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Black Eyed Pea Curry

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This black eyed pea curry recipe from Kerala

I learned this black eyed pea curry recipe (or black eyed bean curry) at one of my favourite Indian restaurants in Newcastle called Ury. The Keralan food that comes out of their kitchen is amazing! If you’re looking for a delicious vegetarian curry recipe, this is one you simply need to try. I liked the recipe so much, it ended up in my my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy Veggie’.

black eyed pea curry

About this Keralan black eyed pea recipe

You might already have a copy of my book ‘The Curry Guy Veggie’ and here I want to show you step by step how this hugely popular black eyed pea curry is prepared. While researching recipes for the book, I traveled all over Indian and also visited places much closer to home.

You will find this black eyed pea recipe very authentic and delicious. If you love a good south Indian style curry, stock up on the ingredients and make this! It’s filling and you will not miss the meat.

Why should you make this curry

So many people think that vegetarian food is bland and boring. That is simply not the case. Some of the best food in the world is vegetarian and from India.

You are going to get a flavour sensation that is difficult to beat!

What do you serve with black eyed pea curry?

You can serve this curry with so many different things. Shop-bought parathas are very good but you might also like to have a go at making your own parathas. Also very good with this curry is simple Basmati rice. You should try my no-fail rice recipe here.

In Kerala, they pride themselves on their homemade poppadoms. The poppadoms are served not only as a starter but often on top of a curry to add texture. You could just purchase some papads but when you make your own poppadoms, it really takes the meal up a few levels.

Of course, you might like to serve your black eyed pea curry with another curry or two. You really should try Keralan black chickpea curry, broccoli curry and Manchurian Gobi, a delicious cauliflower dish.

What makes this black eyed pea curry so good?

It’s the combination of ingredients. From toasted toasted fenugreek seeds to curry leaves and special spice blends, you are going to get it all in this one. As complex as the flavours are, you can still make this black eye pea curry in less than 30 minutes. 

Make the recipe your own

I like to use quite a few green chillies but the number of these is entirely dependent on how hot you like the black eyed pea (bean) curry. This also goes for the chilli powder, I like the bean curry to be hot but everyone has their own tastes regarding heat from chillies. 

Get to know the ingredients and have fun. In Kerala, they not only fry their curry leaves but add fresh curry leaves to garnish. This gives you two different flavour sensations. 

You really can go to town with this one. Use my recipe as a guide but feel free to adjust as you see fit.

Step by step photos…


tempering mustard seeds, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds in the oil

Temper the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves in the hot oil for about 30 seconds.

Adding onions and chillies to the spices and curry leaves.

Add the chopped onions and chillies.

Frying the onions until they are soft and translucent

Fry the onions until soft and lightly browned.

Stirring in the garlic and ginger to make a base masala.

Stir in the garlic and ginger.

Adding turmeric, chilli powder and the black eyed peas to the pan.

In goes the turmeric, chilli powder and black eyed beans.

finishing off the black eyed pea curry.

Stir in the yoghurt, check for seasoning and serve garnished with chopped coriander.


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Black eyed pea curry

This bean curry is so good with chapatti or white rice. Super easy to make too.

Yield: 4

Keralan Black Eyed Bean Curry

black eyed pea curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons coconut or rapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 20 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies split lengthwise
  • 2 onions – sliced and then cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger – peeled and julienned
  • 6 cloves garlic – sliced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 3 tomatoes – diced
  • 600g cooked or tinned black eyed beans
  • 200g plain yoghurt
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped coriander


  1. Heat the oil over medium high heat in a wok or large frying pan. When hot, stir in the mustard seeds. They will begin to pop. When they do, stir in the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves and temper in the oil for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the chopped onion and sliced green chillies and stir it all into the oil. You want to cook the onions for about 10 minutes until they are good and soft and lightly browned. Stir in the garlic and ginger.
  3. Sprinkle in the turmeric and chilli powder and add the diced tomatoes. Give it all a good stir and then add the black eyed beans.
  4. To finish, stir in the yoghurt one tablespoon at a time. In the photo I used my own homemade yoghurt but if using shop bought yoghurt, it is best to add it slowly so that it doesn't curdle.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with coriander.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 272Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 593mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 9gSugar: 21gProtein: 12g

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I hope you enjoy this Keralan black eyed pea curry recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Mr E.

Monday 13th of February 2023

Thank you Dan,

I cook this regularly, with a tin of good Italian tomatoes instead of fresh. I hold the yoghurt / crème fraiche until reheating and keep this recipe as a staple in our freezer.

Nice one.

Dan Toombs

Saturday 18th of February 2023

Great idea, thanks for letting me know. Dan

Dr Cherry

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

Hi Dan,

I tried your black eyed bean Kerala curry. Pretty good but I don't see how a few chopped tomatoes could've produced the deep red of your photograph. Did you sneak in some tomato puree?

I didn't have curry leaves and had to wing it with a mix of black mustard seeds and white, but the main difference was I only had dried beans. After soaking them overnight I added them to the mix at stage three (and omitted the tomatoes at this point, obvs) so some hours rather than minutes later. I thought I'd kill everyone with the chilis (2 Scotch Bonnets) but the beans calmed it all down as did the home-made yoghurt (thanks for the tip that this is less likely to curdle)

Take Care,

Dan Toombs

Friday 14th of May 2021

Hi I didn't put any tomato puree in but the 3 tomatoes and the chilli powder along with the turmeric give the dish its vibrant colour. Thanks very much Dan

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