Pathiri with Kadala Curry from Kerala

>>  Monday, April 14, 2014

Next on the food trail we move to the beautiful land, referred as the “God’s own country”. I often think that I may have born in this place in my previous birth, given my strong bonds with this state. Because I love Kerala food and can never miss enjoying the Sadya during Onam. It’s been a long wish that I should one day make the entire Sadya myself. 

Anyway both my blogs boosts of quite a few Kerala Cuisine. However when I started to check out the breads, I was pleasantly surprised that I have completely never looked into the Malabar Cuisine, that’s so famous for its non veg dishes. I used to read Shaheen’s Malabar Spice and came about this rice rotis, made completely different. 

Initially I had shortlisted poricha pathiri but somehow after seeing the pathiris, I knew I had to make these. Which worked out fine, because I had to make those deep fried pooris for Chhattisgarh. I seriously couldn't find the link. 
Anyway reading wiki, Pathiri is a pancake made of rice flour. It is part of the local cuisine among the Mappilas of North Malabar and Malabar in Kerala State of Southern India. Crushed rice is made into a white dough and baked on pans called oadu. Pathiri is also known as ari pathil or pathil in some parts of the Malabar region. The word pathiri traces its origin to the Arabic word fateerah, meaning "pastry". 

Today, pathiri is still a popular dish among the Muslims in Kerala. It is usually prepared for dinner and served with meat or fish. In some regions, pathiri is regularly served during Iftar in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Variants of pathiri include neypathiri (made with ghee), poricha pathiri (fried rather than baked), meen pathiri (stuffed with fish), and irachi pathiri (stuffed with meat).

One another interesting fact was, when I had made these pathiris and kadala curry, I took it for my colleagues. My Bihar friend was so shocked and elated seeing this. She said they make these rotis when they make Daal Pithas. When some have the Daal pithas, her mom also used to make these rotis and serve with mutton curry. Now that's another strong link. I was so glad to know so many different states have similar breads.
Now coming to the Kerala Kadala Curry, the one I already have on the blog is very mild and simple when compared to what I saw here. I have adapted this recipe from here.

Kadala Curry is a spicy curry made with Black Chickpeas in a base of spicy roasted coconut base. It's the most common side dish served with puttu/steamed rice cakes. I decided to make these for the Pathiris. The roasted spice mix is a heavy duty stuff and you can go easy on the star anise. I used a whole one as suggested. However it was too strong. So you can use half of it. Rest of the stuff was fine.

Though everybody loved both Kadala Curry and Pathiris, Hubby dear didn't like it much. Maybe could be because I used coconut oil for the entire cooking. While we didn't even feel the differance, he said it found it different. He also said I should just go ahead with posting this as other than him, everybody loved it.

Kerala Kadala Curry 

Ingredients Needed:

To Pressure cook :

Black Chana/Kala Chana - 2 cups cooked
Turmeric Powder a pinch
Salt to taste

To Roast and Grind :

Grated Coconut - 3/4 cup (fresh grated or frozen)
Small Red Onion /Pearl onion - 2 (sliced)
Garlic - 2 (cloves)
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp 
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp, 
Cardamom - 1 pod, 
Cinnamon stick - 1/2 inch, 
Star anise :½  
Whole Black pepper - 8 nos
Curry Leaves - few
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp

For Gravy:

Onion - 1 cup (sliced)
Red small onions /Shallot onions - 2-4 (sliced)
Green chillies - 3 (slit lengthwise)
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp 
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp 
Dry whole red chillies - 2 nos
Sliced coconut pieces /Thenga kothu - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig 
Coconut oil - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste 

How to make Kerala Kadala Curry

Wash and soak the kadala overnight. Change the water couple of times and pressure cook with turmeric powder and salt. PC for 5-6 whistles. Open when the pressure falls and reserve extra stock for the gravy.

Heat coconut oil in a pan and add the whole spices; saute for a few seconds. Add the sliced shallot onions, sliced garlic, curry leaves. Saute for a minute.

Now add the grated coconut. Saute and roast on low fire till coconut turns to medium brown in color. Remove from the fire and let it cool. 

Transfer the roasted coconut masala to a blender and grind the ingredients to a smooth paste adding very little water.

In a big deep pan;  heat coconut oil and splutter mustard seeds, add dry red chillies.

Now add the sliced coconut pieces and saute until they turn brown, add the sliced onion, sliced red small onions, green chillies, salt and curry leaves. Saute until they turn light brown in color.

Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, saute for a few seconds and add the reserved stock from the cooked kadala. Bring to a boil.

Now add the ground coconut paste and cooked kadala. Mix well and adjust the salt. Cook until semi thick gravy. When it is done, remove and keep the dish covered until serving.

Serve hot with Pathiri

How to make Pathiri

Pathiri is Gluten Free bread and a famous Malabar dish, that is served for both breakfast and dinner.

Pathiris are thin and soft at the same time. This almost seems similar to Orotti. However, Pathiri and Orotti are not the same, though they are closely related. Both are made with rice flour. 

For making orotti, grated coconut is also added. Orotti has a thick texture and is usually prepared in orotti (tortilla) press or the dough is flattened using the hands. While pathiri has a very soft and thin texture, the dough is rolled by dusting it with rice flour to thin round shapes, very similar to making chapati. 

Pathiri dough should be rolled as thin as possible, otherwise the pathiris won't have a soft texture and it should puff up while cooking.

Pathiri or Thin Rice Roti - Malabar Speciality 


Rice flour- 1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp
Water- 1 cup
Salt- little
Rice flour- more for dusting while rolling the dough

How to make the Pathiri

In a saucepan, boil the water.

Sprinkle salt to the boiling water.

When the water boils, add the rice flour and combine it using a wooden spoon.

Remove from the heat and combine well till incorporated.

Let it cool down a bit.

Knead the mixture when it is still warm till it’s soft and smooth.

Make medium sized balls out of the kneaded dough.

Place the dough on a board and dust with little rice flour.

Using a rolling pin, roll it to a round shape.

Keep dusting with rice flour to prevent sticking to the board.

Roll to thin round shape. You can use a round lid to make shapes, for even sizes.

With the leftover dough on the sides, knead again.

Heat a non-stick cooking pan over medium heat.

Place the rolled pathiri on the skillet or pan. After 30 seconds, flip to the other side.

Gently press with a cloth for it to puff up. Finally once done on both sides, remove on to a plate.

Serve pathiris with your favourite curry.

Pathiris are inspired by this and this.


Make sure to knead the dough till it gets soft.

If the dough is not soft sprinkle little warm water while kneading.

I used store bought non-roasted rice flour, if you want you could slightly roast the rice flour in a pan till it starts to turn light golden in color. I read that home made rice flour is what is normally recommended. 

To puff up pathiris, gently press the sides with a cloth/spatula. Then flip on other side and cook while you press again. 

Serving methods

This is normally paired with Mutton Curry. I served it with Kerala Kadala Curry.

You can serve kids with coconut milk poured over it with sprinkled sugar on top. 


Nivedhanams Sowmya April 14, 2014 at 12:03 AM  

Born in Kerala in the previous birth - lol:)

The roti is kinda new to me.. very unique I should say..

Priya Suresh April 14, 2014 at 1:04 AM  

I want born in Kerala in my next birth(its my wish since ever i went to Alapuzha).

Pathiri and kadala curry looks fantastic.

vaishali sabnani April 14, 2014 at 7:40 AM  

the coconut oil does make a difference in taste and since our taste buds are not used to...the flavor is not liked.I completely omitted it, The curry looks interesting with that bread.

Suma Gandlur April 14, 2014 at 8:21 AM  

I love these pathiris, Valli. If I am correct, I think these kind of rottis are made in some parts of Karnataka too and I have eaten those. Loving your bread series and am still wondering what are you going to cook for the rest of the north Indian states.

Rajani S April 14, 2014 at 8:40 AM  

Pathiri is very common in the Northern parts of Kerala. In the South, we dont see much of pathiris :(.

These thin beauties are a sure treat!

The Pumpkin Farm April 14, 2014 at 9:42 AM  

Valli , even for me pathiri seems familiar, it is what we called ukadachi bhakri, same as bhakris except they are precooked and rolled out. such fascinating linkages...your plate of curry and pathiri look gorgeous

Finla April 14, 2014 at 2:36 PM  

I miss kadal curry like this, we had them with puttu at home, this looks so good too.

Gayathri Sathyanarayanan April 14, 2014 at 11:04 PM  

Pathiri and kadala curry looks delicious. well explained.very tempting.

Varadas Kitchen April 16, 2014 at 9:55 AM  

Pathiri look nice. But that is one spicy curry. You have added so many chili peppers! :)

Gayathri Kumar April 16, 2014 at 1:38 PM  

I learnt this pathiri from my friend who used to make super soft, fluffy large pathiris. This combo with kadala curry looks yummm....

Nalini's Kitchen April 18, 2014 at 2:20 AM  

Such a classic combo,appam and kadala makes me drool...Pathiri turned out very well.

Jayanthi Padmanabhan April 18, 2014 at 12:23 PM  

I am learning new dishes everyday.. the pathiri sounds like a nice and light bread. would go great with spicy curries.

Harini-Jaya R April 18, 2014 at 8:53 PM  

I had planned for these pathiris as well but logistics didn't work out. I must prepare these though. Loved the look of it.

Saraswathi Tharagaram April 23, 2014 at 8:10 AM  

Perfect Combo!! they looks sooo good dear.. Made this several time and my kids love it!!

Chef Mireille April 24, 2014 at 9:42 AM  

I was originally going to post Pathiri but when I made them, they did not come out well so I switched. I love the flavor of coconut oil so I will be with the rest of your family minus hubby and loving this combo for sure

Pavani N April 28, 2014 at 8:13 AM  

Those pathiris are perfectly made -- great job on rolling those out so round and uniform, especially since this is a gluten free roti.. Kadala curry looks delicious.

Archana Potdar April 29, 2014 at 7:09 PM  

Valli the Pathiris are so beautifully made. Did you use a lid? No with you that is not possible. I was linking your roti making skills to mine ;D Sorry.
Love the kadla currry.

Padmajha PJ May 6, 2014 at 7:27 PM  

Love the way you have plated the dishes with the plantain leaf and the curry in the coconut shell.So typically Kerala! And nice recipes too:)

Usha May 6, 2014 at 7:48 PM  

I did not like the flavor of star aneese in my Goan curry, even thought I used very small quantity. It is probably an acquired taste.

Nice recipes for the state.

Sandhya Ramakrishnan May 11, 2014 at 8:11 AM  

Lovely selection from Kerala! Again love the way you have made the pathiri :)

Priya Srinivasan May 13, 2014 at 9:34 AM  

Love that kadala curry valli. I have tasted rice roti's @ my friend's place while in college. My hubby too doesn't prefer coconut oil in cooking much!!

Manjula Bharath May 27, 2014 at 10:31 PM  

wow such an delicious combo even i made pathiri they looks super soft valli :) I even wish to be born in Kerala in my next birth just becoz I love the language and cuisine there :) kadala curry is my H's fav , even mine too you have made it very delicious loving it :)

Sapana Behl May 29, 2014 at 2:10 PM  

I too enjoyed kadala curry once I made ..with that roti it must be delicious. ,

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