Kala Vataana Usal

Malvani Vataana Usal is a classic dish from the Konkan region of Maharashtra. It is a spicy curry made with dried black peas. This dish pairs well with rice bhakri/ chapati or with steamed rice. Here’s the recipe:


1 cup dried black peas (Kaala Vataana)
3 tsp oil
2 onions, chopped (pyaaz)
3 tbsp grated  dry coconut (sookha nariyal)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped (lehsun)
1 inch ginger, chopped (adrak)
1 tsp coriander seeds (dhaniya)
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp poppy seeds (khuskhus)
a tsp of fennel seeds (sauf)
1 large black cardamom (badi elaichi)
3 to 4 cloves (laung/lavang)
A small piece of cinnamon (dalchini)
3 petals of star anise (chakraphool)
1 tomato, chopped (tamatar)
a tsp of turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tbsp red chilly powder (laal mirch)
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped  (dhaniya)
Salt as per taste (namak)

Kaala Vataana


  • Wash and soak dried black peas in water overnight.
  • Cook the peas alongwith salt and 2 ½ cups of water in a pressure cooker for 5 to 6 whistles.  
  • When the pressure escapes fully, open the pressure cooker.
  • Keep the cooked peas aside.
  • Also, retain the water in which the peas are boiled.
  • Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan.
  • Add 1 chopped onion.
  • Saute till it turns golden brown.
  • Add grated dry coconut.
  • Saute and cook for few minutes.
  • Now, add chopped garlic, chopped ginger, coriander seeds, ½ tsp cumin seeds, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and star anise.
  • Saute on a low flame,  till all the ingredients are roasted well.
  • The ingredients should turn brown in colour.   
  • Allow the roasted ingredients to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, blend the roasted ingredients alongwith ¼ cup water to a smooth paste.
  • Keep this masala paste aside.
  • Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan.
  • Add 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • When the seeds start spluttering, add 1 chopped onion.
  • Saute till it changes colour and becomes soft.
  • Add 1 chopped tomato and cook till it becomes soft.
  • Now, add the masala paste and mix well.
  • Add turmeric powder and red chilly powder.
  • Mix and cook till the masala starts leaving the sides of the pan.
  • Now, add the cooked peas alongwith the water in which it was boiled.
  • Give a good mix.
  • Cook covered on slow flame for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Open the lid and garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves.
  • Serve Malvani Vataana Usal with rice bhakri, chapati or steamed rice.


For more Maharashtrian recipes with pulses and legumes, click on the undermentioned links:

Vaalacha Birda, Sabut Masoor Usal, Moong Birda/Green Gram Curry