Chavlichi Usal / Black Eyed Peas No-onion No-garlic Curry

A gravy based Maharashtrian side made with fresh or dried peas or beans is called usal. Dried peas or beans are soaked overnight and pressure cooked before being used. Fresh peas or beans do not need to be precooked. Though this dish can be added as a side to a fancy meal or thali it is basically a simple weeknight recipe.

This is my mother's recipe. She used to cook black eyed peas or chavli with a fresh coconut and cilantro gravy. This gravy can be used for mung or matar (green peas). I remember every Sunday morning when my Dad was not travelling he would go grocery shopping for vegetables. Sometimes I used to accompany him. We did not eat a lot of coconut but when this dish was on the weekly menu we bought fresh coconut. I remember cutting it open with a sharp sickle. I used to pull out the dry coconut fibers to give me a smooth brown coat. My mother insisted I should not pull the fibers on the edges. I would use water to paint a ring around the middle of the coconut. I truly believe that helped me cut the coconut exactly in half. I then used the sickle to break the coconut. I would collect the water in a cup and hand the coconut halves to my mother. The cup of coconut water was the reward for my efforts.

Back to the recipe

You wull need
1 cup dry black eyed peas
1/2 cup fresh shredded coconut (I used frozen)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 green chili pepper (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds (optional)
1 tbsp. olive oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. asafoetida
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. sugar
salt to taste

Soak the peas overnight in water such that they are completely submerged. Drain the water the next morning to get rid of the phytic acid. Pressure cook for 5 minutes. Keep aside to let the pressure subside.

Meanwhile grind to a paste the shredded coconut, cilantro, cumin seeds and green chili pepper in a grinder with a little water.

Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. when they crackle turn down the heat to low and add the asafoetida and turmeric powder. Now add the ground masala paste and let it heat completely. Do not let it boil, cilantro paste does not do well when boiled.

Reserve the water the peas were cooked in and add the peas to the pan. Add just enough of the cooking water to form a thick gravy.

Let it simmer until the water evaporates and the gravy thickens some more.

Add the salt, sugar, garam masala and cayenne pepper. After a couple more minutes turn off the heat.



  1. I love the cilantro gravy for the beans! Very flavorful and absolutely will not miss the onions in the dish.

  2. Give me that bowl, can finish it rite now, love the cilantro gravy, quite a new beans curry.

  3. A lovely dish and love the color of the gravy, very interesting.

  4. All your no onion no garlic recipes are bookmarked. My dad don't ear onion and garlic so I always be in a search of no onion no garlic recipes, this well be very help full for me.

  5. Beans and coriander looks like a lovely combo.. Must try..Bookmarking for sure

  6. wow I can skip my lunch for a bowl of this tempting usal :) looks so tempting dear!!

  7. Totally enjoyed reading about your efforts on coconut breaking...the curry looks interesting too.

  8. Pictures so nicely shot Varada..and I love this dish..Nice know the meaning of usal and reading about your experience with coconut..:)..

  9. I love the color of the gravy and since I love black eyed peas, this is one bookmarked for sure

  10. Love the green gravy. I am sure it is a flavorful curry.

  11. Love the colour of the gravy Varada. This is bookmarked!!


Please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

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