Cow peas is called as karamani or thatta payaru in Tamilnadu. Cowpeas tamarind curry/Thatta payaru puli kuzhambu is so common in south Indian households. This protein-rich, spicy curry is usually paired with non-spicy pulse/dal based kootu varieties. I love any tamarind-based curry like garlic curry(link) , one pot bittergourd curry(link), lentils curry/paruppu urundai kulambu(link) and this cowpeas curry. Every week, I make at least 1 tamarind based curry. If you like cowpeas, do try Coimbatore special Cowpeas rice/Thattapayaru saadham as well. Click here to view this cowpeas rice recipe in my youtube channel.
Cowpeas tamarind curry Recipe:
- Cowpeas/Thattapayir - ½ cup
- Tamarind - 1 small lemon sized
- Onion - handful of small onions or 1 big onion
- Garlic - 5 to 10 cloves
- Tomato - 1 big, well ripened
- Asafoetida - Generous pinch
- Salt - As required
- Coconut - ⅓ cup
- Cumin/Jeera - ½ tsp
- Small onions - 2 to 3 as per size
- Sesame oil - 1 tbsp
- Mustard - ¼ tsp
- Urad dal - ¼ tsp
- Curry leaves - Few
- Gravy powder(link) - 2 tbsp(See notes section for alternates)
- Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
- Coriander leaves - Few
How to make Cowpeas curry?
- Soak a small lemon sized tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for 10 to 15 mins.
- Once it is warm, rinse it well with fingers until it disperses well. Strain the tamarind extract through your fingers and throw away the pulp and seeds.
- Take 1/2 cup of cowpeas in a pan and dry roast in low-medium flame until dark spots start to appear. Do not darken it. Once you spot a spot, switch off and transfer to a bowl.
- Wash the dry fried cowpeas twice and transfer the washed cowpeas to pressure cooker. Add water 1 inch above immersing level of cowpeas(approximately, 2 cups of water).
- Pressure cook cowpeas in high flame for 3 to 4 whistles depending upon the thickness of the peas. Switch off and let the pressure release naturally.
- Peel the skin of small onions and garlic and slit them into 2. If using big onion, then chop finely. Wash and chop tomato and few coriander leaves. Wash few curry leaves and keep ready.
- Take 5 thin pieces or 1/3 cup grated coconut, 2 to 3 small onions, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and grind in mixie. Then add 1/4 cup water and grind it to a paste(not so smooth and not so coarse).
- Heat 1 or 2 tbsp of Sesame oil/Nallennai. Once oil is hot, simmer and add 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds/kadugu. Once spluttered, add 1/4 tsp Urad dal/ulutham parupu. Once they slightly change color, add chopped small onions and 5 to 10 garlic cloves along with few curry leaves.
- Fry them in medium flame till they start changing color.
- Then add chopped tomato and coriander leaves. Add a generous pinch of asafoetida/perungayam and 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder. Fry well till tomatoes are mashed well and oil oozes out.
- Simmer and add 1 to 2 tbsp kuzhambu podi or gravy powder(see tips section below for alternates with exact measurements). Give a quick stir.
- Add 1/2 cup water and a tsp of salt. Cook closed for 5 mins in medium flame.
- Once masala smell leaves, add extracted tamarind water.
- Again, cook closed for 10 mins.
- Then add pressure cooked cowpeas along with pressure cooked water.
- Once it starts to boil, add ground coconut paste. Wash the mixie jar with 1/4 cup water and add that as well.
- Cook closed for 5 more mins. Then simmer(cook closed) for 10 to 15 mins until oil oozes.
- Garnish with few chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve this spicy gravy with hot rice and less spicy sides like papad, egg omlette, keerai kootu, raw banana kootu, bottlegourd kootu, snakegourd paruppu poriyal, banana stem kootu, cabbage/beetroot/carrot/beans stir fry.
Tips for making Cowpeas Curry:
- You shall replace gravy powder with these -> 2 tbsp coriander powder + 1 tbsp plain chilli powder + 1 big pinch pepper powder.
- Increase or decrease spice powders as per your taste buds.
- Small onions can be replaced with big ones but sambar onions taste best in this recipe.
- No need to soak cowpeas. Dry frying will help in faster cooking.
- Brinjal and/or Drumstick goes well with this curry. Add chopped brinjal or drumstick or both after frying onions. Add tamarind water once the added veggies are cooked.
- If you don’t like the flavor of cumin seeds, you shall skip it while grinding and just temper cumin seeds along with urad dal.
- You shall replace cumin seeds/jeeragam with fennel seeds/sombu while grinding with coconut, for a different taste.
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