Legumes and lentils are an integral part of our everyday menu. Not a day goes by where we do not consume a lentil in some form or the other. If not any other legume, Toor dal or pigeon peas is sure to be consumed almost everyday either in the form of Sambar or rasam. There is something about legumes that makes a meal hearty. All you need is a simple dal and a bowl of rice and the meal is bound to become wholesome and nourishing. Perhaps that is the reason, I am always finding new ways to fit more legumes and lentils into my diet. And this dish is one such attempt.
The best part about living in Tanzania is that one gets to eat fruits and vegetables that are free from pesticides. Legumes like kidney beans and cow peas or black eyed peas are often available fresh at my door step. All through my six year stay in Tanzania, never once have I purchased dried legumes. So when my vegetable vendor got these fresh and shelled cow peas at my door step, I could not help but buy some. I normally use cow peas in sambar, but this time I decided to use this legume in the onion and tomato gravy instead.
Lobia masala is a healthy variation to the regular dal fry or dal makhani. The cow peas are pressure cooked and simmered in onion and tomato gravy that is flavoured with spices. This curry is rich in a subdued earthy way. This aromatic stew is best served with tikona (triangular) parathas or just plain rice. But if you want a to make your meal a little more richer and substantial, then I suggest serving Lobia masala with ghee rice. I assure you it will take the flavors to a whole new level.
Lobia Masaledar recipe
Preparation time- 20min
Cooking time: 15min
Fresh Lobia or cowpeas- 250 gms
Onion- 1 med, finely chopped
Tomatoes- two large, finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste- 1tsp
Green chili- 1, slit
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Bay leaf- 1
Red chili powder- 1/2tsp
Cumin seed powder- 1/2tsp
Coriander seed powder- 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- A pinch
Salt to taste
Butter- 1tbsp (optional)
Coriander leaves to garnish
- Pressure cook the cow peas with 1-1/2 cups of water for 4-5 whistles or till tender and keep aside.
- Heat oil in thick bottmed pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they sputter, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves and fry for a min.
- Add the chopped onion, and green chili and fry till the onion turns pink. Stir in the ginger-garlic paste and fry for two more mins so that the raw smell is removed.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for a min. Add the turmeric, salt, sugar, red chili powder, coriander, cumin seed powders and fry for 5min till the mixture is mushy and the oil separates.
- Stir in the cooked cow peas and garam masala and mix well. Allow the mixture to simmer for five more min. If using butter, then add at this stage and mix.
- Take off the heat and garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or rotis.
- If using dry cow peas, then it would have to be soaked for 5-6 hrs or overnight before proceeding to make the curry.
- The use of butter is optional. You can omit using butter if you want to make this dish vegan.