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Magic Beans!

Punjab is one of the favourite haunts of food lovers, mainly because of the sheer variety of delicacies offered by this joyous, high-spirited region that believes in making food a central part of every celebration, every gathering and every occasion. The dish that we will be preparing today comes from this region of fun-loving foodies and serious gourmets. This is a delightful curry of black-eyed peas cooked in the golden warmth of Mustard Oil with a tantalizing array of spices and herbs.

Black-eyed peas are called Lobia in Punjab and other parts of north India. Even though they are referred to as “peas”, they are actually beans – very healthy beans, in fact. They are rich in protein and dietary fibre. They are also known to control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The dish we are preparing is, therefore, not just delicious but nutritious as well.

Today’s recipe is Lobia Masala. Here are the ingredients that you will require.


  1. Black-eyed Peas (Lobia): 150 grams

  2. Mustard Oil: 5 tablespoons

  3. Tomatoes: 100 grams

  4. Onions: 100 grams

  5. Green Chillies: 2

  6. Ginger-Garlic Paste: 2 teaspoons

  7. Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi): 2 tablespoons

  8. Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: 1 teaspoon

  9. Cumin (Jeera) Powder: 1 teaspoon

  10. Cloves (Laung): 3

  11. Cinnamon (Dalchini): 1 one-inch piece

  12. Coriander (Dhania) Powder: 1 tablespoon

  13. Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 2 tablespoons

  14. Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: 1 teaspoon

  15. Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder: 2 teaspoons

  16. Garam Masala: Half a teaspoon

  17. Lime Juice: 2 teaspoons

  18. Black Peppercorns: 4

  19. Salt: to taste

The quantities mentioned above are for preparing four servings. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number of servings that you require.

While selecting the black-eyed peas make sure they are fresh. It is best to buy large or medium-sized beans for making this dish.


First wash the black-eyed peas. Then take around one litre of water in a pan and soak the black-eyed peas overnight. In the morning, drain the water and keep the black-eyed peas aside.

Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.

Peel, wash and finely chop the onions.

Slit the green chillies lengthwise.

Coarsely chop the coriander leaves.


Heat the Mustard Oil in a pressure cooker (with the lid off) on a High flame. Once the oil reaches its smoking point and emits streams of aromatic white smoke, reduce the flame to Medium.

To the hot oil, add the cloves, cinnamon and black peppercorns, and fry for half a minute or so. Then add the cumin seeds and fry for another 30 seconds or till the seeds begin to splutter.

Next, add the onions and green chillies, and continue to fry till the onion pieces turn translucent.

Add the ginger-garlic paste and continue frying till the onions turn golden brown in colour.

Now add the tomatoes and cook for another minute or so. Use a ladle or the back of a large spoon to mash the tomato pieces as you fry them.

Next, add the cumin powder; coriander powder; turmeric powder; Kashmiri red chilli powder; and garam masala. Stir to mix all the ingredients well and then cook for around four minutes.

Now add the soaked black-eyed peas along with salt to taste. Then add around 750 millilitres of water to the pressure cooker. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and increase the heat to High. Cook for one whistle. Then reduce the heat to Low and cook for around 10 minutes. Turn the flame off and allow the pressure to release slowly.

Remove the lid of the pressure cooker. Add the dried fenugreek leaves and the lime juice. Stir to mix well.

Transfer the contents of the pressure cooker to a serving dish and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Your traditional Punjabi Lobia Masala is now ready. Serve it hot with Chapatti or Paratha. It is equally enjoyable with steaming hot Rice or Pulao.

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