No-onion, No-garlic Black-eyed Bean Curry

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In some countries, there are some occasions, when, on auspicious days, they do not eat anything with onion and/or garlic and skip all meat, including eggs.

During such times, some of my ‘no-onion no-garlic’  recipes come to the rescue.

Black-eyed peas or beans (or Lobia beans, as they’re called in India) are one of my favorite legumes as they are faster to cook than any of the other beans. This dish makes use of these protein-rich beans, simmered with some onions, spices, tomato and tamarind paste till the spices have permeated the whole dish.

For the wary, this recipe makes use of spices found in your everyday pantry.  I have used some Indian spices along with some boxed ready-made spice mix available in your local Indian grocery store. If you do not have these boxed spices, you can use more of the other spices. It also uses tamarind paste, a type of sour preserve available at Indian stores or you can soak dried tamarind in water for sometime and use the soaked water after mashing well and draining out the pulp.

Spice level can be adjusted to your liking.

No-onion, No-garlic Black-eyed Bean Curry


(Serves 4)    Prep Time- 20 mins   Cooking time- 20 mins


Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp

Ghee or clarified butter – 1 tsp

Cumin seeds or jeera – 1/2 tsp

Cloves -4 to 5

Bayleaf – 1

Tomatoes – 1 medium, chopped

Hing or asafoetida – ¼ tsp

Everest Pav Bhaji Masala powder – 1 tsp

Badshah Chole Masala  powder- 1 tsp

Coriander powder – 2 tsp

Jeera powder – ½ tsp

Turmeric powder – ½ tsp

Chilli powder – 1 tsp

Black-eyed beans (or Lobia beans) – 1 cup (soaked in water for about 2 hours)

Tamarind paste – ½ tsp (or the tamarind soaked water, whichever your use)

Salt to taste

Coriander leaves for garnishing


Wash the soaked beans well, drain and add to a pressure cooker.  Heat on high and after the first whistle, lower the heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes.  After the pressure reduces, check the beans to see if they are cooked through. They should be soft, but not mushy.  If needed, pressure cook again till the desired softness.

Heat a pan on medium heat.  Add the oil and ghee.  Stir in the cumin, cloves and bayleaf.  Fry for about 1 minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes, and saute for about 2 minutes till the tomatoes have turned soft.  You can add a couple of spoons of water if needed to cook the tomatoes.

Mix in the hing, pav bhaji masala powder, chole masala powder, coriander powder, jeera  powder, turmeric and chilli powder.  Saute well till the oil separates.  You can see the oil simmering at the edge of the cooked tomatoes.

Pour in the cooked beans along with the water in which it was cooked, salt to taste and the tamarind paste, mix well and bring to boil. Taste and adjust the salt.  Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer covered till heated through, and gravy thickens.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with chapatis, naan, puris, rice or even bread.


If you want to make it vegan, you can omit the ghee.

The pav bhaji masala and chana masala powders that I have used do not have onion or garlic in the list of ingredients mentioned on the box.  You can use any brand, but make sure they do not have any onion or garlic in them. If you do not have access to these spices, increase the coriander powder to 2 tsps and add a teaspoon of any garam masala powder or curry powder you have.  You can even skip the asafoetida (a pungent Indian spice used normally when you use legumes; add normally to counter act the gas formation that may happen when you eat any type of dry beans) if you cannot find them.

Spices can be adjusted to your taste.  That is the fun of Indian cooking!!!


Whenever you are chopping vegetable for any dish, keep a bowl near the chopping board ( a garbage bowl).

Collect all the peels, seeds etc. which are to be discarded and once you are done prepping, it is just one easy step to discard them into the trash or your compost site.  Saves a lot of time. I have been doing this ever since I started cooking.


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