Black-Eyed Pea Sambar

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Black-Eyed Pea Sambar

My readers can expect many more recipes for black-eyed peas in this space as I have a dear friend who could probably eat these delightful legumes everyday. This recipe was made with homemade sambar powder. Sambars are typically the first course in a South Indian meal. Thick and spicy, often made with tamarind, I made mine with cooked dals. Serve over fresh cooked basmati rice for a most satisfying summer meal or any time of year. Such a staple food is sure to be enjoyed by all who appreciate the creative blends that make up Indian cuisine.

It is a civic holiday here in Canada, and that means the doozers took a day off. What a relief for the neighborhood.

Black-Eyed Pea SambarBlack-Eyed Pea Sambar
Recipe by
Cuisine: South Indian
Published on August 2, 2010

Thick and spicy south Indian black-eyed pea curry

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  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, divided
  • 1/4 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas), rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 2 to 3 dried whole red chilies, broken into bits
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon split skinned urad dal, rinsed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 teaspoons sambar powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 2/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh or defrosted corn
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • Rinse the black-eyed peas and soak in enough water to cover for 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with fresh water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the turmeric and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the beans are tender — about 40 to 60 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  • Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium-large saucepan. Add the toor dal and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the dal is creamy — 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside without draining.

  • In a large saucepan, heat the ghee, butter or oil over medium heat. When hot, add the asafetida, red chilies, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and urad dal. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds begin to pop — about 60 seconds. Add the onion, garlic, tomato, sambar powder and salt. Stir well and add the tomato paste, again stirring well to combine.

  • Now add the cooked toor dal and pour in an additional 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and add the black-eyed peas. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in the corn and cilantro or parsley and simmer for another few minutes. Add more water if you want a thinner sambar and simmer for another few minutes.

  • Remove from heat and serve hot.

Makes 6 servings

Black-Eyed Pea Sambar

Other black-eyed pea dishes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen you will be sure to enjoy:
Black-Eyed Peas with Spices and Herbs
Black-Eyed Peas with Fenugreek and Tomatoes
Black-Eyed Pea and Quinoa Croquettes
Black-Eyed Peas with Mustard, Cumin and Curry Leaves

On the top of the reading stack: The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo

Audio Accompaniment: Lawn mowers (no peace from noise!)


Unknown said...

wow, that is a great idea of using black eyed peas in sambhar and lovely presentation.

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Thank goodness you are getting a break from all that racket! This dish looks lovely Lisa and your rice is so fluffy.

CurryLeaf said...

Wow,never tried Sambar with blackeyed peas.Looks great Lisa

Chef Gulzar said...


I read your article.great idea, interesting post, really helpful..
This dish looks lovely Lisa and your rice is so fluffy.thanks for sharing this.
Gulzar Husain

Sarah S. said...

I'm with your friend on black-eyed peas. I have never tried them in Indian dishes, needless to say this is moving directly to the top of my to-try list.

lubnakarim06 said...

Wow....that's an yummy sambar to give it a try...

kitty said...

I made this tonight! Serendipitously enough, I was in the mood for black-eyed peas, and had a free morning to make the sambar powder, so this turning up in my blog reader was great. My only changes to the recipe as written were to add a bit more garlic, and chuck in about the same amount of fresh peas along with the corn. It's very, very good. Thank you!

MapMaster said...

Love this dish

Usha said...

Love the idea of using black eyed peas in sambar, looks very inviting!

AnitaShesConnected said...

Amazing! Sambar is so delish and the use of black eyed peas sounds like such a great way to enrich the flavour!