Kala Vatana or Black Peas shouldn’t be confused with black channa or black eyed peas. This is a very different pulse not actually black in colour but more a dark brown hue, mostly grown in some parts of Maharashtra and hence a part of Malvani cuisine. It is not easily available in other parts of India, I was quite surprised to see in a supermarket at Bangalore and promptly picked it up. It has a unique flavour and remains firm even when well done, quite unlike dry green or yellow peas.
I have primarily followed a Sanjeev Kapoor recipe for this with a few variations.
1 ½ cup black vatana,
1 big onion,
2 tbsps oil,
½ cup dry coconut sliced,
½ cup grated fresh coconut,
6-8 garlic cloves,
A pinch of asafoetida,
½ tsp turmeric powder,
1 tbsp red chilli powder,
1 tsp powdered cumin powder,
1 tbsp powdered coriander seeds,
Salt to taste,
4-5 pieces of kokum,
1 tbsp powdered jaggery,
1 tsp garam masala powder,
1 tsp mustard seeds,
2-3 green chillies,
7-8 curry leaves
Soak the black vatana after washing overnight. Cook it with salt till done. They should be soft to touch.
Peel and slice half the onion and chop the other half.
Heat ½ tbsp oil and add the sliced onion, dry coconut slices, garlic and fresh coconut. Fry this on a low heat till light brown in colour. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and fry some more. Let cool and grind to a fine paste along with 1-2 tbsps of the cooked peas.
Heat the remaining oil and add the mustard seeds and asafoetida. Once the mustard seeds pop add the curry leaves and chopped onion. When the onions turn brown in colour add the cooked peas and the water in which the peas are cooked. Mix well and add the prepared paste.
Let this come to a boil, now add the kokum (you can also use dried mango pieces if you do not have kokum) and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Next add the powdered jaggery and garam masala powder. Mix well and switch off the heat.
I teamed it up with multi-grain puris and rice, it can also be had with pav (an Indian bread).