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SEEMA Cooks: Lobia Masala

Apr/08/2022 / by Nancy Amon
Image credits: Shutterstock

If ever you want to recreate a much-loved Punjabi dish, then the lobia is going to be a winner.

It is made with delicious black eyed beans and rich spices and flavors. While it is popular in North India, it is certainly a favorite across the country and beyond.

Unique Lobia

Firstly, lobia goes by many names. Lobia is Hindi for black-eyed beans, but it also goes by other namesm such as chawli, chowli, rong ki dal and rongi to name a few. In Tamil it’s called karamani and, in Malayalam, perum payaru.

Lobia may be served as a masala, but the versatile black-eyed beans can go into a salad or lobia kabab.

Lobia masala is a delicious curry made from lobia. The black-eyed beans are nutritious and rich in complex carbohydrates, which are processed better in the body than simple carbohydrates. It could reduce blood sugar levels and not create a spike the way simple carbs could. This is good news for folks with diabetes.

Lobia is a good source of fiber, calcium and may help improve digestion. This is all good news if you’re trying to eat a healthier diet. It is also plant-based and good for vegetarians and vegans. Lobia is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, magnesium and folate.

Black-eyed beans may also help boost your energy levels, again thanks to complex carbohydrates. Not to mention, it keep you sustained for longer than if it contained simple carbohydrates. Hence, you’ll not feel hungry soon after munching on lobia masala.

It can also help your hair, skin, and eyes.

The Recipe


  • 1 cup of black-eyed beans
  • 2 onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 green chilli
  • ½ ginger sliver and garlic clove or 2 crushed in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (you can also use cumin powder if you don’t have seeds)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon kasuri methi
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 cloves
  • Bay leaves
  • 1 ginger for garnishing
  • Ghee or oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash and soak the lobia for 5 hours or overnight
  2. Use a pressure cooker and cook it making sure that you’ve added enough water
  3. Allow it to cook for two whistles in the pressure cooker
  4. With the tomatoes, blend them into a puree to use later (use a blender)
  5. Heat some oil or ghee in a deep pan or a wok. You could also use a kadai
  6. Add the dry spices like the bay leaves, cinnamon stick
  7. Next, add the cumin seeds and listen for them to crackle
  8. Add the garlic and ginger and allow it to fry until the sharp smell of the two disappears
  9. Now add the chopped onions and allow it to brown
  10. Next, add the tomato paste you made in the blender along with the chilli and allow it to simmer for about three or four minutes
  11. Add chilli, turmeric and cumin powder
  12. Pour in the lobia with the water it cooked in and let it simmer for about five minutes
    Note: If you want the gravy to become thicker faster, you can mash the lobia as it simmers
  13. Add kasuri methi, garam masala
  14. Turn the heat off
  15. Garnish with fine julienne ginger
  16. Serve with steamed rice or Indian flatbread (paratha), steamed rice or tawa paratha

Quick Tips

Tip #1: The spice in the lobia recipe is mild, which is why fewer hot chillies are added. In fact, one slit green chilli is good enough.

Tip #2: You can use canned beans and speed up the process by skipping the soak part. If you are going with canned beans, drain the water or brine and then rinse the beans. Next you’ll add the beans to the onion and masala and work from there.

Tip #3: The consistency of your lobia recipe should be thick since this way it’s great to enjoy with roti or over rice.

Tip #4: Cheat-soak your beans. If you forgot to soak the lobia, you can still boil it a bit and thereafter soak it for an hour or two.

Tip #5: Lobia masala has a six-month shelf-life when stored in a freezer. You can also cook it and eat it in two or three days if you store it in the fridge.

Tip #6: While black-eyed beans come in many shapes and sizes, the bigger beans are more flavorful and cook easier than the small ones. The small ones tend to stay tough and are not prone to softening.

Tip #7: You’re looking for authentic flavors without the garlic, ginger and onion, then simply skip from adding them.

Tip #8: Leftover lobia masala can go in your next biryani. You could also try out the leftovers and then make flatbreads with them. That will pack a flavor punch like nothing else.

Tip #9: Use water to thin the masala because anything stored in the fridge will thicken even further.

For more of SEEMA Cooks, check out SEEMA Cooks: Semiya Payasam!


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