This recipe for hearty pea curry, infused with fresh spices, comes from the rural villages in Gujarat. Since pigeon peas grow in the cooler months, it’s typically a winter dish, but, in Australia, frozen pigeon peas are available year round.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (39 votes)


  • 250 g frozen pigeon peas (see Note)
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste (see Note)
  • 1–2 small green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 3 tsp jaggery (dark palm sugar)
  • 1 cup picked coriander leaves
  • lemon juice to taste


  • 3 tsp groundnut oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 pinches asafoetida powder
  • 3 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 2 dried red chillies, crumbled     
  • roti, chapatti or naan bread, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

In a medium pot, combine pigeon peas and enough water to cover. Place pot over high heat and bring to the boil. Cook for 2 minutes, drain. Transfer the peas to a food processor and process until coarsely chopped.

Return the chopped peas to the pot with 500 ml (2 cups) cold water and the remaining ingredients except for the coriander leaves and lemon. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes.  

Meanwhile, in a small frypan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the combined temper spices and cook for 1–2 minutes until the spices begin to crackle, being careful not to burn the sesame seeds. Tip the mixture into the pot with the peas, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. If mixture looks dry, add 60 ml (¼ cup) extra water. Add the coriander leaves and stir to combine. Cover and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Serve drizzled with lemon juice and roti, chapatti or naan bread.


• Pigeon peas are available frozen and dried from Indian grocers.
• To make ginger paste, finely grate ginger and the pound in a mortar and pestle.


Photography by Alan Benson