Brown Black-Eyed Beans Curry / Chavalichi Usal

The variety that you find in Indian lentils is mind-boggling. Generally, I have always bought black-eyed beans (Kaaramani) in white (colour). This time, the store also had the brown variety and that reminded me of the colour of Usal that I used to have in Mumbai. I instantly knew that I wanted to work with this ingredient. Black-eyed beans are a great source of protein and commonly used in Maharashtrian and Konkani cooking. This recipe tastes awesome with rotis and gets done in no time.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 3-4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup brown black-eyed beans (soaked overnight)
  • 2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp goda masala (This is a Maharashtrian specialty masala). If you do not have this, use 2 tsp of Garam masala.
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp roasted coconut paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped coriander
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 4 tbsp oil

Brown black eyed beans curry

Brown black eyed beans curry


  • Soak the brown black-eyed beans in warm water for minimum 6-8 hrs.
  • Brown black eyed beans rinse

    Brown black eyed beans rinse

  • Strain all the water from the beans as shown above. They should have fluffed up well.
  • Roast the grated coconut on medium flame till the coconut turns slightly brown.
  • Grind this into a smooth paste using some water.
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add the bay leaves and the onion and sauté till golden brown.
  • Then add the asafoetida, turmeric powder, the coconut paste, all the masala, and ginger-garlic paste and sauté well.
  • Now add the brown black-eyed beans, salt, around 1.5 cups of water and mix well.
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker and give it 5 whistles on low flame. Then switch off the flame.
  • Once the pressure is released completely, open the cooker and mix it well. If the water is less, add some water and mix.
  • Garnish the curry with coriander leaves before serving. Serve it hot with rotis.


  • It is important to soak the daal for at least 6-8 hours.
  • Once the daal is cooked, adjust the consistency by adding some water.
  • For those staying in Singapore, the beans are available in Mustafa or most of the Indian grocery stores.

Black Eyed Beans with Potato in Mint Gravy

Known as Lobia in North India and Karamani in South India, black-eyed beans are an interesting ingredient to cook with. They are rich in protein and good to include in a diet to form a healthy mix of pulses and vegetables. The advantage with pulses is that you can add a small amount of them to vegetables to increase the volume of the dish without losing the taste. This dish is gravy based and pairs well with rotis.

Recipe for Black Eyed Beans with Potato in Mint Gravy

Serves : 2-3
Ingredients :

  • 1 cup black-eyed beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes diced (peeling not required)
  • 1/2 cup fresh tomato purée
  • 1 cup mix of mint and cilantro paste. While grinding this paste, add 2-3 green chillies too. If you don’t have cilantro, just make it using mint. You can also add 2-3 tbsp of grated coconut while grinding this paste if you like your gravy to have a coconut base.
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste [optional]
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Curry leaves [optional]
  • Salt to taste
Black eyed beans with Potato in Mint Gravy

Black eyed beans with Potato in Mint Gravy


  • Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds
  • When they splutter, add the onions and cook till they are soft and transparent
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste along with turmeric and garam masala and mix well
  • Add the potatoes to this mixture and sauté them for 4-5 mins. Add some salt at this stage because the potatoes should not taste under-salted.
  • Drain the water from the black-eyes beans and add it to the potato mixture and stir it well.
  • After 2-3 mins, add the tomato purée and let it cook for another 2-3 mins till it comes to a boil on medium flame.
  • Lower the flame, add 1.5-2 cups of water, cover the mixture with a lid and let it cook for 15-20 mins. Also adjust salt at this stage.
  • Once the black-eyed beans have been cooked, add the flavourful, ground paste of mint and chillies to the mixture and let it cook for another 5-7 mins.
  • Garnish with curry leaves and serve hot

Tips :

  • The black-eyed beans need to be just soaked in water for a minimum of 8-10 hours. This would get the texture of the beans perfect for a gravy based dish. If you don’t have that much time and have soaked it for only 3-4 hrs, then cook the beans in a pressure cooker on a low flame for 3-4 whistles.
  • Monitor the water levels in the gravy while cooking. Add water and manage the heat to get the consistency of your choice.