Vanpayar Olathiyathu

Kanji & payar is a welcome change from our usual chappathi for dinner. Hot kanji sprinkled with salt & grated coconut, along with a little bit overcooked payar ( I like my payar to be a bit pasty with kanji) is a taste that I find hard to trade for any fancy dish.

Kanji & vanpayar (rose moong dal or red cow peas) is a new combo to me. Back home we usually have kanji with cherupayar (green moong dal). But last time when we went to India, my mother in law made vanpayar with kanji. Thats the first time I had that combo, I usually have  vanpayar with rice and kachimoru . Anyways I fell in love with mummy's new combo and there are two main reasons for that: vanpayar is supposedly easier on tummy compared to cherupayar and this preparation doesnt have coconut, so its healthy without any compromise on the taste, isnt that great?? The secret of its taste is in the ground masala, I just love it when I fry this masala in coconut oil, try it and you will know what am talking about :)

One more thing before going to the recipe…though I've written “olathiyathu” in title, am not sure whether it is olathiyathu. Since coconut is not added, it's not a thoran and I haven't heard anybody saying vanpayar mezhukkuperatti, so I just wrote olathiyathu. Please do share your thoughts on the same…

Here is the recipe…

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Vanpayar Olathiyathu

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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala, South Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 1 cup Vanpayar (red dal/cow peas)
  • 5-7 Small onion / Pearl onion
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • 2-3 Red chili
  • Curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard
  • Coconut oil


  • Wash and clean the vanpayar. Pressure cook vanpayar in 2 – 2 1/2 cups water ( I cook it in high flame for 4-5 whistles and keep it closed for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, open the cooker and drain the water completely).
  • Grind together small onion,garlic, black pepper, red chilli and curry leaves (It will be great, if you can crush it using mortar & pestle). Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard. Add ground masala, turmeric powder and curry leaves & fry it for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add cooked payar & salt. Mix everything well. Add around 1/4 cup (or less) of water & combine. Cook till the water is dried.
  • Serve hot with kanji or rice.


As you can see in the picture, I like payar to be mashed and soft. If you dont want it to be pasty, adjust the cooking time accordingly and also adjust the quantity of water that you add to the cooked payar.
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