I grew up eating this Punjabi black eyed pea curry. It’s warm and comforting and the beans are so rich and buttery. This is my mom’s recipe – although, hers is slightly different every time she makes it because she doesn’t use “measurements” when she cooks (real deal Indian mamas don’t do the whole “measuring” thing). I’ve also adapted this recipe so that you can make it in an electronic pressure cooker, like an Instant Pot. I’m sure you can also easily adapt this to make it on the stovetop too if you’d like.
Black eyed peas are also called “lobia” in northern India. So, this recipe is also known as “Punjabi Lobia Masala.”
The great thing about black eyed peas is that they don’t take as long as other legumes to cook. You don’t need to soak the beans at all – but I always soak legumes to help reduce phytic acid (more info on that here). If you follow the paleo diet, then you know legumes are not “paleo” – however, I eat legumes and white rice and figured a lot of my readers do too. During my pregnancy, I ate this dish pretty often because black eyed peas are high in calcium and I actually tolerate soaked & prepared beans better than I tolerate most dairy.
Rather than following a strict diet, I think it’s more important to listen to your body and eat the things that make you and your body feel good. This recipe not only tastes great, but it makes me feel good too. It’s hearty, rich in fiber, high in protein and as I mentioned – a good source of dairy-free calcium (fyi: 1/2 cup of black eyed beans has 185 milligrams of calcium).
This is a recipe that’s almost always served on New Years Day in our house. It’s thought to bring good luck. I always thought this was an Indian superstition (or maybe just a thing that we believed in our house?), but it turns out that black eyed peas are considered good luck in many other cultures too! Even here in the US (mainly in southern states)! I wouldn’t wait for a holiday to make this though – it’s so easy that you can make it any time you want!
My hubby, who isn’t a huge fan of legumes, loves and requests this curry often. He also likes my dal makhani so try that too if you get a chance.
Serve this black eyed pea curry over some rice, cauli-rice, paleo naan or you can do what I often do and eat a bowl of it on its own. Let me know what you think of this if you do make it!
- 1 cup dried black eyed peas, soaked for 1-2 hours
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or fat of choice
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cayenne (adjust to spice preference!)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 3 cups water
- Cilantro leaves, optional for garnish
- Soak the black eyed peas in water for 1-2 hours. Drain.
- Press the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot and add the oil and cumin seeds.
- Once the cumin seeds start to splutter, add the onion and bay leaf.
- After 7-8 minutes or when the onions begin to turn golden, add the garlic, ginger and spices. Stir briefly, then add the tomatoes.
- Cook for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes break down.
- Add the drained black eyed peas to the pot along with the 3 cups of water.
- Mix well, cover and lock the lid. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button on the Instant Pot, then press the “Bean/Chili” button to begin the pressure cooking. It will automatically be set for 30 minutes. Make sure the steam valve is closed.
- Once the stew is done, the Instant Pot will automatically switch to the “Keep Warm” mode. Allow the pressure to release naturally.
- Garnish with cilantro if desired.