This black-eyed peas recipe is called chawli curry, or lobia in North India. A simple and easy curry that is made with onions, tomatoes, and coconut. It’s vegan and makes a perfect meal over steamed rice or even Indian bread such as appas, naan, or chapati.
There are so many names for this legume depending on where you grow up. I grew up with my mom calling these Chawli, Chavli, or Usal (pronounced oo-sal). My north Indian friends of course refer to this as Lobia. Of course, the English name for this is often black-eyed peas or black-eyed beans.
No matter the name, they are easy to distinguish. Simple pale kidney-shaped beans with a prominent black or brown dot. When dried/dehydrated they are very small and once hydrated they become twice the original size.
They are full of protein and fiber which makes these perfect for a meal. They keep you full longer and have a high nutritional value.
This black eyed peas recipe, chawli curry is very traditional and authentic to East Indian cooking using the traditional frithad masala. Today, I am using black-eyed beans but you can use kidney beans or other beans such as horse gram, moth beans, etc.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Masala paste – fresh spices put in a food processor gives these a nice flavor and bring out the richness of the spices. We use red hydrated chilies which add fiber and color to the curry.
- Spices – I have used whole cumin and coriander seeds but you can also use powdered just as well.
- Onions – I like using red onions for a slightly sweeter flavor but white or brown onions work just as well. Make sure to cook them until almost caramelized for the best flavor.
- Tomatoes – add a tangy yet, sweet taste and color to the curry.
- Tamarind -has a very unique tangy taste but you can also use lemon juice or vinegar instead.
This black-eyed peas curry will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. You can even freeze it in an airtight container for up to a month.
Not just beans, most legumes and pulses that need rehydration are better soaked and hydrated before they are cooked. The soaking helps remove some of the indigestible sugars that cause flatulence. This is why back in the old days our moms and grand-moms never looked for quick and easy ways to cook these. They’d rather take care of our tummies for us.
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- Kitchen Knife
- Cutting Board
- Wooden spoon
- 2 cups (344 g) Black-Eyed Beans soaked for 4 – 6 hours, then drained
- 2 large Onions sliced
- 2 large Potatoes Optional
- 2 large Tomatoes diced
- 2 tbsp Fresh tamarind soaked in ½ cup water or 1 tsp tamarind paste
- 1 tsp Salt (to taste)
- 3 tbsp Cooking oil or ghee
Masala – Grind to a paste
- 8 large Red chiles – dried soaked in 2 cups hot water or 1 tbsp chilli powder
- 8 large Garlic cloves
- 3 inch Fresh Ginger peeled
- 1 tbsp Cumin seed Jeera or 1 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tbsp Coriander seed Dhania or 1 tbsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 6 dried Cloves lavang or ¼ tsp clove powder
- 4 dried Cardamoms Green or ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- 6 black Peppercorns or ½ tsp black pepper powder
- 2 tbsp Sesame seeds Teel
- 2 tbsp Poppy seed khus khus
- 1 cup Coconut grated (or ½ cup coconut cream)
- Masala paste – In the bowl of a food processor or blender add all the masala paste ingredients with 1/4 cup of water from the soaked chilies. Add more water if necessary until you have a smooth paste. Pro tip – I left the seeds in the chilies for spice but you can remove the seeds to make this less spicy.
- Paste – Once the onions are nicely golden add the prepared masala paste and chopped tomatoes. Saute on medium-low heat adding a few tablespoons of water to prevent burning. Pro tip – the spices in the paste will start to give a nice aroma but it can easily burn so keep the heat to low and add water as necessary.
- Peas – Next, add the drained black-eyed peas, potatoes, tamarind water/paste and 4 cups of water. Season with salt and pepper. Pro tip – this looks like a lot of water but it will be absorbed by the peas.
- Pressure cookStovetop pressure cooker – Cover the pressure cooker and cook on medium-high for 12 – 15 minutes (about 4 whistles) Release pressure naturally.Instant pot – Press the cancel button to stop sauteing then close the lid and seal the vent. Press the pressure cooker button (on high) and set the timer for 15minutes. Let pressure release naturally.
- Garnish – When you open the pressure cooker. Taste, and adjust for seasoning and consistency. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. Pro tip – if serving this curry with rice you may want to have some gravy so add a little water and bring to a boil. If serving it with chapati a thicker consistency is preferable.
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