Vella Payaru – Black eyed peas in a jaggery based sweet – Vegan | Gluten & Grain Free

‘Vella payaru’, like many Indian sweets I posted earlier is also jaggery based.  It is naturally fat-free, and healthy, and is a traditional sweet offered as ‘prasadam’ (prashad or neivedyam) during any pooja.  I had posted a while back that Autumn is a harbinger of festivals in India, and right now we are in the middle of ‘Navaratri’, which marks the worship of nine female deities, each representative of a different aspect of womenhood.  Tamilians in general, and Tambrahms (Iyer & Iyengar) in particular make an offering of different types of sundal (chundal).  Sundal is a quick stir-fry of various legumes, seasoned with mustard and curry leaves, and garnished with fresh coconut.  It is usually a savoury dish.  These legumes are also used to cook sweet dishes, with jaggery and coconut and are known by different names.

Vella payaru, Jaggery with black eyed peas, Indian grain free prasad Styled by my son, Jr.P!

When we cook black-eyed-peas in a sweet roast, we call it ‘vella payaru’. It literally translates as ‘jaggery with black eyed peas’.  This is the offering I made today as prasad or bhog. It is a very tasty dish, and gets done in minutes.

Since I am blogging a dish every day, I am not able to plate and style as well as I would like to.  It is a time consuming, though enjoyable activity, but definitely not on work-days.  However, this morning both Jr.P and Jr.H were at home when I was taking photographs, and Jr.P did not like the way I had piled up the sweet.  He wanted to do something fancy, and today’s presentation is totally his styling.  What do you think?  I am terribly proud of the lad!  The tower crumbled after some time but held long enough for me to take some good photographs.

IF you cannot find jaggery use toddy palm sugar, Coconut palm sugar, Gula Melaka if you reside in S.E.Asia, and whole cane sugar or voll-rohrzucker if you are in Germany. Adjust sweetness.

Vella payaru, Jaggery with black eyed peas, Indian grain free prasad

Recipe: Vella Payaru [Black eyed peas in a jaggery based sweet]
Yield: Serves 4-5 portions
Allergy information: Does not contain gluten, dairy, nuts, casein, lactose or grains. Suitable for all. It is also free from refined sugar

Black eyed peas | Lobia | Chowli | Roongi | Payaru – 1.5 cups | 250g
Powdered jaggery – 1 cup | 164g
Fresh, scraped, coconut – 1/2 cup, pressed | 45g

Dry roast black eyed peas well on even flame in a wok, till aromatic and lightly speckled with brown. Add water and pressure cook on high pressure for three whistles. Let cooker cool naturally. Drain the residual liquid from the legumes.

Place the wok back on heat and add jaggery. Add a tbsp. of water and melt jaggery completely, stirring all the while on medium to low flame.

When melted, strain through a muslin cloth to separate impurities. Clean out the wok and put back on heat with the strained jaggery.

Add coconut and black eyed peas, and cook, stirring all the while, on low heat, till the mixture turns dry, about 10-15 minutes.


Optional: Add podded and pounded cardamom from 4-5 pods, if desired.

Vella payaru, Jaggery with black eyed peas, Indian grain free prasad

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Have your say

  1. We make this pacha payaru mostly. I add cardamon too. I will try with black eyed peas some time. My son loves it. Gorgeous clicks.

  2. Very well done Harini, Jr has managed to make the usual dish into something you have got an assistant very nice..

  3. I got a mini shock! Black eyed peas as a sweet, who would thunk that. But we make whole moong sweet so this should not. Great Job Jr.!

  4. Little Masterchef is making already Harini, lovely dish styling… now you have a young fresh brain for your help and more innovations :)! Would love to see more.

  5. Yes, why not Anjali. 🙂 We make similar thing with moong too. Will be coming up soon too.:D Thanks, will pass on compliments to Jr.P. 🙂

  6. Anamika, I feel the father and son are blooming now. Good for me. I will tell Jr.P, his work has been appreciated. Thank you!

  7. Hi Harini, will be making this now and will give you feedback about how it turned out. It just so happens that I have some left over black eyed beans that I can use. I am replacing the jaggery with palm sugar so not really sure if I need to strain it. Will see how it goes. Another thing…do not have a pressure cooker so just going to slow cook it (have no idea how long this is going to take as well) and because there is no fresh coconut, I have gone with the frozen alternative.

  8. Excellent styling by Jr.P! 🙂

  9. I love all of the pictures….did you say he is getting there? I think he can train me. Great job!

  10. Lata! He is going to be stoked, reading this! Thanks for the encouragement. Does wonders always. 🙂

  11. Thanks, Sush! Will be conveyed. 🙂

  12. Would love to know how it turns out. And if you have a photograph, I will be happy to share it in my page too. 🙂 It will help me too, to know how these substitutions will work.

  13. Hey Harini,
    Am simply salivating over vellai payaru and such – my palate has strong resurgent memories! Unfortunately MY family won’t cooperate, even in the eating 🙁
    But after such frenetic effort you must surely need a 2 month vacation in the Himalayas this time, one that I would love to dream of joining you on!

  14. Aiyyo!!:( Why Sumati? They don’t like vella payaru? In that case you should make some for yourself, or visit me. 🙂 I love the thought of that vacation in the Himalayas, but I would need a stop-gap arrangement! Maybe you can join us for the short trip in Summer. 🙂

  15. Would love to cook it for myself and then something else for the family, but alas, I don’t have a ‘woman-friday” to speed things along, so a visit to Mumbai it’ll have to be!

  16. That’s a good idea too, Sumati! Would love to cook for you. 🙂

  17. Your food looks absolutely delicious, it’ll be a pleasure both to witness the making and enjoy the eating! It’s a date…

  18. Yes, it is!

  19. It was delicious. My husband kept asking for more. Thanks for the yummy treat 🙂

  20. My pleasure! I am so glad both of you liked it. 🙂

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