401.cowpea coconut curry

June 13, 2014mayurisjikoni
Blog post

kunde na nazi

   Besides red kidney beans(maragwe), red cowpeas (kunde) are cooked often by the local people of Kenya. In the coastal region it is usually cooked in coconut milk (nazi). I love the nutty flavour of cow peas or what Gujaratis commonly call it.. chora. I wanted to make a different curry a few days ago. Rachael suggested coconut. However, I did add my own flavours to it as the one made by local people here is not spicy. They use onion, ginger and green chillis only. If they can afford then a bit of garlic is added. However, garlic is pretty pricey! Just a coconut base may make the curry a bit watery so to thicken it up a bit I added minced onion and coconut. I liked the curry. Full of flavour and thick just the way I like it. I served it with plain rice. I think this is a filling and cook ahead dish for all the football fans out there. Football mania is all over the world at the moment. I missed the opening match as I couldn’t stay up till 1a.m. to watch. Maybe I will watch the finals… till then my cousins can entertain me with their comments about the World Cup on whats app.
   Very often I am told by my blog followers that long list of ingredients puts them off. When you actually scroll down the list of ingredients they may seem a lot but these are spices found in almost every Indian kitchen. Freshly ground spices add a unique flavour to curries and vegetables. However, if you do not have the time to make your own masala, use any good ready made garam masala or curry powder.




6 servings

1 cup red dried cowpeas (chora) (3 cups of cooked cowpeas)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
½ cup chopped onions
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp green chilli paste
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter or butter)
½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 cup thick coconut milk
2-2½ cups water
1 tbsp tamarind paste

For the masala (spice mixture):
1 star anise
1-2 dry red chilli
1 tbsp coriander seeds (dhania)
½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
6-8 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
10 -12 peppercorns
4 cardamoms
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)

To fry:
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup fresh grated coconut
3 tbsp oil or ghee

To garnish:
3 -4 tbsp fresh chopped coriander

For the masala:

  1. Roast star anise, red chilli, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and cardamoms over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes or till the cumin seeds and coriander appear light brown.
  2. Cool the mixture.
  3. Grind it in a spice mill.
  4. Add turmeric powder and asafoetida and mix well. Keep the powder on the side till required.
To fry:
  1. Heat 3 tbsp oil or ghee in a pan over low heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook till it turns light pink in colour.
  3. Add the grated coconut and stir fry it till it begins to turn light brown.
  4. Cool the mixture a bit.
  5. Grind it in a spice mill or a chopper.
For the curry:
  1. If you are using dried red cowpeas, you need to soak them overnight in warm water.
  2. The next day drain out the stale water, wash the cowpeas and put them in the pressure cooker.
  3. Cover with just enough water. Cook them over medium heat for 3 to 4 whistles.
  4. If you do not have a pressure cooker, cook them in a pan covered with enough water till done.
  5. Heat oil and ghee in a deep pan over medium heat.
  6. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  7. When they begin to sizzle and crack add the chopped onions.
  8. Stir fry till the onion turns light brown. Add the garlic paste and stir fry till it becomes light pink.
  9. Add ginger and chilli paste. Mix.
  10. Add the coconut onion paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  11. Add the masala (spice powder) and mix well.
  12. Pour about 2 to 3 tbsp of water and mix well.
  13. Add the cooked beans, salt and remaining water.
  14. Let the beans simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
  15. Add the coconut milk and tamarind paste.Take the pan off the heat.
  16. Mix the curry well.
  17. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve piping hot with rice or parathas.
  • If you are using the noiseless pressure cooker, you may need to let the beans cooks for 20 minutes or so.
  • I usually use the water in which the beans are cooked. If it is less than 2 cups, add fresh water.
  • Adjust the spices according to your taste.
  • If fresh coconut is not available in your area, omit it and add coconut cream at the end to thicken the curry.
  • Left over fresh grated coconut can be stored in a ziploc for use in chutneys, curries or garnishing.
  • To make tamarind paste at home, wash the tamarind. Put in a pan with enough and let it simmer over medium heat till the tamarind becomes soft and pulpy. When the mixture cools down, remove the seeds and fibres. Puree the mixture in a liquidizer. Add more water if required. Store the pulp in the freezer.
You may want to check out the following:
spinach masoor dal
red chora curry (cowpea curry)



  • prachi agarwal

    June 15, 2014 at 7:22 am

    will try it soon …..its very nice………

  • Maha Gadde

    June 16, 2014 at 1:17 am

    Very healthy n Nice blog…

  • Priya Suresh

    June 16, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Curry is just inviting me, beautiful dish there.

  • Linsy Patel

    June 16, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    love this dal with amazing spice grind.

  • Poonam bachhav

    November 5, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Cowpea coconut curry sounds interesting to me. Would love to vong this healthy recipe s try.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      November 5, 2020 at 4:09 pm

      Thanks Poonam.

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