Vanpayar Curry


Vanpayar (Lal Chawali/Red Chori/Red Cowpeas Curry) is a known legume and a favourite of every keralite.  It’s normally eaten with hot Kanji and every ‘traditional’ Malayalee will not trade this dish for anything else. This is like chicken Soup to their Soul.

And since I’m not as traditional as I would like to be (or rather my parents wish me to be), I like my kanji and payar only when it’s served on Good Friday (the day where 90% of the Malayalee Christians have kanji n payar for lunch). But I do love the payar, that I can eat it with rice and curd, any other day of the year. I love it because it’s easy to make, has a good bite to it and also I hear my mother always say: “it’s low in cholesterol and high in protein” (not that the latter makes much of a difference, but yea.!)

Anyways, in my house, I don’t need to experiment dishes and cuisines. That’s only because my husband is most happy, when you serve him DAILY something from the Pulses/Legumes family. It could be Lentils – Toor Dal (yellow pigeon peas), Beans – Rajma (kidneybeans), Peas – Mattar or Chick peas -Safed or Kala chana (White or black skin chickpeas) !! you get the point…ya?

So you may ask, then why do I experiment and try out all these new dishes and why do I even have a blog. Because, I believe Variety is the spice of Life. I can’t eat and drink pulses or legumes, morning-noon-night!!

But since, my husband loves Vanpayar, I thought I should make a curry out of it…so that he can now drink it too 😉 (I know, I’m being rude!). LOL.  And that’s what made me come up with this not-so-traditional Vanpayar curry.

This is my go-to-dish when I am absolutely in a hurry or too lazy to cook lunch (latter more!). Rice, Vanpayar curry, pickle, Papad (Pappadom), and a vegetable stir-fry is what we have on a lazy afternoon. Do try it and it does taste really good with rice/nan/chapathi.

And here’s what I do:VANPAYAR (RED CHORI) CURRY


  • Vanpayar (red chori) – 250 grams
  • Onion, sliced – 1
  • Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
  • Tomato – 1/4th
  • Chilli Powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Water – 4 cups (you can add more later to get the consistency you desire)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Curry leaves


  • Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • small onion, sliced – 3
  • curry leaves – garnishing

Method: 1

Wash the vanpayar couple of times with water and also do check for small pebbles/stones.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the onions. Saute till it’s translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste, Chilli powder, coriander, turmeric powder. Stir.

To this add the chopped tomatoes and saute all together till the tomatoes are mushy.

Now, add the washed vanpayar to this and saute for a minute to coat it with the masala. Add salt.

Pressure cook this in 4 cups of water for about 4-5 whistles***. Add more salt, if needed.

Meanwhile, in another pan heat oil, for the tempering. Splutter mustard seeds. Add sliced small onions and saute. Then add 1 sprig curry leaves. Add this mixture to the cooked vanpayar.

Serve hot, enjoy your meal and go back to lazing around 🙂

***You can soak the vanpayar for about 6 hours or overnight before pressure cooking it. In such a case, you need to pressure cook it for only about 2 whistles. Infact,  you can even cook it in a normal vessel because it takes much lesser time to cook, once soaked. (I never do the soaking bit, because like I mentioned it’s always been my go-to-when-lazy dish, meaning I decide I’m gonna cook it only in the last-minute).

Method 2:

The way my mother makes it – She cooks the van payar in water, turmeric and salt, in a normal vessel for about 1 hour (she rarely uses the cooker!). You could cook the same in about 2 cups water and about for 6 whistles (if not soaked before) and then drain all the water. Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds. Grind together small onions (about 3), ginger garlic, dried red chillies(about 2) and curry leaves(1 sprig) using a mortar and pestle. Add this ground masala to the oil and stir for 2 minutes. Add cooked payar, put chilli powder (1 teaspoon) and saute on medium heat for about 10 minutes, till the payar gets a little crunchy.  

Try both the methods and let me know.


This entry was posted in Legumes and Pulses, Side dish, South Indian Dishes, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Vanpayar Curry

  1. princy says:

    totally love it!!! 🙂 i knew i ran out of patience i guess so i stopped my fooblog!

  2. biny anoop says:

    there is a surprise waiting for u in my space….do check it out.

  3. Jinu says:

    Love your version of the recipe Renee! I keep coming to your site whenever I make vanpayar 🙂

  4. Jayachandran says:

    Hi ,
    I tried ur mom’s recipe and it came out very well…

  5. prinson says:

    Thanks for the recipe – tried it and turned out to be good ! Keep adding 🙂

  6. Pingback: Vanpayar Curry – gazzetta

  7. PS says:

    Thanks a lot ,I tried it and it was yummy

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