Lobia Masala / Lobia ka Salan or Black Eyed Peas Curry is a Pakistani / North Indian vegan curry made with black eyed peas (also known as lobia) in an onion-tomato gravy base with garlic and aromatic spices. It can be made on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker / Instant Pot. It’s also gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free.
This delicious vegan curry is one of my favorite comfort meals, and a regular part of the weekly dinner rotation. It can be enjoyed with roti / chapati, naan or Basmati rice. On the side you can serve raita or a kachumber salad.
Lobia masala is a one pot meal – minimal clean-up afterwards. It’s quick and easy to prepare and requires only a couple of ingredients. It can be made on the stovetop or Instant Pot / Pressure cooker. Recipe ahead includes instructions for both types of cooking methods.
What is lobia?
The main ingredient in this vegan Pakistani / Indian curry is lobia, a type of legume or bean commonly known as black eyed peas. The reason they are called black eyed peas is because they are creamy white in colour, with black marks or “eyes” on them, where they were attached to the pods.
In Marathi, lobia is also known as rongi in Marathi. Which is why this particular recipe is sometimes called chawli masala as well. Another name for lobia in English is cowpeas.
Lobia is eaten across the Indian sub-continent in a variety of different ways – in salads, chaat, and in different types of curries. The way the lobia curry is prepared varies from region to region. The recipe I’m sharing is called as lobia masala or lobia ka salan, and it is common in Pakistan, North India as well as Punjab. It’s a gravy based lobia curry with a base of onions and tomatoes.
Black eyed peas are rich in fiber and protein. They are highly nutritious and are a great way to add more protein to your meals, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan.
This lobia curry recipe requires only a couple of ingredient to make.
- Lobia (Black Eyed Peas) – also known as rongi or chawli. I use dried lobia, which needs to be soaked for a couple of hours or overnight. It is also possible to use canned black eyed peas as well.
- Onions – finely sliced.
- Garlic paste – use fresh or storebought garlic paste. You can also quickly grate a few cloves of garlic to make paste.
- Tomatoes – Use roma or truss tomatoes for this recipe. If fresh tomatoes aren’t available, canned can be used. Use crushed or canned tomatoes, don’t use diced.
- Coriander / Cilantro Leaves – added in the end for flavour and aroma.
Check out my guide on how to stock a Pakistani Kitchen + Pakistani Pantry List (with English translation and descriptions).
This one pot lobia masala / black eyed peas curry is very easy to prepare. It can be made on the stovetop as well as the pressure cooker / Instant Pot. Instructions for both methods are given ahead.
- Soaking the lobia: The main preparation required for this lobia masala recipe is the soaking of the black-eyed peas. They should be soaked for at least 4 – 6 hours, ideally overnight. If you have forgotten to soak, you can pressure cook the lobia using a multi cooker or an Instant Pot.
- Fry the onions: Start off with frying the sliced onions until golden brown.
- Add the spices: Add the garlic paste, followed by the spices. Cook for a few minutes till the spices release their aroma.
- Add tomatoes: Add the chopped tomatoes, and cook for about 5 – 10 minutes till the tomatoes soften, and oil starts releasing. Use a wooden spoon to mash the tomatoes.
- Lobia cooking instructions – Stovetop: Once the onion-tomato masala gravy is ready, you can add the soaked lobia. Add water, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 30 – 45 minutes till the lobia / black eyed peas are tender. You can add more or less water depending on the gravy you prefer.
- Lobia cooking instructions – Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker: The lobia masala / lobia salan recipe can also be made in the pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Fry off the onions and tomatoes using the saute (or sear) setting. Once the onion-tomato gravy is ready, add the soaked lobia. Pressure cook for 18 – 20 minutes till lobia is tender. If you have forgotten to soak the lobia, pressure cook for 35 – 40 minutes. Alternatively, you can also pressure cook the lobia ahead of time, and then add to the onion-tomato masala gravy.
- Garnish: Once the lobia masala is ready, garnish with green chilies, and coriander. Serve hot with roti / chapati, naan or Basmati rice.
Lobia ka salan / lobia masala is a gravy based vegan curry. It can be served with roti / chapati, naan or Basmati rice. On the side you can add raita and kachumber salad. To serve as part of a vegan Pakistani meal, add moong masoor daal and air fryer crispi bhindi.
The lobia ka salan / black eyed peas curry can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for upto 4 days. It’s best to reheat on the stove. This recipe is also freezer friendly. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for upto 6 months. Thaw overnight and reheat on the stove. Do a fresh garnish of green chili and coriander before serving.
Make ahead Instructions
To make this lobia curry ahead of time, the lobia (black-eyed peas) can be boiled beforehand, and then added to the onion-tomato masala gravy later. This is an excellent option for meal planning and meal prepping.
Soak lobia overnight, and then boil in salted water for about 40 – 45 minutes till tender. The lobia should be cooked through, but still have a bite to them. Drain and keep in an airtight container. The boiled lobia can be kept in the fridge for 2 – 3 days, and in the freezer for upto 6 months. To prepare the curry, make the onion-tomato masala, and add the boiled lobia. Cook for a few minutes to infuse the flavour, garnish and serve hot.
The same make-ahead instructions apply for the pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Pressure cook the lobia till tender – this will take 20 minutes for soaked lobia, and about 40 – 45 minutes for unsoaked lobia.
Yes, you can. Fry the onions, and tomatoes till the onion-tomato masala is ready. Then add the drained and rinsed black eyed peas. Cook for a few minutes to let the flavour infuse. Garnish and serve hot.
If you have forgotten to soak the lobia, you can pressure cook them. This will take about 35 – 40 minutes.
If your lobia is soft and mushy, it means that you cooked / pressure cooked them too much. To prevent this from happening, reduce the cooking time the next time you make them. The lobia should be tender, but still have a slight bite. If this happens, avoid using a spoon to stir the curry as the lobia will break.
Try out other vegan Pakistani / Indian recipes
Lobia Masala / Lobia ka Salan (Black Eyed Peas Curry)
- 1 cup lobia or black eyed peas
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion (~100g) sliced
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- salt to taste
- 1 medium tomato (~120g) chopped
- ½ cup coriander leaves / cilantro chopped
- 1 green chili sliced
- Wash and soak lobia or black eyed peas for 6 – 8 hours, or overnight.
- Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan, and add sliced onions. Fry the onions, and cook till light golden brown.
- Add garlic paste, followed by coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Stir and cook for a minute till the spices release their aroma.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, and cook for 5 – 8 minutes till they soften and oil starts releasing. Use a wooden spoon to mash the tomatoes.
- Drain the soaked lobia / black eyed peas, and add to the onion – tomato mixture. Stir together, and cook for a few minutes.
- Add about 1 – 1 ½ cups water, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn heat to low, and cook for about 30 – 40 minutes till the lobia / black eyed peas are tender. The water will have evaporated, and you will be left with a thick gravy. Adjust the water content based on how gravy is preferred.
- Garnish with coriander / cilantro leaves, and green chilies. Serve hot with roti / chapati, naan or Basmati rice.
- It's possible to use canned black eyed peas in this recipe. Fry the onions, and tomatoes till the onion-tomato masala is ready. Then add the drained and rinsed black eyed peas. Cook for a few minutes to let the flavour infuse. Garnish and serve hot.
- If you have forgotten to soak the lobia, you can pressure cook them. This will take about 35 – 40 minutes for unsoaked lobia.
- If your lobia is soft and mushy, it means that you cooked / pressure cooked them too much. To prevent this from happening, reduce the cooking time the next time you make them. The lobia should be tender, but still have a slight bite. If this happens, avoid using a spoon to stir the curry as the lobia will break.