Lobia Masala

You may have seen—or missed—my post last week about the booklet of bean recipes I recently wrote for Rancho Gordo.  This recipe is not in the booklet—which you can download directly here if you’re so interested (don’t worry, it’s free). It features Rancho Gordo’s black-eyed peas or as they’re known in North India, lobia. Lobia is eaten elsewhere in India as well—in Maharashtra, for example, where it is known as chawli—but growing up I only knew it as a Punjabi ingredient/dish. Unlike rajma it wasn’t made in our house but I always looked forward to eating it in the homes of Punjabi friends. This recipe is not a traditional Punjabi recipe per se, though it does broadly resemble Punjabi preparations. I tend to cook lobia in much the same way in which I prepare rajma, with a robust blend of spices that complements its more vegetal character. Which is to say if you don’t have black-eyed peas handy this recipe, which is how I most recently cooked it, will work well with many other beans as well. Give it a go.


  • 1 packet Rancho Gordo Black Eyed Peas
  • 2 tez patta
  • 1 large piece cassia bark or cinnamon
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 tblspn freshly pounded garlic
  • 1 tblspn freshly pounded ginger
  • The following ground to a coarse powder:
    • 2 tspns cumin seeds
    • 2 tspns coriander seeds
    • 1 tspn fenugreek seeds
    • 1 tspn black mustard seeds
    • 1 tspn black peppercorn
  • 3/4 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
  • 1 tspn hot red chilli powder
  • 1 lb tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tblspn jaggery/brown sugar (optional)
  • 2-3 slit Thai chillies (optional)
  • 1 tblspn chopped dhania/cilantro (optional)
  • 1 tblspn chopped red onion (optional)
  • Lime wedges
  • Salt
  • 3 tblspns of neutral oil of choice
  • Water


  1. Rinse the lobia and place in your bean pot of choice with enough water to cover by a few inches. Bring to a boil, hold it there for 10 minutes, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook till done.
  2. While the lobia is cooking prepare the masala as follows:
  3. Heat the oil over medium heat and when it shimmers add the whole garam masala.
  4. As soon as the garam masala becomes fragrant and the tez patta darkens slightly (very soon) add the chopped onion. Saute over medium heat till nicely browned.
  5. Add the ginger and garlic and saute till the raw aroma is gone.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the ground spices, haldi and red chilli powder and saute for another minute or two taking care not to let the spices scorch.
  7. Add the chopped tomato and salt, raise the heat to medium and saute, stirring often till the tomato has completely cooked down and the oil separates.
  8. Add the jaggery and slit green chillies (if using) and mix in well. Hold till the lobia is ready.
  9. Once the lobia is done add the cooked masala to the bean pot, mix in and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  10. Garnish with the chopped dhania and red onion (if using) and serve with rice, chapatis or just out of a bowl with a lime wedge on the side.


  1. 1 packet of Rancho Gordon beans is roughly two cups, I believe. If you’re using beans from some other source, measure accordingly. And if using non-Rancho Gordo black-eyed peas you should probably soak them for a while first.
  2. Feel free to add a few pods of green cardamom along with the rest of the whole garam masala at the beginning. I generally prefer not to as I don’t think the slightly metallic coolness of cardamom goes well with the vegetal flavour of lobia—but that’s probably just me.
  3. You should experiment with the proportions of the ground spices and see how you prefer it. I would not recommend going past 1 tspn of methi though.
  4. I used a lot of tomato in this version as I had a lot of garden tomatoes to use up (and still do); you should try it with less as well and see which you prefer/
  5. I didn’t garnish this at all this last time but feel free. And you can add 1/2 a tspn of a garam masala powder you like right at the end before taking it off the heat.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.