Black-Eyed Peas with Tamarind and Coconut Milk

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
black eyed peas with tamarind and coconut milk

Perhaps it is the promise of spring and the few days of sunshine that certainly mustn't be taken for granted after such a long and gloomy winter, as I've been inspired of late. Apart from organizing some piles and clutter that have accumulated around the apartment over the months, I've been spending hours focused around the kitchen, developing and testing recipes and attempting to document them in a timely manner here on this space. Mind you, I'm easily distracted at the best of times, and warmer weather isn't going to help that. Documenting my dishes is at times a daily struggle and, with a limited amount of hours in a day, I manage my similarly limited attention span as best I can.

Without further ado, my latest offering is this easy but most flavorful black-eyed pea dish. Cooking doesn't need to be an all-afternoon affair to produce something nourishing and vibrant for dinner. Serve with a simple lemon rice and a side vegetable dish for a meal that will be on the table in hardly anytime at all and devoured in much less time than that, although it really ought to be savored, each delectable bite at a time.

Earthy black-eyed peas are one of my favorite legumes to use in spiced up tomato-based curries. This time however, I was feeding my seemingly insatiable craving for anything coconut, so instead of a predominately tomato-based sauce, here the tomatoes combine with coconut milk and tamarind resulting in a creamy and spicy southern Indian style tamarind gravy that envelops the tender peas in a dynamic embrace.

In addition to the goodness that these delights add to any number of dishes, another benefit of cooking with black-eyed peas is that they take hardly any time at all to cook, and although I usually soak them overnight, you can get away with a shorter soaking time without adding too much onto the total cooking time.

Black-Eyed Peas with Tamarind and Coconut MilkBlack-Eyed Peas with Tamarind and Coconut Milk
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on April 21, 2014

Black-eyed peas simmered in a creamy and zesty southern Indian style tomato, coconut and tamarind sauce

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas (3 cups cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp, soaked in 1 cup hot water for 30 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 red or green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Kashmiri or other chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder (optional)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Rinse the black-eyed peas and soak in several inches of water for 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes or until the peas are tender. Drain and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, soak the tamarind pulp in 1 cup of hot water for 30 minutes. Place a strainer over a small bowl and pour in the tamarind and water. Press to get as much of the pulp out as you can. Discard the pulp and set the tamarind water aside.

  • Heat the ghee or oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the onion and stir for 5 minutes or until softened and golden. Stir in the ginger, garlic and chilies, and stir for another few minutes. Add the ground coriander, ground cumin, chili powder, turmeric and amchoor powder if using, and continue to stir for another minute.

  • Now add the tomatoes and 4 tablespoons of the tamarind water. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are thickened.

  • Now add add the coconut milk and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the cooked beans to the pam and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. Add more water to achieve desired consistency. Stir in the fresh parsley or cilantro and salt to taste and simmer for another few minutes.

  • Serve hot with fresh cooked white basmati rice and a vegetable side.

Makes 4 servings

black eyed pea curry with tamarind

More black-eyed pea recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Black Tea and Gingered Black-Eyed Peas
Cinnamon Spiked Black-Eyed Pea Curry
Turkish Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Pomegranate, Walnuts and Zahtar Dressing
Curried Cauliflower and Black-Eyed Pea Soup

On the top of the reading stack: various distractions

Audio Accompaniment: Suduaya


Joanne said...

Coconut and tamarind are two of my favorite flavors, and I love how you've turned them into a bit of a stew here! I'm sure a bowl of this is brimming with flavor.

Unknown said...

In like the way you balance your dishes Lisa. I do love the earthy black eyed beans and you've paired them so wonderfully with tangy tamarind and sweet coconut x

Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody) said...

This looks super tasty. Tamarind is one of those tastes/smells that immediately gets my mouth watering.

Johanna GGG said...

glad to hear it is warming up for you - I have a tomato, coconut milk and black eyed beans dish I love - these spices would make it just lovely

Anonymous said...

This recipe offered a delicious variation to our everyday cooking! I added a teaspoon of sugar to add another layer of flavor that suited out taste buds. Thank you for sharing!!