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Indian Black Eyed Peas in Tamarind and Coconut Curry Sauce

Imlee Lobhia

Cuisine: Indian
Region: Common

Black Eyed Peas in Tamarind and Coconut Curry Sauce is dairy-less, meatless, satisfying and comforting one-pot recipe from India. Enjoy!

Yields approx. 9 cups or 2 Liters
Cooking time: approx. 60 min
You need: a heavy bottomed stock pot with a lid, a food blender/processor, a bowl, a strainer and a frying pan
Notes: requires soaking overnight


  • 3 cups (glasses, about 500g or about 1 Lb) dried black-eyed peas, picked over, washed, soaked overnight, and drained.
  • 1 Tsp turmeric powder
  • 8 cups (glasses, about 2 Liters) boiling water, divided
  • 1 dried tamarind pulp cube, about 5 cm / 2 inch
  • 1 large tomato, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow or red onion, diced
  • 1 piece of ginger about 3 cm or 1 Inch, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 to 3 fresh Thai or cayenne chillies, stems removed and finely sliced
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 2 Tsp red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 cup (glass) of regular or light coconut milk


  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro


In the beginning

  1. Take a heavy bottomed stock pot.
  2. Add to it the lobhia, the turmeric and 7 cups (approx. 1.7 Liters) of water.
  3. Turn the fire on to medium high and bring to a boil. It may take some time.
  4. After coming to a boil, reduce the fire to medium low.
  5. Partially cover the pot with the lid and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the lobhia is soft.
  6. Turn off the fire, cover the pot and set it aside to cool off. Do NOT drain the water.

Tamarind pulp

  1. While the stock pot is cooking…
  2. Soak the tamarind pulp in the remaining 1 cup / 240 mL of water (preferably warm) for 10 to 20 or even 30 minutes – depending on the quality of the pulp and the temperature of the water.
  3. Then, with your clean and washed hands, break down the pulp and squeeze the liquid out. The point here is to turn water into tamarind juice.
  4. Strain the juice with a fine strainer.
  5. Discard the pulp, seeds, and fiber.
  6. With a blender or a food processor combine the tamarind juice with the tomato and blend to a watery paste. Set aside.


  1. Take a frying pan, add the coconut oil.
  2. Turn the fire on to medium high.
  3. Wait a for a few beats and then add the onion.
  4. Cook it for 6 to 7 minutes, until brown. Caramelized is OK, too.
  5. Add the ginger and the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  6. Slowly and tenderly add to the pan the tamarind/tomato paste, the fresh chillies and the brown sugar.
  7. Stir the mixture well and cook for another 4 minutes.
  8. Turn off the fire and transfer the mixture to the stock pot containing the lobhia.

Back to the stock pot

  1. Turn the fire on to medium–high and add the coriander, the red chilli powder, and salt.
  2. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk and cook for 1 minute, until warmed through.
  4. Turn off the fire.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.
  6. Garnish with the cilantro and it’s done.


  • Serve with brown or white Basmati rice or Naan bread. See notes.

Notes on Indian Black Eyed Peas in Tamarind and Coconut Curry Sauce

  • Alternative to the stock pot: a Dutch Oven.
  • If you want to make your own Naan bread, here’s a recipe/video.

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