black eyed peas curry

Black Eyed Peas Curry Recipe

By Swasthi on May 17, 2023, Comments, Jump to Recipe

February 5, 2023

This Black Eyed Peas Curry is a hearty, comforting and nutritious dish of soft cooked cowpeas/ black eyed beans in a flavorsome gravy. Serve it over steamed rice, quinoa, steel cut oats or millets. Black Eyed Peas Curry also goes well with any flatbreads like Naan, Chapati, Paratha or even with artisan breads.

Black eyed peas curry

Dried Black Eyed Peas are soaked overnight and precooked until tender. Later simmered in a curry base made with onions, tomatoes, potatoes, spices and herbs to make a super delicious dish that you will love. For a quicker dish, you can opt to used canned black eyed peas.

About Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas aka cowpeas originated in West Africa and had been cultivated in India and China from the times immemorial. They travelled to America along with the Africans & became a popular legume. You will find various legends on how the Southern Americans began to cook them as a part of New Year meals to bring good luck. (source – Wikipedia)

It is surprising that these black eyed peas are cooked all over the world in so many different ways. Hoppin’ John, akara and moin moin are some of the popular dishes made with Black eyed peas. Apart from that, they are also used to make fritters, salads, soups, stews and curry.

This curry is one of the several ways to cook with black eyed peas in Indian Cuisine. They are known by different names rongi, lobia, chawli, alasandalu, karamani etc. I am sure you will love these soft, mouth-melting and creamy beans with a burst of flavors.

black eyed peas recipe

My Recipe

In this post I share my Mom’s recipe which is easy to make and needs only pantry staples. I love to work with dried beans so I have shown the same in this post from scratch. However if you do not prefer that you can simply use canned beans.

I don’t know why but we always love potatoes in this curry. Diced potatoes soak up all the flavors and taste delicious. However you may skip them to save 10 mins of the cook time or use meat of choice if you want.

More similar recipes,
Green Moong Dal Curry
Horsegram Dal
Chickpea Curry
Rajma Masala
Dal Makhani
Chana Saag

How to make Black Eyed Peas Curry (Stepwise Photos)


1. Rinse 1 cup black eyed peas at least thrice and soak them in 4 cups water for at least 4 to 8 hours. I prefer soaking them overnight. Do not cover the bowl completely when you soak. Cover it with a cloth or a mesh basket so air circulates. The next morning rinse them well.

Soaked black eyed peas

If you do not have a pressure cooker, you may cook in a pot, following my Pro tips section below.

2. Add them to a bowl and pour 1 cup water. I do not add salt to my beans while cooking, if you want you may add. Pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles on a medium heat. If using instant pot, pressure for 8 mins. If you soak them for fewer hours (less than 8 hours), increase the cook time. 2 to 3 whistles and 8 mins of IP time is for overnight soaked beans. The cooked beans should be soft, yet hold shape and when you squeeze, it should be get mashed easily.

3. While your beans cook, chop and prepare:

  • 1 cup fine chopped onions (1 large)
  • 1½ cup chopped tomatoes or 1¼ cup fresh pureed sweet tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic (grated/ paste/ crushed, half tbsp each)

4. You will need the following spices (whole spices are optional):

  • ¾ to 1½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (adjust to taste, I use 1½)
  • 1 to 1½ teaspoon garam masala (or meat masala, adjust to taste)
  • 1 to 1½ teaspoon coriander powder (adjust to taste)
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon cumin powder (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf (or 1 sprig curry leaves)
  • 1 inch cinnamon piece ( optional)

I also prefer to use half teaspoon fennel seeds powder.

5. Peel and dice potato to 1.5 inch cubes and keep them immersed in water until used. You may skip the potatoes in the recipe and save 10 minutes cook time.

Make the curry

6. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons oil to a hot pan. Add cinnamon and a bay leaf.

7. Add the onions and begin to saute them on a medium high heat until golden.

8. After 6 to 7 mins, stir in the ginger garlic and sauce for a minute.

9. Lower the heat. Stir in all the ground spices and salt.

10. Pour the tomatoes puree or chopped tomatoes. (If using canned tomatoes or passata, add it later after cooking the potatoes.)

11. Mix and cook on a medium high heat until the raw tomato flavor is gone.

12. Add the potatoes along with 1 cup hot water. Mix well. Bring it to a rolling boil and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender.

13. Don’t overcook the potatoes, they should be almost cooked yet firm.

14. Add the cooked black eyed peas along with the stock (beans cooked water). (If using canned beans, add them to a colander, rinse thoroughly under running water. Make sure they are tender yet hold shape.)

15. Pour 1 cup additional water and give a stir. If using canned peas, you will need more water. Bring this to a rolling boil and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for 7 to 10 mins until the cowpeas are flavorful. The peas should not get mushy at this stage.

16. When it is done, take a few tablespoons of the black eyed peas and mash well to smooth. Stir that back into the curry, so it thickens.

17. Taste test and add more salt or garam masala if you want. Add chopped coriander leaves.

Serve black eyed peas over rice, quinoa, millets or steel cut oats. Roti, chapati, naan, paratha and artisan breads also go well.

black eyed peas curry recipe

Pro Tips

Cook beans in Pot: Soak the dried black eyed peas overnight with 4 cups water and half teaspoon baking soda. Rinse them well later and bring 3 cups water to a rolling boil and add the beans. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender for about 1 hour or more. They should be soft yet hold shape.

Soaking: Black eyed peas actually do not need a long soak. They are ready to cook after 3 to 4 hours but for convenience I prefer to soak them overnight. The pressure cook time will be slightly longer if you soak them for fewer hours (less than overnight).

Instant Soak: If you forgot to soak them and want to cook instantly, bring 3 cups water to a rolling boil and add the black eyed peas. Cover and rest them for an hour. Pressure cook for longer than mentioned in the recipe.

Meat Masala: My Mom always used a stronger masala for this recipe. I however do not have that spice blend so I prefer to use this biryani masala in combination with garam masala. The recipe works with a good garam masala or a meat masala. You just need to adjust the quantity.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

black eyed peas curry recipe

Black Eyed Peas Curry Recipe

Soft and buttery black eyed peas in a delicious, spicy and flavorsome curry. Serve it over rice, quinoa, millets or with any flatbreads like roti, chapati, paratha or naan.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Soaking time8 hours
Total Time40 minutes
Diet : Gluten Free, Vegan

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

To cook the beans

  • 1 cup dry black eyed peas (lobia or 2¾ cups soaked or 2½ cups canned or precooked)
  • 1 cup water for pressure cooker (4 cups to cook in pot)

For the Curry

  • 1 cup onions (fine chopped, 1 large)
  • cup tomatoes (chopped or 1¼ cup pureed tomatoes or ¾ cup passata, read notes)
  • 1 large potato (optional, read notes)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic grated or crushed or paste (½ tablespoon each)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 bay leaf (or 1 sprig curry leaves)
  • 1 inch cinnamon piece ( optional)
  • ¾ to 1½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder (adjust to taste, I use 1½)
  • 1 to 1½ teaspoon garam masala (or meat masala, adjust to taste)
  • 1 to 1½ teaspoon coriander powder (adjust to taste)
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon cumin powder (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 to 2 cups hot water (2 cups if using potatoes, adjust as required)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves (fine chopped)


Preparation (Skip to use canned beans)

  • Rinse the dry black eyed peas well thrice and soak them for at least 4 to 8 hours. Cover the bowl with a mesh basket/ lid or cloth if you want. Avoid covering it completely.
  • Later rinse them well with fresh water twice and add them to a cooker or bowl along with water.
  • Place the bowl in your pressure cooker and secure the lid. Pressure cook until you hear 2 to 3 whistles on the stovetop pressure cooker. If using Instant pot, pressure cook for 8 to 10 mins. (read notes) If you do not have a cooker, please read pro tips section in the post to cook them in a pot.
  • Once the pressure drops naturally, open the lid and check, black eyed peas should be soft yet hold shape. They should get mashed easily when you squeeze.

How to make Black Eyed Peas Curry

  • While the beans cooks, chop onions, grate ginger garlic and puree tomatoes. Peel and dice the potatoes if using.
  • Pour oil to a pan and heat it. Add bay leaf and cinnamon if using.
  • When they begin to sizzle, add the onions and stir fry on a medium high heat for 6 to 7 minutes, until golden.
  • Add the ginger garlic and saute for a minute. Reduce the heat and stir in salt along with all the ground spices – red chilli powder, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin and turmeric.
  • Immediately pour the tomato puree (read notes). Cook for a few minutes until the raw flavor of tomatoes is gone & the onion tomato masala turns thick. This step takes 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Optional – Add the potatoes along with 1 cup hot water. Stir well & bring to a boil on a high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender yet firm and not mushy.
  • Transfer the black eyed peas (precooked or canned) along with the stock (beans cooked water). (If using canned beans, drain the liquid off and rinse them well under running water before adding to the curry).
  • Pour 1 cup or more hot water (as required) and bring this to a rolling boil on a high heat. Reduce and cook covered on a medium heat for 7 to 10 mins, until the curry is thick and the beans are flavorful.
  • Take a few tablespoons of black eyed peas & mash them well to smooth with another spoon. Stir that back to the curry to thicken it further. Taste test and add more salt or garam masala for more flavor.
  • Turn off and garnish black eyed peas curry with chopped coriander leaves. Serve it over steamed rice, quinoa, steel cut oats or millets. It also goes well with naan, roti, chapati or artisan breads.


  1. Potatoes: Using potatoes is optional. You can also replace that with meat of choice. Add more ground spices to taste depending on the kind of meat you use.
  2. Tomatoes: Use sweet tomatoes. If using passata or sour tomatoes or canned tomatoes, add it after cooking the potatoes. Passata or any canned tomatoes will hinder the potatoes from cooking faster.
  3. Black Eyed Peas: Make sure the black eyed peas are soft, tender yet not mushy before adding to the curry. If your canned beans are too firm, cook them for a while in plain water until tender.
  4. You can opt to use boiled or parboiled potatoes but note that they won’t soak up the flavors as much as cooking them in the curry. Add them along with the cooked beans.
  5. If using canned beans, use more water to cook the curry.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.


Watch Black Eyed Peas Curry Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Black Eyed Peas Curry Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 249 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 0.03g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Sodium 619mg27%
Potassium 806mg23%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 951IU19%
Vitamin C 22mg27%
Calcium 88mg9%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Black Eyed Peas Curry Recipe

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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
My wife was laughing when I asked her to add meat masala in lobia. But trust me that took this recipe to another level. Everyone must try..

5 stars
This was great! I was bored with my previous recipe so was looking for something new. Glad I tried this! Used overnight soaked beans and sweet potatoes. Pressure cooked for 10 minutes in the Instant pot. Perfectly spiced and turned out delicious! Thank you for the awesome recipe

5 stars
I made this for my first dinner of 2024. People of the southern parts of the US believe it is good luck to eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day. My batch turned out really well and I’m eating and enjoying it right now. Thank you!

5 stars
This my first time cooking chavli. My potatoes took much longer to cook. Possibly a little to big. My gravy is probably a little thick but not a bad first attempt. Thanks for the recipe. Very tasty.I’ll make chicken curry tomorrow. Thank you very much for the recipe.

5 stars
Made this with chole masala and my dad said “what a delicious dish”. Thank you for the easy instructions. I have been cooking with your recipes since early this year and everything I have made turned out very good.

5 stars
Made this curry in Instant pot and it turned out delicious. Soaked the beans overnight and cooked for 13 mins on high pressure. Perfect!

5 stars
Great recipe. Thank you. Delicious and economical. I’ve been sitting with black eyed peas in my cupboard for over a year.

5 stars
I wasn’t raised with black-eyed peas, but I’d been introduced to them from trying my hand at cooking west African dishes (Akara is sooo good!). The flavor of this curry plus the soft beans and potato are in perfect harmony! Did the whole thing in the IP, making it very contained and quick. Fantastic!

Can eggplants be used in this recipe? At what stage do I add? Any advice?

5 stars
Thank you Swasti, I made this last night with both eggplants potatoes and it was delicious.

5 stars
I got to enjoy this after Many years. Tasted exactly the way my Mom made. Thank you

5 stars
My husband said this is very delicious

5 stars
Thank you. It turned out amazing. Please add I stant pot instructions for this recipe. I have been following your recipes for many years now and absolutely love them.

Can this recipe ne made with canned red beans? Does it require any changes?

5 stars
As a Southerner, I felt crazy reading people from other nations cooking black eyed peas different from the way we do over here. So red beans was my initial choice. But later gave it a try with black eyed peas and voila it’s delicious!!! We had all the spices from another Indian recipe so didn’t have to look out for anything new. I sent the recipe to our families so they get to taste the flavors of Indian food.

5 stars
I was making a black eyed peas curry from your blog since many years. I wasn’t able to find it since last year and I also mailed you regarding that. Fortunately I found this recipe in my inbox. I made it last night and it turned out exactly like the previous one but spicy. Next time I will reduce the chili powder. Thank you for uploading it again.

5 stars
I tried this curry & loved it a lot. Thank you.

5 stars
Dear Swathi, your presentation is wonderful. Keep it up