Malabar Spinach and Black eyed peas curry

Malabar Spinach and Black eyed peas curry cooked in a coconut based gravy is a much loved dish by Mangaloreans.  Apart from black eyed peas (chavli), malabar spinach is often cooked with with raw papaya/ horsegram/ jackfruit seeds/ prawns/ clams.

If you have been following my blog, you would be aware that a few months back I had made a post regarding growing of Malabar spinach from stem cuttings.  The plant grew really well and had produced blackish purple berries. I sun-dried those berries and sowed them in a pot. The plant grown from the seeds also thrived well.  So, now I have Malabar spinach growing round the year in my kitchen garden. As and when the plant produces berries, I collect them, dry them and sow them again. Today, I harvested malabar spinach and used it to make Mangalorean style coconut based curry with chavli. The curry pairs well with brown rice and some pickle on the side. Here is the recipe:


1 big bunch of Malabar spinach (mayalu/ basale )
½ cup black eyed peas (chavli/lobhia)
1 small tomato, chopped
5 to 7 dry red chillies ( I have used a mix of Kashmiri and Guntur chillies)
1 tbsp coriander seeds (dhaniya)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
½ tsp mustard seeds (rai/sarso)
¼ tsp black peppercorns (kali mirch)
3 to 4 fenugreek seeds (methi)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 medium sized onion, chopped
4 to 5 cloves of garlic
1 cup fresh coconut, grated
salt to taste

For tempering

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 large pod of garlic with skin, crushed
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai/sarso)
½ tsp asafoetida (hing)

Malabar spinach plant
Malabar Spinach Plant

Malabar Spinach & Black eyed peas curry


  • Wash and soak black eyed peas (chavli) in water for 4 to 5 hours or overnight.
  • Wash Malabar spinach well.
  • Separate the leaves from its stem and chop them roughly.
  • Cut the stems into 2 inches sized pieces.
  • Transfer the chopped leaves, stems and soaked chavli to a pressure cooker.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, salt and 2 cups of water.
  • Pressure cook for 3 whistles.
  • In the meanwhile, prepare masala for the gravy.
  • Heat a pan and dry roast red chillies on low flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Keep aside.
  • Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, black peppercorns and fenugreek seeds on low flame till they turn aromatic.
  • Allow the roasted spices to cool down.
  • Transfer the roasted spices to a mixer jar.
  • Add chopped onions, garlic, coconut and turmeric powder.
  • Add around ½ cup water and blend to a fine paste.
  • Add the masala paste to the cooked spinach and chavli.
  • You can add water if required to adjust the consistency of the gravy. Mix well.
  • For the tempering, heat 1 tbsp oil in a small pan.
  • Add crushed garlic, mustard seeds and asafoetida.
  • When the mustard seeds start spluttering, pour the tempering into the spinach gravy.
  • Serve hot with brown, boiled rice and  pickle on the side.


In case you have Mangalorean curry powder handy, then to prepare the masala –  all you have to do is blend coconut, curry powder, onion and garlic to a fine paste.  




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