it and add to the pot.

Add the cooked chick peas along with their cooking liquids and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Mash a few of the chickpeas with the back of the spoon and stir well. Remove from heat and let rest for about 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the green onions and cilantro if using. Taste and correct the seasonings.

Serve hot with rice/grains, rotis, a raita, any simple vegetable dishes, and papadam.

Kadalai Theeyal

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