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  • Serves 4-6

  • 50 minutes

  • very easy

  • 250g black eyed beans/peas

  • 1 large or 2 medium/small white onions, finely diced

  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds or 1 tsp cumin powder

  • 1 level tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds (or substitute 1 tbsp dried fenugreek/methi leaves)

  • 1-2 whole dried chillies (optional)

  • 8-10 garlic cloves, crushed & finely chopped

  • 8-10cm thumb of fresh ginger, finely chopped

  • 4 medium or 6 small tomatoes, chopped

  • 6cm stick cassia bark (or substitute cinnamon bark)

  • 1 level tsp turmeric powder

  • 1/2-1 tsp chilli powder, according to taste

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped (optional)

  • Fresh green chillies, finely chopped (optional)

To those of us in the UK, we’d probably call this a kind of dal. But in Marathi (the local Mumbai dialect) rasse or rassedar means a type of broth or gravy, and they call this black eye beans in gravy or lobia rassedar. In many dals, the lentils or pulses breakdown to form a thick soup like consistency, but the beans in this dish stay whole (for the most part) but are still cooked until they are buttery soft to highlight their creamy flavour. The flavour profile of this dish is also quite distinct using fenugreek seeds (also known as methi). It’s very important to toast the fenugreek seeds or powder as this reduces the bitterness and enhances the flavour. You could also use fresh or dried methi leaves instead, especially if you don’t have a spice grinder, as the fenugreek seeds need to be ground to a powder after toasting.


  1. Rinse the beans in cold water, then add to pan with a litre of water and bring to boil. Cook until the beans are completely soft. Set aside.

  2. In a heavy bottomed pan, add the vegetable oil and cassia bark, then add the chopped onions and sauté for ten minutes until translucent and golden brown.

  3. In a separate small pan, toast the fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds for a few minutes, taking care not to burn. If using cumin powder, this should also be toasted gently for a minute or two. If using fenugreek/methi leaves, these will be added later.

  4. If using the whole spices, grind the toasted ingredients using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.

  5. Add the toasted and ground spices to the cooked onions, along with the dried chillies (if using), chopped garlic, ginger, tomatoes, turmeric powder and chilli powder. Continue to cook gently on a medium low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

  6. Add the cooked beans to the pan, along with 600ml of water (and fenugreek/methi leaves if using) and bring to boil. Simmer for 30-40 minutes until everything is well cooked, and the onions and tomatoes have cooked down to a rich gravy. Add a little more water as needed.

  7. Serve with steamed basmati rice (or methi parathas are delicious) and scatter with fresh coriander and chopped fresh green chillies, if you like.


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