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February 27, 2019

Karamani Kuzhambu – Thatta Payaru Kulambu Recipe

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Karamani kuzhambu
I tried this Karamani kuzhambu aka Thatta payaru kuzhambu in Tamil (cowpeas / black eyed pea gravy in English) for the first time by getting the recipe from a friend. This kulambu recipe is with coconut and fennel seeds masala. So it was so good and flavorful just like hotel kara kuzhambu. The flavor of roasted red karamani enhanced it even better. We all loved this Kulambu. We had a satisfaction of including a healthy legume in our regular diet. 

My friend told me to soak the cowpeas over night and pressure cook it before adding to the kuzhambu. But I simplified the job by following my MIL’s technique of cooking karamani instantly without soaking. Yes, I roasted the karamani in little oil till its aromatic and then pressure cooked it in the kulambu itself. It was well cooked and soft to eat. 

Friends, if you follow this method you can make cowpeas gravy for rice under 15 minutes using a pressure cooker. I am sure you will love to see the layer of oil floating on top once you open the cooker. If you want try the same recipe by soaking and pre cooking karamani, you can try that too. In that case soak it for 3 to 4 hours in hot water. Similarly you can use white Lobia/ cowpeas or brown chana. If you like, you can pair it with any vegetables like brinjal, potato or lady’s finger. 

Ok, lets see how to make karamani / thatta payir kuzhambu recipe with step by step pictures.

If you want to try this kuzhambu without coconut, please check my brown chana kuzhambu for an idea. You can use karamani instead of kondakadalai.
thatta payaru kuzhambu

Karamani kuzhambu / thatta payir kulambu recipe

Karamani kuzhambu / thatta payir kulambu recipe

Thatta payaru kuzhambu / Karamani kulambu recipe for rice made instantly without soaking cowpeas in an easy way using a pressure cooker.

Cuisine: South Indian
Category: Kuzhambu recipes
Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Total time: 30 Minutes

1 cup = 250ml
  • Cowpeas / red karamani / thattai payir - 1/2 cup
  • Sesame oil or cooking oil - 2 tbsp 
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek / Methi seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Big onion - 1 (chopped finely)
  • Garlic cloves – 10 no.
  • Curry leaves - Few
  • Ripe tomato - 1 (chopped finely)
  • Tamarind - Big gooseberry size
  • Sambar powder - 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt and water - as needed
To Grind
  • Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
  • Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
  1. Wash and keep the karamai aside. You ca n soak it for 4 hours optionally. Wash and chop onion, tomato.
  2. In a pressure cooker base, heat oil. Splutter mustard seeds, methi seeds, cumin seeds and urad dal.
  3. Saute onion, garlic cloves and curry leaves till transparent.
  4. Add karamani and roast for 5 minutes in low to medium flame.
  5. Add chopped tomato and saute till mushy. Add sambar powder, salt and turmeric powder.
  6. Saute quickly without burning. Add 1 cup of tamarind extract, ground coconut paste. Mix well.
  7. Pressure cook in low flame for 3 to 4 whistles. Switch off the flame and remove after steam is released. Mix well and serve hot with plain rice. Enjoy !
  • Wash the karamani/ cowpeas and drain the water completely.  You can soak the karamani adding enough water for 4 to 6 hours OR make it without soaking too. I did not soak the karamani instead I roasted in oil till flavorful and pressure cooked as told below.  Wash and chop onion, tomato finely. Peel garlic cloves.

  • Grind coconut, fennel seeds to a smooth paste adding required water. Set aside.
  • Karamani kuzhambu
  • In a pressure cooker base, heat oil. Splutter mustard seeds, urad dal, methi seeds and cumin seeds. Add onion, garlic cloves and curry leaves. Saute till onion becomes transparent.
Karamani kuzhambu

  • Add karamani. Roast it for 5 minutes in low to medium flame till nice aroma arises. Then add tomato and saute till mushy. (Instead of roasting karamani, you can soak it for 4 hours, pressure cook it and add to the cooker. In that case pressure cook the kuzhambu for one whistle in low flame).
  • Karamani kuzhambu
  • Add turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt. Saute quickly. Then add 1 cup of tamarind extract. Mix well. When it comes to a boil, add the ground coconut paste. Mix well and check for taste. Add more salt and sambar powder if needed. Cover the cooker with a lid. Keep the flame high. When the steam starts to come out, put the weight valve. Reduce the flame completely low.
  • Karamani kuzhambu
  • Cook for 4 to 5 whistles in low flame. Karamani cooks well and soft. Don't worry, it won't turn mushy. If you are using soaked karamani,  pressure cook for one whistle in low flame. Remove after the steam is released. You can see a layer of oil floating on top. Mix well an check for consistency of kuzhambu. 
  • If its too thick, add some water and give one boil. If its too thin, boil for few minutes to evaporate the excess water. Serve with plain rice. If you like, you can add a tsp of oil or ghee over the kuzhambu while serving. Enjoy ! Stays good for 2 days in refrigerator. 
  • Karamani kuzhambu


  • For variations, you can use brown chana or white chana instead of cowpeas in this kuzhambu but soak them overnight, pressure cook and then add it.
  • Fennel seeds gives a nice flavor to this kuzhambu. So do not skip it.
  • This kuzhambu stays good in refrigerator for more than 2 days. You can store and enjoy.

Try this easy, yummy karamani kara kuzhambu and share your feedback with me !

thatta payaru kulambu

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Unknown said...

Tried this recipe! So delicious. Thanks Chitra. The explanation and pictures are really good and adequate.

Unknown said...

I tried it's very delicious. Thank you madam

Chitra said...

Thank you so much. Happy to know 😊

madhu said...

Hi, I loved the recipe...but can you please telle what I can substitute for tamaromd

Chitra said...

Hi, you can try tomatoes and add lemon juice.

Unknown said...

Awesome recipe my family loved it

Chitra said...

Thanks a lot for your feedback :)

Unknown said...

Looks lovely I want to try..If I don't have sambar powder what is the best option or alternative?

Chitra said...

Hi, you can use red chilli powder + coriander powder instead of sambar powder.