Chawli Usal

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The Maharashtrian delicacy usal is a curried dish made with various legumes and lentils. It has many variations all across Maharashtra. Here’s the Chawli Usal recipe, a Konkan style version from my mother’s fabulous collection. This Chawli Usal is made with black eyed beans (chawli/lobia), is vegan and high on proteins apart from being delicious.

chawli usal served over a bed of rice on white plate.

What is Usal

Both usal and misal are two very famous dishes in Maharashtrian cuisine. But, don’t get confused between them. Usal also called ‘oosal,’ is usually a curry made with legumes, lentils or sprouted beans.

Whereas, misal which means “mixture” in Marathi is the usal curry or rassa topped with onions, chiwda or farsan, sev, lemon juice, coriander leaves and optionally curd (yogurt). This entire delicious mix is served with soft and fluffy pav a.k.a dinner rolls.

Just like this Chawli Usal that has black eyed beans in it, other usal recipes may have lentils, peas, moong, moth beans or hyacinth bean sprouts as the main ingredient. These are then stir fried in a hot masala paste of onions and spices with little water.

chawli usal served in a bowl, with steamed rice and salad.

According to the sprouts and their taste, the use of spices may vary. In addition to this Chawli Usal recipe, other usal recipes that you must give a try are Val Usal and Mixed Sprouts Usal. In case you want to try the misal recipe too, here it is for you – Misal Pav.

More on this Chawli Usal

We are a huge fan of this typical Konkan style Chawli Usal. In fact, we make a lot of other usal recipes with different legumes and lentils.

This Chawli Usal has black eyed beans cooked in a robust, roasted coconut-spices masala paste, so things really can’t go wrong here.

You can substitute the black eyed beans with moong or moth bean sprouts (matki), black chickpeas, whole masoor dal or tuvar dal, and still have a flavorful dish.

Depending on the level of heat you want, you can alter the quantity of red chili powder and garam masala powder in the recipe.

This dish is high on nutrition too because of the beans used in it. Pair the Chawli Usal with steamed rice, a refreshing Solkadi and salad of your choice, and relish some wholesome food. The spiciness of the usal is mellowed by the cooling kokum curry and makes for a perfect meal.

Chawli Usal also tastes awesome with pav (dinner rolls), chapati and phulka as well.

chawli usal served on steamed rice on a plate.

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chawli usal recipe, lobia curry recipe

Chawli Usal Recipe

Chawli Usal is a deliciously spiced coconut based curry made with black eyed beans. This recipe is from the Konkan cuisine and has a blend of flavorful coconut and spices.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 7 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 7 hrs 50 mins
Cuisine Indian, Konkani & Malvani, Maharashtrian
Course Main Course
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

Main ingredients

  • ½ cup black eyed beans (chawli, lobia or rongi)
  • 2.5 to 3 cups water – for pressure cooking beans
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Garam Masala or Malvani masala or goda masala
  • 1 onion – small-sized, chopped or about ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 1 tomato – medium-sized, chopped or about ½ cup chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups water – to be added to the usal or add as needed

For masala curry paste

  • ½ cup coconut – fresh, grated
  • 2 tablespoons dessicated coconut – unsweetened
  • 1 inch ginger – peeled and chopped
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves – small to medium-sized, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • ½ tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 onion – small-sized, chopped or about ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons oil

Instructions
 

Preparing the chawli (black eyed beans)

  • Rinse a few times in fresh water. Then soak the beans overnight in enough water.
  • Next day, drain the water. Rinse the beans again once or twice with water.
  • Pressure cook the beans with a bit of salt in 2.5 to 3 cups water for 5 to 6 minutes or 4 to 5 whistles on medium heat or until they are soft and tender but not mushy.
    Since the beans are soaked, they will cook faster.
  • When the pressure falls naturally in the cooker, then only open the lid. Take a few beans in a spoon and let them cool a bit.
  • Press them with your fingers and they should mash easily. You can also taste them. If they are undercooked, then pressure cook for some more minutes.
  • Drain the water and keep the cooked beans aside.

Making masala curry paste

  • In a pan, heat oil. Add the chopped onions. Sauté until the onions soften.
  • Now, add the chopped ginger and garlic and sauté for a minute on low heat.
  • Add the fennel seeds and coriander seeds.
  • Sauté for 1 minute or so or till the seeds start becoming crisp or are lightly browned.
  • Add the fresh grated coconut along with the dessicated coconut.
  • On a low heat, mix first and then roast the mixture till the coconut becomes golden brown. Stir often.
  • Keep on stirring, so that the coconut does not burn. Let this mixture cool.
  • Then, grind this coconut mixture in a small blender or mixer-grinder with some water.

Making chawli usal

  • Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped onions and sauté until they soften.
  • Add the ground masala paste and sauté for a minute.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, salt along with the cooked black eyed beans.
  • Stir to mix and add 2 cups water or as needed. Mix again.
  • This usal has a medium consistency, but you can make it slightly thick if you prefer.
  • Bring to a gentle boil without a lid and then simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Check the seasonings and add salt if needed.
  • Once all the flavors are blended in the curry and you see some oil floating on the top, remove from heat.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve Chawli Usal hot with steamed rice, chapati or bread.

Notes

  • Use beans which are in their shelf-life. 
  • You can make a spicy variation by adding green chillies to the curry or adding dry red chillies when roasting the coconut.
  • You can also cook the beans in an Instant Pot or in a pan/pot on the stovetop adding water as required.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Chawli Usal Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 189 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Sodium 27mg1%
Potassium 320mg9%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 337IU7%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.1mg7%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.1mg6%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 0.2mg10%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Vitamin E 4mg27%
Vitamin K 4µg4%
Calcium 59mg6%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 63µg16%
Iron 2mg11%
Magnesium 38mg10%
Phosphorus 88mg9%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Chawli Usal from the blog archives first published in April 2013 has been updated and republished on December 2022.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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23 Comments

  1. This is the second time i’m making this in a month! Beautiful flavors! I love your recipes because you simplify them with steps…so even a difficult recipe seems easy on your blog…I’ve tried so many of your recipes and all of them turn out good…..this is definately going into my recipe book as a favorite. This is my go to website for recipes from now on.5 stars

    1. very pleased to know this yogita 🙂 thanks for your kind words and positive feedback. god bless you.

  2. My mother’s recipe is much simpler. She prepares a tadka of hing and rai. When they stop sputtering she adds the soaked chawli, haldi, salt,chili powder and some jaggery, stir the mixture, then add a little water, cover and cook on medium flame for about ten to fifteen minutes until the water evaporates and the beans are soft. Garnish with grated coconut and cilantro.

    We are maharashtrians, by the way so the above recipe must be maharashtrian. I just made this for lunch today and will eat it with phulkas

    1. fairy, dessicated coconut is dried coconut flakes. you can use fresh coconut instead of dessicated coconut. it is needed as its an essential ingredient.

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