Vanpayar curry recipe Kerala style (red cowpeas curry recipe or red chori curry recipe South Indian style) with coconut gravy also known as vanpayar ozhichu curry for rice, chapathi or dosa is easy to prepare and its very delicious as a vegetarian/vegan side dish for lunch or dinner.
This curry made using red cowpeas, coconut and spices is delicious, very easy to make and healthy too. It is a South Indian Kerala dish which is commonly enjoyed with rice or rice soup known as kanji (ghanji).
What Is Vanpayar?
Vanpayar is a malayalam word and vanpayar in english is known as red cowpeas. This is also known as red lobia peas in North Indian cooking.
Red cowpea is a legume with very high nutritional value.
It is rich in protein and a very good source of healthy calories and proteins. Including red cowpeas in diet is helpful for vegetarians and vegans as it is an excellent source of high protein from plants.
Red copwpeas is used in cooking especially in plant based diets in many parts of the world, and in India, where it is known by different regional names, there are many different recipes using red cowpeas.
As I already mentioned above, vanpayar (red cowpea or lobia) is usually used in curry recipes or in dry form to be used as a side dish with rice or other traditional bread varieties like chapathi.
The Indian style red cowpeas recipes also use exotic spices in its cooking, and the dishes are usually healthy, delicious and rich with flavors.
Unlike the vanpayar thoran recipe where you don’t need gravy, here you need the gravy and you have to blend the coconut and spices in some water and cook the red cowpeas in the coconut gravy with the spices.
Vanpayar thoran recipe is also very popular in Kerala and South Indian where the red cowpeas is cooked using coconut & spices but without gravy and it makes a perfect side dish for rice or kanji for Kerala style lunch or dinner.
You can also make payar curry recipes (peas curry recipes) without coconut also but here we discuss about red cowpeas/vanpayar curry recipe Kerala style where coconut is used.
Vanpayar is the popular malayalam word used for this red cow peas and this vanpayar curry recipe is also known as perum payar curry recipe or perum payaru curry recipe or sometimes simply payar curry recipe.
How To Make Vanpayar Curry (Cowpea Curry) With Coconut & Spices
If you cook the vanpayar of red cowpeas initially before adding the coconut gravy, don’t drain the water from the cooked cowpeas, as you need this water to make the gravy for the cowpeas curry in the vanpayar curry recipe.
I like some grated coconut in the curry, so while I was making the coconut gravy in the blender, I didn’t blend until it made a very smooth mix, but you can blend well the coconut with the spices to make it a very smooth paste for the gravy if that is your preference.
This red peas curry is completely vegetarian curry recipe as well as a protein rich vegan curry recipe.
There is not much difference in the ingredients for this vanpayar curry recipe than from my previous post on vanpayar thoran recipe and there is little difference in preparation.
Just make sure you don’t skip garlic as it really add flavors to this red cowpeas curry.
So let us go on to see how to make this vanpayar curry recipe Kerala style using coconut and spices. Even though we are preparing a curry out of peas with coconut six cups of water is not necessary as red cowpeas don’t absorb much water while cooking.
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I used a pressure cooker for this red cowpeas recipe to make this vanpayar curry, but you may use a pressure cooker, or a programmable instant pot or whatever that will help you to cook the peas perfectly.
The method explained here is pressure cooker method, but you should be able to easily adapt it and change for other cooking methods if needed.
Vanpayar Curry - Red Cowpea Coconut Curry
- 1 cup red cowpeas (vanpayar)
- ¾ cup grated coconut (or you can use dry shredded coconut)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups water may use more later if needed for gravy
- 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon curry powder or garam masala powder (optional)
For seasoning (optional)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- curry leaves a few, make sure no water content
- 3 dry red chilies broken
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Soak the red cowpeas in water for about half an hour.
- After soaking, remove the water used to soak the peas and rinse it again in fresh water.
- Transfer the drained red cowpeas to the pressure cooker and add 3 cups of fresh water.
- Add salt, mix well and cook the contents in the pressure cooker in medium heat for about 8 to 10 minutes after the steam begins to come or for about 3 whistles
- After 10 minutes of cooking or 3 whistles, turn off the stove and wait for the pressure cooker to cool off.
- Once the pressure cooker is cooled enough, open the lid and see if the peas is cooked enough and is soft. Don't drain the water from the pressure cooker.
- In a blender, blend together coconut, garlic and spices along with the remaining water to make delicious coconut gravy in spices.
- Add the coconut gravy with spices to the peas in pressure cooker, mix everything well and simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes in low heat so everything gets well blended with the gravy. If needed you may cover and cook also.
- After 3 to 4 minutes of cooking in low flame, you can switch off the stove. Your vanpayar curry with coconut gravy is ready to serve hot for lunch or dinner with rice, chapathi, dosa or any bread as you wish! If you want more gravy, you can add more water and simmer in low heat for another one minute. You can do a seasoning or tadka if you wish, as this will add flavor to the vanpayar curry or red cowpeas curry and make it more delicious.
To make the seasoning (optional)
- Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.
- When the mustard seeds splutter, add the curry leaves and broken dry red chilies and fry for a few seconds.
- Now the seasoning is ready which you can pour over the prepared vanpayar curry which is ready to serve!