Black Eyed Peas Recipe | Black Eyed Peas Curry

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A robust and spicy curry full of flavors is what the Kerala style Black Eyed Peas Recipe is. Made with black eyed peas which are also referred to as black eyed beans, this Black Eyed Peas Curry recipe is not just cooked in coconut oil but also finished with a generous drizzle of the same. The robust curry is made with many spices plus herbs and this elevates the taste of the overall dish. This delicious curry can be a unique feature in your home menu once a while. Go for it!

black eyed peas curry in an off-white bowl.

About This Black Eyed Peas Recipe

This Black Eyed Peas Recipe or the fiery masala curry that features black eyed peas and is a special of the cuisine of Kerala, can be referred to as closely related to its counterparts from other regions of India.

For instance, Punjab has its Lobia Masala made in an onion-tomato gravy and the Gujaratis love their lobia curry made in a gram flour-tamarind gravy.

Black eyed beans or cowpea, also called as lobia or rongi in Hindi and chawli in Marathi is quite an underrated legume when it comes to personal preferences of people. It is an excellent source of nutrients which is super for the health.

But because of its unpopularity, it can be rightly called as a ‘healthy hidden gem.’ Though it is a native to Africa, it is also cultivated in Asia/Southeast Asia, Latin America and some parts of south United States.

As much as the traditional choice of legume for making this recipe of curry is mostly black eyed beans or lobia, it can also be prepared with red cowpeas. It is going to be just as delicious as the original.

More On The Curry

This Black Eyed Peas Recipe recipe is one of the chosen ones from my dad’s recipe book. I take the same ingredients and make a yummy curry with black eyed beans and sometimes even mushrooms.

This Black Eyed Peas Curry recipe also uses both whole as well as powdered spices. Thus, has piquant, aromatic and has complex flavors. To cut down on the spice level, the quantity of black pepper and red chili powder can be reduced.

Pairing this curry with a simple steamed rice would be the ideal thing to have a homely wholesome meal ready in a matter of minutes. It can also be savored with Naan, Appam, Idiyappam, Parotta or soft dosas like Poha Dosa, sponge dosa or Neer Dosa.

This Kerala special lobia curry is an easy recipe and if you have an affinity towards this particular legume, you must definitely give it a try.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Black Eyed Peas Curry

Cook Black Eyed Peas

1. Rinse 1 cup dried black eyed beans in water for a couple of times. Then add the rinsed beans in a 2 liter pressure cooker.

I have cooked the beans in a stovetop pressure cooker. You can also cook them in a pan on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot adding water as needed.

Note that cooking black eyed beans in a pan/pot with water will take more time.

If using canned black eyed peas, then follow the the recipe from step 5 onwards. Drain the water from the peas and rinse them a few times in water before proceeding with the recipe.

adding rinsed black eyed beans in pressure cooker

2. Add 2.5 cups water.

adding water to black eyed beans

3. Pressure cook on medium heat for 10 to 12 whistles.

pressure cooking black eyed beans

4. When the pressure settles down naturally, open the lid and check if the beans are cooked well. Using a strainer or colander, drain the water and set the cooked beans aside.

The beans have to be completely cooked but not mushy or pasty. If they are under cooked, then add some more water and pressure cook for a few more whistles.

checking doneness of black eyed beans

5. While the black eyed beans are getting cooked, you can prep the other ingredients. Chop pearl onions (shallots or onions), tomatoes, ginger, garlic and green chilies.

chopping other ingredients for vellapayar curry

Make Black Eyed Peas Recipe

6. Heat 3 tablespoons coconut oil in a pan.

heating coconut oil in pan

7. Keep heat to a low, add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and let them crackle.

crackling mustard seeds in hot coconut oil

8. When the mustard seeds crackle, then add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds. Let cumin seeds splutter.

spluttering cumin seeds in hot coconut oil

9. Now add the following spices:

  • 2 pieces each of 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 4 cloves 
  • 1 dried red chili (seeds removed)

Fry for 1 to 2 seconds till the spices are fragrant. The frying of the spices should be done on low heat.

frying cinnamon, green cardamoms, cloves and dried red chili

10. Add ⅓ cup chopped pearl onions (or ⅓ cup chopped onions or shallots). Give a stir.

adding chopped pearl onions

11. Add 8 to 10 curry leaves.

adding curry leaves

12. Then add 1 teaspoon chopped ginger and 1 teaspoon chopped garlic.

adding chopped ginger and garlic

13. Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coconut.

adding chopped fresh coconut

14. Mix well.

mixing ingredients in pan well

15. Add ¼ teaspoon black pepper, slightly crushed.

adding slightly crushed black pepper

16. Mix and sauté till the onions become translucent.

sauté till onions are translucent

17. Now add ½ cup chopped tomatoes and 2 green chilies, slit.

adding chopped tomatoes and slit green chilies

18. Mix well.

mixing ingredients well

19. Then add the below listed ground spices:

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder (optional)
adding spices - turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder

20. Mix again and begin to sauté tomatoes on a low to medium heat, till the tomatoes soften and become mushy.

When sautéing the tomatoes, you can add a few tablespoons of water if the tomato mixture dries up or starts sticking to the pan.

sautéing tomatoes on low heat

21. Now add 1.5 cups water or add as required.

adding water

22. Add the cooked black eyed beans.

adding cooked black eyed beans

23. Season with salt as per taste.

adding salt to black eyed beans

24. Mix again.

mixing black eyed beans

25. On a low to medium-low heat, simmer Black Eyed Peas Curry for 10 to 12 minutes or till the gravy thickens. With a spoon, mash some black eyed beans to thicken the gravy.

cooking vellapayar curry till gravy thickens

26. Once the curry is done, switch off the heat and add 3 to 4 curry leaves. Also drizzle 1 teaspoon coconut oil.

Stir and cover the pan. Let the flavors infuse for 4 to 5 minutes.

adding curry leaves and coconut oil to cooked vellapayar curry

27. Serve Black Eyed Peas Curry with steamed rice or Indian breads of your choice. You can garnish the curry with coriander leaves if you want.

black eyed peas curry in an off-white bowl.

Expert Tips

  1. Use black eyed beans that are within their shelf life and fresh. Do not use aged beans as they takes a lot of time to cook and do not taste good.
  2. The time to pressure cook the black eyed peas will depend on the quality of beans.
  3. If cooking black eyed peas in a pot – rinse and soak beans in enough water for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. Then boil black eyed beans with 3 to 4 cups of water with ½ teaspoon of salt till they are softened and well cooked.
  4. If the black eyed beans are undercooked add some more water and pressure cook for a few more whistles. Keep in mind not to overcook the beans as they become mushy or pasty.
  5. The spices should be fried on low heat or else they have a chance of burning.
  6. While cooking the curry, mash some black eyed beans with a spoon to thicken the gravy.
  7. To reduce spiciness, add less black pepper and red chili powder.
  8. Instead of adding the coconut slices while sautéing, you can also fry them separately in oil till they become golden and crisp, then garnish the dish with these fried coconut slices.

More Indian Lentil Recipes To Try!

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black eyed peas curry in an off-white bowl.

Black Eyed Peas Recipe | Black Eyed Peas Curry

This Black Eyed Peas Recipe is of a robust, spicy, tasty and Kerala style Black Eyed Peas Curry made with pearl onions, tomatoes and lots of spices and herbs.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine Kerala, South Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

For cooking black eyed peas

  • 1 cup dried black eyed peas (black eyed beans, vellapayar, lobia or chawli)
  • 2.5 cups water – for pressure cooking

For making black eyed peas curry

  • 3 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (black mustard seeds)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 pieces each of 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 4 cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper – slightly crushed
  • 1 dried red chili – seeds removed
  • cup sliced pearl onions or ⅓ cup chopped shallots or onions
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coconut
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 green chilies – slit
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala – optional
  • 1.5 cups water or add as required
  • salt as required
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil – to be added later
  • 3 to 4 curry leaves – to be added later

Instructions
 

Cooking black eyed peas

  • Rinse the black eyed peas in water for a couple of times. Then add the rinsed beans in a 2 liter pressure cooker.
  • Add 2.5 cups water.
  • Pressure cook for 10 to 12 whistles on medium heat. Timing will vary on the quality of vellapayar.
    You can also cook the beans in an Instant Pot or in a pan on the stovetop adding water as needed.
  • When the pressure settles down naturally, open the lid and check if the beans are cooked well.
    The beans have to be completely cooked but not mushy or pasty. If they are undercooked, then add some more water and pressure cook for a few more whistles.
  • Using a strainer, strain the beans and discard the water or liquids from the cooker.
  • When the beans are getting cooked, you can prep the other ingredients. Chop pearl onions (shallots or onions), tomatoes, ginger, garlic and green chilies.

Making black eyed peas recipe

  • Heat 3 tablespoons coconut oil in a pan.
  • Keep heat to low, add the black mustard seeds and let them crackle.
  • When the mustard seeds crackle, then add cumin seeds. Let cumin seeds splutter.
  • Now add the cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms, cloves and dry red chili. Fry for 1 to 2 seconds till the spices are fragrant. The frying of the spices should be done on low heat.
  • Add the sliced pearl onions or shallots or onions. Give a stir.
  • Add curry leaves, 1 teaspoon chopped ginger and 1 teaspoon chopped garlic.
  • Also add chopped fresh coconut and mix well.
  • Next add black pepper, slightly crushed.
  • Mix and sauté till the onions become translucent.
  • Now add chopped tomatoes and slit green chilies. Mix well.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder (optional).
  • Mix again and begin to sauté tomatoes on a low to medium heat till the tomatoes soften and look mushy.
    When sautéing the tomatoes, you can add a few tablespoons of water if the tomato mixture dries up or starts sticking to the pan.
  • Add 1.5 cups water or add as required depending on the consistency preferred.
  • Add the cooked black eyed peas.
  • Season with salt as per taste, mix again.
  • On a low to medium-low heat, simmer the curry for 10 to 12 minutes till the gravy thickens. With a spoon, mash some beans to thicken the gravy.
  • Once the Black Eyed Beans Curry is done, then switch off the heat and add 3 to 4 curry leaves.
    Also drizzle 1 teaspoon coconut oil. Stir and cover the pan. Let the flavors infuse for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Serve Kerala style Black Eyed Peas Curry with steamed rice, roti, paratha or naan or soft dosas. You can garnish the curry with coriander leaves if you like.

Notes

  1. If using canned beans, with a strainer, first drain the liquid from the can and rinse the beans in fresh water. Drain the water and set the beans aside. Follow the recipe instructions of sautéing spices, onions, tomatoes and then add the canned beans. Add water as needed and simmer until the curry consistency thickens. 
  2. Use dried black eyed beans that are within their shelf life and fresh. Try not to use aged beans as they takes a lot of time to cook and do not taste good.
  3. Note that the time to pressure cook the soaked black eyed peas will depend on the quality of beans.
  4. For cooking black eyed peas in a pan or pot on the stovetop – first rinse and soak beans in enough water for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. Then boil black eyed beans with 3 to 4 cups of water with ½ teaspoon of salt till they are softened and well cooked.
  5. If the black eyed beans are undercooked add some more water and pressure cook for a few more whistles. Keep in mind not to overcook the beans as they become mushy or pasty.
  6. Remember to fry the whole spices on low heat or else they have a chance of burning.
  7. To reduce spiciness, add less black pepper and red chili powder.
  8. Instead of adding the coconut slices while sautéing, you can also fry them separately in coconut oil till they become golden and crisp, then garnish the curry with these fried coconut slices.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Black Eyed Peas Recipe | Black Eyed Peas Curry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 277 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Sodium 393mg17%
Potassium 590mg17%
Carbohydrates 32g11%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 370IU7%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.4mg27%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.1mg6%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 33mg165%
Vitamin B6 0.2mg10%
Vitamin C 63mg76%
Vitamin E 0.5mg3%
Vitamin K 5µg5%
Calcium 90mg9%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 596µg149%
Iron 4mg22%
Magnesium 93mg23%
Phosphorus 204mg20%
Zinc 2mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Black Eyed Peas recipe post from the archives, first published in June 2010 has been updated and republished on November 2022.

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