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Chawli Curry (Black Eyed Beans Curry)

Chawli beans are often considered a staple in Indian cuisine and are cooked in various forms. They are incredibly nutrient-dense, packing plenty of fiber and protein into each serving and are also a good source of several important micronutrients, including folate, copper, thiamine, and iron. Moreover, chawli beans are high in polyphenols, which are compounds that act as antioxidants in the body to prevent cell damage and protect against disease. The soluble fiber in chawli beans forms a gel-like consistency and moves through the digestive tract slowly keeping you feeling full between meals and is said to help control belly fat and keep obesity at bay.

Recipe credit: Darshana Muzumdar

Serves 4-6 as a part of an Indian meal.


  • 1 cup chawli beans (lobia/black-eyed peas/cow peas)
  • 1 tbsp heaped finely chopped or ground fresh ginger root (avoid if strict Jain)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp lime juice/tamarind pulp
  • 1 ½ tbsp besan (chickpea flour)
  • Salt to taste


Wash and soak the chawli beans for at least 4 hours. These absorb a lot of water so make sure you put at least 5 cups of water. Drain, rinse and cook the beans in a thick bottom steel pot with enough water till tender. Alternatively, cook the beans in a pressure cooker for one whistle. Cool and see if it needs more cooking. Cook for another whistle if necessary. If not soaked, add 4 cups of water and cook till done. This may take up to 45 minutes or more. Add more hot water if necessary.

Slit the green chilli and cut into two or three pieces each. Wash and chop the curry leaves. Mix besan and one fourth cup of water to make a thick paste. Heat oil in an iron tempering ladle and saute the coriander-cumin powder, turmeric and asafoetida on low heat till fragrant. Add ginger paste, chilli powder, curry leaves and saute lightly for 10 seconds or so. Add this to the chickpeas, adding some water and heating the ladle if necessary to get all the spices. Add the besan mixture, and coriander leaves to the chickpeas. Stir well and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add lime juice and give it a stir. Serve hot with hot jeera rice or rotis.

For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:

Use rock salt instead of refined salt.

Do not peel the ginger.

Do not use oil. Put all the spice powders in an iron tempering ladle one by one and sauté over low heat to prevent them from burning. Transfer each roasted spice to the cooked beans. Repeat with the curry leaves. Add ginger paste and sauté for a few seconds till it loses its raw flavor. The ginger will probably stick to the ladle. Add a little water when it is done to remove the bottom part that has stuck to the ladle. Add a teaspoon of water if the ginger starts burning. Continue the rest of the recipe as above using a little water to prevent burning whenever required.

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