bean curry2

I don’t normally post on Saturdays but I have a backlog of delicious recipes I want to post and am anxious to share them with you. Renay, a reader, sent me this bean curry recipe. As evidenced by the number of curry-flavored dishes on my blog (Coconut Chicken Curry, Chicken with Green Curry Sauce, Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce, Shrimp Stir Fry in Coconut Curry Sauce), she thought I would enjoy it, and she was right! To be honest, I was a little skeptical upon first viewing – I’ve never even eaten black eyed peas (I know, the horror!), let alone bought them to cook with, but I can’t resist a good curry recipe, so try it I did. And it was fantastic. Who knew that black eyed peas would make curry so delightfully yummy?

This meal is healthful and can be made in seriously less than 15 minutes. The best item to note, however, is the wonderful flavors brought in by the garam masala, cilantro and ginger.

What To ServeI served this with naan (which is addicting in and of itself), and in my book, it was pretty nearly a perfect meal. Filling, oh so delicious, and fast. I know many of you will be skeptical, too, but I hope you try it and love it as much as we did! Thanks for the recipe, Renay! (Update 07/2013: As you can see from the updated photos, I’ve taken a hankering to throwing in some cut up fresh cauliflower and letting it simmer with the mixture. Totally divine.)

bean curry1

Bean Curry

Bean Curry


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (see pictures of grating ginger here)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • pinch cayenne, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or chicken broth
  • 1 can black-eyed peas, lightly drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; saute 5 minutes or until translucent and slightly browned. Stir in garlic and grated ginger root; stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add tomato; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in turmeric, cayenne, salt, paprika, and garam masala; stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add half and half, stock, and black-eyed peas.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cilantro. Serve immediately with rice, chapati, or naan.

Recipe Source: slightly adapted from Renay, a reader

73 Responses to Bean Curry

  1. Rachel says:

    We LOVE this recipe! It inspired us to buy Garam masala. I cook a pound of dried black eyed peas and quadruple this recipe. We make it often. It’s so delicious! Thank you for sharing it!

    • Mel says:

      Happy you love this one, Rachel! It’s a family favorite but I haven’t made it in a long time…thanks for reminding me!

      • Rachel says:

        Tonight I tried this recipe in the instant pot. I did 2 minutes. Then released pressure. But I didn’t add the half and half to the instant pot. It turned out great!

  2. Rachel says:

    We LOVED this recipe! Thank you for making black eyed peas interesting and delicious!!

  3. Sarah says:

    LOVE the addition of cauliflower! I also added shrimp at the same step as the tomato and it cooked up nicely in the last few minutes! so good

  4. Jenny says:

    Hi Mel!
    At what step did you add cauliflower?

  5. Kristin says:

    I couldn’t find garam masala at multiple stores, so I used the recipe found here:
    Right under the “Ingredients” heading there is a place to change the serving size. If you change it to 1 serving and click “adjust recipe” it will equal exactly 1 teaspoon when all the ingredients are combined. Now that I know that it was tasty, I think I will make a greater quantity next time so it will be on hand when I need it!

    Also, I agree with Megan H – I’ve made several of the recipes you’ve posted on your site and they are always delicious, so thanks!

  6. Megan H says:

    This was my first time making curry. It turned out so tasty. I can’t wait to make it again. I sometimes change up the recipes, but despite changing it up a little, I didn’t ruin it. I used garbanzo beans and coconut milk. Thank you so much for making your website. I come to your site often to find different dinner ideas. I feel like I can actually cook when I make recipes from your site!

  7. Anne says:

    Stupid rookie embarrassing question- but what do you mean by lightly drained?

  8. Katie says:

    I made this for dinner last night, and my husband and I loved it! I had never used Garam Masala in my cooking before, but I will from now on πŸ™‚ It was flavorful, but not overwhelming like curry dishes I’ve had in the past. The only downside to the dish was that my husband got home a little late, so it sat on the stove for an extra half hour. The sauce got a little thicker, which was nice, but the beans got really mushy. I think next time I would either be sure to eat it right away (or wait to throw them in until I know we’re eating right away) or take the time and cook up some dry beans and use them instead. But regardless of mushy beans, this dish was greatly enjoyed and is going into the menu rotation. Thanks for the yummy recipe!

  9. Roberta Schroeder says:

    Hi Mel. Yummy dish. Thanks much for the inspiration, Just made this and had to make a couple subs based on what we had on hand and, “shopper error.” :)). Sooo, substituted garbanzos for black eyed peas and light coconut milk instead of 1/2 and 1/2. Also, did add cauliflower plus threw in handful of frozen baby green peas for color and a couple of fresh, diced jalapeΓ±o vs cayenne and extra cilantro because we love it. Very tasty, but I will try with black eyed peas next time as garbanzos are not our fav. Tx!!

  10. Marissa says:

    I have made this recipe a few times now (I love it). I noticed the picture has cauliflower in it (I think). We’ve done it with the cauliflower and without it and enjoyed it both ways.

  11. Jamie says:

    Made this last night for dinner. It was the fastest curry I’ve ever made and it was really good. This is definitely a keeper!

  12. Emily says:

    I know I’m late to the party, but I just had to say how much I loved this dish. I love beans and am trying to branch out a bit with my cooking, and this was perfect. And the cauliflower? Genius. Another winner, Mel. Thanks.

  13. Sarita says:

    Nevermind! Just read the update, I’m totally adding cauliflower, thank you!

  14. Sarita says:

    This looks delicious, can’t wait to try it! Are my eyes deceiving me or is there cauliflower in the picture? I didn’t see it on the ingredient list but it sure looks like cauliflower in the picture!

  15. Tara says:

    Made this tonight and it was so delicious! My husband and I LOVED it! Thanks Mel!

  16. AJ says:

    Thanks! That gives me a good idea since half of our eaters will be kids.

  17. AJ says:

    I’m making this for a family reunion coming up and I can’t wait. I’m trying to figure out amounts. Does this recipe feed your whole family of 7 our do you double it? Also, I ask probably going to use black or pinto beans since they are easier to find in bulk. And I’ve made it with those with great success.
    Thanks so much from probably your biggest fan! I seriously have referred so many people to your site. Love me some Mel!

    • Mel says:

      Hi AJ – I have lots of small eaters so one recipe feeds our family but there aren’t any leftovers. I’d say a safe bet would be to plan on one recipe of this serving about 4-5 adults.

  18. Felicia says:

    This was a hit! My entire family loved it. There weren’t enough leftovers to share with the kids the next day, so I waited until they were having naps and then ate the rest in lovely peace and quiet. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. Annie says:

    This was awesome!! I have to admit, I was skeptical at first, but I needed a vegetarian recipe for a friend coming to dinner, and this did not disappoint! We all loved it and I was sad there were no leftovers!!

  20. Jessica says:

    Really good! My husband loved it!

  21. Nicole says:

    This might be my new favorite meal. I am in major love. Thank you!!!! I did make the naan, and it was very good. I made the pita pockets last week I think and they were fun to watch puff, but pita bread in general fails to impress me in the flavor department. The naan bread tastes better and most of mine had a pocket inside of them, so I may try to sub naan for future pita endeavors πŸ™‚ Maybe it will be too rich, we’ll see. Anyway, thanks, this is so good and I bet it will be even better for leftovers. Oh, the only thing I did differently was sub coconut oil for the canola oil. I bet one could sub the half and half out for coconut milk, but maybe that would be the wrong flavor for curry, not sure. Anyway, this is an awesome dish!!!

  22. Leona says:

    We stumbled over here different web address and thought I might as well check things out.

    I like what I see so now i am following you.
    Look forward to looking into your web page again.

  23. Judy says:

    We had this for supper tonight (with naan of course). I have made it 4 or so times and every time I like it more and more! So delicious. My kiddos won’t touch it unfortunately but I figure it leaves more leftovers for me!

  24. Mel says:

    Allie – probably about 4 adults (maybe 6 if the portions are smaller).

  25. Allie says:

    About how many people will this serve?

  26. Vicki says:

    I’ve made this curry several times and it is delicious just as it is and has become one of my favorites! Thanks so much!
    I recently discovered that I have a sensitivity to dairy products so I decided to make this recipe with the following replacements : 1 cup of coconut milk instead of the 1/2 and 1/2; 1 teaspoon of chicken base instead of 1 cup of broth.
    It was still delicious! Thanks so very much! I’m so happy that I can still eat one of my favorites!!!

  27. Cindy says:

    Seriously, one of the simplest and tastiest curry dishes I’ve ever made! Great, simple flavors bound together in ‘scrumptiousness’. Thank you for sharing!

  28. Cindy says:

    Seriously, one of the simplest and tastiest curry dishes I’ve ever made! Great, simple flavors bound together in scrumptiousness. Thank you for sharing!

  29. Emily D. says:

    I’ve had this recipe ear marked forever and finally made it while the kiddos were away at school. Delicious! I was salivating while making it and it was as good as I was hoping it would be. I’m eating it for lunch all week. And because I’m a closet weight watcher, I poured it over spaghetti squash instead of rice because it’s zero extra points. Thanks for the great light recipe!

  30. Tristen says:

    Whoops! My husband just googled it, my bad! I absolutely loved this dish, can’t wait to try the other curry dishes. Thanks!

  31. Tristen says:

    I’m curious about why it’s called bean curry if it doesn’t have curry in it? πŸ™‚ I’m making it right now and am HOPING that I’m not making a mistake not adding curry! Thanks!

  32. […] Recipe source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  33. Chavah B says:

    Just made this tonight with some naan and it was sooo good. My hubby and kids and I loved it! I wanted to keep eating more. Thanks for such great recipes….it’s nice to come to a one stop shop and know that all the recipes are going to be good!

  34. Bethany S says:

    Mel — Haha. I’m glad I’m not the only one that lives a life in which putting dinner on the table for your family is considered an adventure. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way and I’m sure you would agree!

  35. Bethany S says:

    As I put this on the table in front of my picky/texturally challenged 4-year-old I said to my husband, “Dinner tonight is going to be an adventure.” He (my son) started to whine about wanting only ‘gravy’ and no rice (one of the textures he struggles with) but them he saw the chapati. He asked us to roll the rice and curry up in the chapati. He then proceeded to have THREE servings of it. That is a miracle around here. Seriously. This dish is going down in the history books of our family. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mel says:

      Bethany S – I was reading your comment thinking, “oh no, I hope this wasn’t a disaster” and then I couldn’t believe your son ate three servings. That is awesome! And I have to admit I chuckled at your statement about dinner is going to be an adventure because I use that EXACT phrase nearly every night.

  36. […] have a pretty well-stocked spice pantry but when I wanted to make Mel’s Bean Curry (which is pictured above and crazy super-fabulous, by the way), I realized I have no garam masala […]

  37. Molly says:

    I also found it to be a bit “brothy” once I added all the liquid. I was in no big hurry so I threw in some lentils and let it simmer for 30 min or so before adding the beans. It turned out very tasty and with a nice textural contrast between the beans and the lentils.

  38. Veronica M. says:

    It took me a while, but I finally made this for dinner tonight and it was a raging success! It’s my first curry and I am encouraged to try more. I didn’t have time to make the naan so my hubby went to the Indian restaurant nearby and got some to bring home b/c we just CAN’T have Indian food without naan! LOL! Anyway, thanks for sharing it–I thought it was really good. P.S. Did you feel there was too much liquid? I think I’ll do half of each liquid next time b/c it almost seemed like soup.

    • Mel says:

      Veronica – glad you liked this! I didn’t notice that it was overly liquidy when I made it but we kind of prefer things a little saucy around here. Thanks for letting me know it was fantastic!

  39. Tiffany Shanks says:

    My family loved this, my 7 year old son ate two plates full he loved it, thank you so much.

  40. Kim says:

    this looks really good and I think that I am going to have to make it this next week!

  41. Mel says:

    Michelle – so glad you liked this dish! I am definitely trying it with black beans next time…thank you!

  42. Michelle says:

    I made this and subbed black beans for the black eyed peas. It was divine. I felt like I had really outdone myself that night. Thanks for all of your awesome recipes!

  43. Mel says:

    Thanks, juli – so glad you liked it!

  44. juli says:

    Made this for dinner tonight. It was delish! Thanks.

  45. Mel says:

    Tami – I fixed the recipe. Thanks for the heads up. Glad this was lick-the-plate worthy. I just made a chicken tikka masala recipe from Merianne you’ll love if you love this.

  46. Tami says:

    Oh yeah. How much garlic? It’s missing from the ingredients list. I just did one clove but could have done more.

  47. Tami says:

    We loved this. I was worried the kids wouldn’t but they did. I was licking my plate. Oh my yum.
    I made the naan too. So good.

  48. I’ve been looking for some meatless curries for my blog (thai tuesday’s) so I’ll have to give this a try! Thanks!

  49. Mel says:

    Angela – my response is probably too late but I think black beans would make the best substitution – but that’s probably because they are my favorite legume. Let me know if you ended up making it!

  50. Mel says:

    TaLaisa – you are a wealth of knowledge! I loved your input on garam masala. I actually saw somewhere online a while ago that you can make your own so maybe I’ll have to try that. And the jackfruit curry sounds completely strange and yet delicious! Thanks for the advice.

  51. Mel says:

    Janine – I’ve made the naan with all-purpose flour and with finely ground white wheat. Either way has worked great. I’m so glad you are loving your Nutrimill!

  52. I love curry! I’ve been trying to eat more beans lately instead of meat, so this curry recipe is going to be bookmarked. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  53. AngelaMarie says:

    yummmm i’ve gone on and on about your curried chicken dish… i loooove it. i will try this, my significant other & I, we love beans & rice so i’m excited to try this out. btw, he wasn’t a fan of the chicken dish due to the coconut (it’s just made for me now hehehe fine with me!) hopefully he will like this one, i will definitely try it & let you know how it went, love your site! πŸ˜€

  54. Cammee says:

    You have me so totally and completely addicted to curry it’s scary! I can’t wait to try this one.

  55. juli says:

    Yummy! I love curry. This will make a great main dish! Thanks!

  56. Angela says:

    Any recommendations for a similar bean to use if I’m out of black-eyed peas? It sounds so tasty — might try it tonight — if I don’t get stumped by the illusive legume. πŸ™‚


  57. TaLaisa says:

    This looks like a ‘to try’ recipe. We love curry around here too. My husband is from Fiji. Lots of curry there. Garam Masala literally means ‘mix of spices’ so what is in jar can vary from brand to brand and place to place. Our (pretty gourmet) local grocery store has nary a speck of garam Masala. Fortunately for me we have Fijian friends who go back to Fiji and bring back big containers of masala. Fiji masala is a little bit different from Indian masala, it doesn’t have any chili in it. So if you want a milder heat with more of the masala flavor, find a Fiji masala (Polynesian markets carry it) and add in minced jalapeno for the heat.

    My favorite not chicken curry is Jackfruit Curry. Jackfruit is a Fijian vegetable not available in Utah. So it’s luxury treat when I get it.

  58. Janine says:

    This curry sounds delicious! Another recipe added to the “to make” list! (it is a VERY long list…) Do you make your naan with fresh ground flour? And, if you do, what kind of wheat do you use? I am loving my Nutrimill grinder, I just put my first batch of “no knead bread” with fresh ground wheat on to rise….

  59. Mel says:

    Pauline – garam masala is an Indian spice. You can find it in the baking aisle by the spices of most grocery stores. Hope that helps!

  60. grace says:

    black-eyed peas. cilantro. naan. my love of these things may very well overcome my dislike of turmeric…or i could just leave it out. geez. sometimes my intellect is astounding. πŸ™‚

  61. Kim in MD says:

    I’m a little skepitcal about this, but if you say it is delicious, then I believe you! I like black eyed peas, so I will give this a try.

    I am so glad you posted today! πŸ™‚

  62. WOW, that looks awesome! I love Cury and can’t wait to try it. One question though, What is: “1 teaspoon Garam Masala”
    Looking forward to tasting this deliciouse meal:) I tried to get my hubby to take me to an Indian Restaurant the other day but he was not in the mood. So I might just have to make Indian food at home:)

    Thanks for sharing.

  63. Veronica M. says:

    I’m excited to try this, especially with the naan which I just had for the first time at an Indian restaurant a few weeks ago and have wanted to try making it at home. My hubby bought a can of black eyed peas for New Years that I didn’t use so now I know what I’m gonna do with it! Thanks for posting!

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