This delicious instant pot black-eyed peas curry is so easy to make on a weeknight. The roasted crushed peanut is what makes it different from all the curries floating around in the internet. and let me tell you that is a game changer. If you have soaked your black-eyed peas, this vegan curry comes together in 30 minutes or less.
Here is the truth, I never liked black-eyed peas before I found this recipe. This lobia peanut curry has its roots in Maharashtra, a western coastal state in India. In the years I have spent living in Mumbai and Pune, I have never eaten this combination of black-eyed peas and peanuts. My friend taught me this Instant Pot variation last year and it has been on repeat in my house. I do use Kitchen King and I am aware it is not a traditional spice blend used in the region.
I use a lot of beans and lentils in my cooking. While I have quite a few recipes that showcase the versatility of lentils (Coconut spinach dal or vegan lentil sweet potatoes), I don't have any bean recipe on my blog. It is time to change that. This recipe will be a great addition to a thali or into your weeknight repertoire.
WHY MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Make this curry in the Instant Pot, it comes together in 30 minutes, perfect for a weeknight.
- It is budget-friendly since it only uses pantry stapes - black-eyed peas are a humble bean and not glamorized as chickpeas or kidney beans. I recommend buying it from any South Asian grocery store.
- It is naturally vegan and meal prep friendly. It is easy to freeze the beans which means you can always make more or store the leftovers in the freezer for another busy weeknight.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Like most of my recipes this one also calls for pantry staples. I have covered everything along with suitable substitutions below, but please see the recipe card for quantities.
- Black eye peas: Like with any beans, lobia or cowpeas require some pre-soaking - a minimum of 2 hours. This step greatly impacts cooking time.
- Mustard Seeds and Cumin seeds: This curry is all made in one pot so we start with the tadka or tempering. For this it is important that the oil is hot, but not smoking, this allows the spices to bloom and infuse the oil. Prepare the ingredients for the tadka as it happens quickly. Stagger the addition of the seeds. First add in the mustard seeds, when it begins to pop vigorously add in the cumin seeds followed by the other ingredients.
- Hing / Asafoetida - This spice has a funky smell one that takes getting used to. It lends a savoury aroma to Indian curries and dal. When you add this to hot oil it works like an aromatic.
- Curry Leaves: This is a hearty herb, one that can withstand high heat - perfect for tadkas. I have only seen this in South Asian grocery stores. You can freeze the extra herb and use it in another recipe.
- Spices: This recipe calls for turmeric powder, red chili powder and kitchen king spice blend (can replace with garam masala). Add the first two spice powders (turmeric and Kashmiri lal mirch) with the tomatoes. While, Kitchen King or garam masala is a finishing spice blend. It doesn't require too much cooking.
- Aromatics - Garlic is only main aromatic in this recipe, so you need lots if it.
- Tomato Paste and Tomatoes - Tomato paste is my cheat ingredient, it is not traditional but I find it gives tomatoes a boost in flavour. I use it in all my recipes that call for tomatoes.
- Roasted crushed peanuts - Buy store-bought unsalted roasted peanuts and powder it to a coarse consistency in a blender. It needs to be chunky, as it lends flavour and texture to the black-eyed peas.
This Instant pot black-eyed peas curry is made in one large pot and really such an unfussy comforting meal.
WASH AND SOAK BLACK-EYED PEAS
Black-eyed beans need soaking, a minimum of two hours. I usually soak my dry beans overnight. Then I drain and store it in an airtight container in the freezer, that way I have them ready any night of the week I want to make this recipe. I generally do this with all my beans to speed the cooking process.
START WITH THE TEMPERING OR TADKA
Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode. When hot add in the oil and the tempering ingredients - stagger it starting with the mustard seeds. Indian cooking is all about layering the spices, this is important for extracting all the flavour from the spices. Use an oil that can withstand heat. Coconut oil, peanut or avocado oil all work.
To the tempering add in the tomatoes, kashmiri lal mirch, turmeric, and salt. Allow the tomatoes to soften, then add in the beans and 2 cups water. Cancel the sauté setting on the Instant Pot. Close the lid and change the pressure valve from venting to sealing. Pressure cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
ADD THE PEANUTS AND SERVE
Once it has cooked, change the pressure valve to venting and instant pressure release. This will prevent the beans from becoming too mushy. Carefully open the instant pot lid. Add in Kitchen King masala or garam masala powder. Add in the peanuts and stir to combine. The gravy will thicken. Squeeze some lemon juice or lime juice on top and garnish generously with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with basmati rice/ jeera rice or rotis.
This recipe can be made in a stove top pressure cooker, I have included the details in the recipe card.
TIPS FOR MEAL PREP, FREEZE AND THAW
This black-eyed beans curry is a simple recipe that is easy to throw together on a busy day, and the lefovers also make for a great work lunch (not school safe though). But I understand if you are not into cooking every meal. I always like having things planned ahead, to avoid the 6.00 PM dinner stress.
You can pressure cook and make the curry in your instant pot. Once you release the pressure, remove the inner pot of your instant pot and let it rest on the counter and let it cool completely. Transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Label it with the date and contents and store it in your freezer for up to 3 weeks.
The day before you plan to eat it thaw the beans in the fridge overnight. Before your meal transfer the beans to a large pot, add about a cup of water and let it come to a simmer. Add in kitchen king or garam masala, and crushed peanuts and let it cook on medium-low heat for a couple of minutes. Take it off the heat and garnish it with cilantro leaves and a squeeze of lime. Serve hot.
- 1 cup black eyed peas/ cowpeas /lobia
- 1 tablespoon oil (avocado, coconut or peanut)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- Couple of pinches of hing
- 6 pods of garlic, minced
- 10 - 12 curry leaves
- 1 green chili slit
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder (Kashmiri lal mirch)
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 3 cups water
- ½ teaspoon kitchen king masala/ curry powder / garam masala
- ½ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely powdered
- handful of cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime
- Wash and soak your black-eye peas for a minimum of two hours or overnight.
- Set your Instant Pot in sautee setting. Start with your tadka or tempering. Drizzle in the oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds, when it begins to pop with vigor add in the cumin seeds and hing.
- Next add garlic, curry leaves, and green chili. Stir and let it cook for a minute till everything is fragrant.
- Add in the tomatoes and salt. Mix everything till the tomatoes are well coated in the tadka. Let the tomatoes cook till it is soft 3- 4 minutes.
- Add turmeric powder, kashmiri lal mirch, drained cowpeas, and 3 cups of water.
- Cancel the sautee mode.
- Close the lid of your instant Pot. Change the pressure valve from venting to sealing and pressure cook on high for 15 minutes.
- Instant release the pressure by switching the valve from sealing to venting and carefully open the lid.
- Set the Instant Pot back to saute mode and add crushed peanuts and kitchen king masala. cook for a few minutes and remove from heat.
- Granish with chopped cilantro leaves and squeeze in some lime juice. Serve hot with rice or rotis.