Alasandalu Curry without Tomato ~ Lunch Box Series : LBS#82

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For today’s Cooking from Cookbook, I am going to share a new series that we have taken on ourselves. We refer to Amma and myself. Its a challenge to cook gravies, side dishes for both Rice and Roti, without using Tomatoes. 
Today’s recipe is Black Eyed Peas Gravy without Tomato. Black Eyed Peas is called Alasandalu/ Bobbarlu in Telugu, Lobia in Hindi and Karamani in Tamil. Many years ago I started a series on ingredients and this was one of the main lentils that I did. 
Alasandalu are a staple ingredient in Andhra cuisine and especially in our household, its very frequently prepared. While the beans or the fresh pods are cooked as a vegetable in Tamil Nadu, the fresh and dried seeds are used in gravies in Andhra. So being used to both the cuisines, we use it in different ways.
Coming to the challenge, for allergy reasons, we have to avoid including Tomato in the diet for our family member. Cooking without Onion or without Tomato sounded just so much of a challenge for us. I simply can’t imagine cooking anything without either of these two.
As always I asked Amma for ideas and we had to literally ponder on this for a while, before we could develop recipes that are tasty yet prepared without Tomato. We now prepare Rasam with just Tamarind, dal and Sambar without tomato, the sour factor being just Tamarind.
Then came the question of making side dishes for Rotis. This naturally meant experimenting again. Amma remembered couple of dishes that her Mom used to make. Those days, she said, they hardly used tomato. 
Based on those couple of dishes, we developed some more. So in this series, I will be sharing some of the recipes that turned out so delicious and we didn’t even miss our Tomato.

Alasandalu Curry without Tomato

Ingredients Needed:

Alasandalu – Fresh or dried – 1 cup
Potato – 1 medium
Onions – 2 medium
Garlic crushed – 4 cloves
Clove – 1
Cinnamon – 1″
Curry leaves handful
Green Chilies – 2
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil – 2 tsp
Roasted Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp

For the paste

Fresh Coconut – 3 tbsp
Garlic – 3 -4 cloves

How to make the Alasandalu Curry without Tomato

If using dried beans, soak overnight. Change water and pressure cook with enough water, along with potato cubes. Keep it aside for the pressure to fall down.

Grind coconut along with garlic to a smooth paste.

Heat a non stick kadai with oil, add curry leaves, green chilies, cloves, cinnamon, and crushed garlic. Saute well.

Then add finely chopped onions, saute till it changes colour.

Now add the ground masala and all the spice powders along with the boiled beans and potato. Cover with lid and cook for 10 mins.

Then add water as required and bring to boil.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with rice or roti.

I have served it with both Rice and Roti and it makes a very delicious subji.


If using fresh black eyed peas, you can simply wash and pressure cook for a whistle. Dried beans will take couple of whistles.

If you want to avoid potato, you can simply leave it off.

This goes for the August Week 3, Cooking from Cookbook Challenge  Group.

Alasandalu Curry without Tomato ~ Lunch Box Series : LBS#82

Course Main Dish - Gravies
Cuisine Andhra Pradesh
Author Srivalli
Tried this recipe?Mention @cooking4all or tag #cooking4all!

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  1. Since it was the Portuguese who brought tomato to India, this must have been what they were cooking centuries before. What a neat challenge and I love black eyed peas and sure would love to dig into this tomato free version regardless!

  2. Yes its true my mother too use to say that they rarely used tomato in cooking, it was tamarind or mango that was used to give a sour / tangy taste to the gravies. This dish too is delicious without tomato.

  3. Tomato was not a go to veggie for gravies. Now we got divided it. Once one my aunt laughted at me when I mentioned I use tomato in Chechen gravy.

    This curry looks so inviting & reminds me of beerakaya alsanda kaya kura.

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