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.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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23 thoughts on “Vanpayar Olathiyathu”

  1. Hi I tried dis recipe of yours today n v all loved it… I really must tell u dt ur recipes r easy to cook and the best…. Tried dal palak yday dt too turned out great ????????????

  2. hai maria…
    i got married last month, married n settled in Blore alone with my husband. learning all recipe from online…to be very frank your site has helped me to learn many recipies… happy to let u know that i tried ur recipies n all came out husband is also very happy with my cooking…
    GOD bless u dear…. post more n more………

  3. Hi Maria,

    I made the Vanpayar recipe. It was really delicious and yummy. We orthodox christians make this for Good friday and today I’m going to make it again. My kids and my hubby loved it very much. I only used the Green dal (Akka Moong) instead of the red one as I did not have the red one. It turned out to be excellent. It was a realy hit. Thank you very much for such lovely recipes :))

  4. A variant…
    Vanpayar or Tattapayaru Sundal for festivities :-
    Cook one cup of red cow peas ( Tatta payaru ) in pressure cooker. Drain off water. Heat oil in kadai, splutter 1 tsp each of Mustard seeds, Urad dhal and Bengal gram. Add a sprig of curry leaves and two green chillies finely chopped and fry with 1 tsp cummin powder and Asafoetida. Add the cooked Red Cow peas, Salt to taste and Grated cocount and fry further.

  5. Hi u said kanji and payar is a part of our life.. back in kerala our daily supper is the same ..along with other curries. i prefer ‘cherupayar’ to ‘vanpayar’ but your pic is so tempting that i should try this particular ‘vanpayar’ recipe. i believe it would be tasty.

    Also i would like to share a tip here which you may already know. I usually soak these ‘payar’ and ‘kadala’ items for 5 hours or more before pressure that it will be done in 2 whistles. can save time and some cooking gas! ;)

    • Hi Maria,

      How are you dear?

      As you’ve said cherupayar and kanji is the combo at my place. I had kanji with vanpayar for the first time at my in law’s place and it was nice, so posted it here :)

      About the soaking tip, I do that for kadala always but for payar I havent done it yet, because payar is always my last min dish ;)


  6. hi maria. i forgot to tell you that i tried out vanpayar olathiyathu also. it was superb. its one of our favorite dish. but i think it would be better if you didnt grind the curry leaves. or did you type it wrong. coz later in the recipe you’ve mentioned adding the ground ingredients and the curry leaves

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thank you :)

      btw, I didnt type it wrong, actually we dont mind the taste of curry leaves like that. You can always modify/adjust the recipe to suit your taste :)


  7. thanks Varsha :), vanpayar am referring to is small size kidney shaped in red colour.

    thanks veena and puzhukku is a good name for this i guess :) n hope you like this with pepper.

    thanks MR…ya we too have kanji n payar on good friday and I guess in some churches also they give kanji n payar on good friday.

    thanks Priya and yes, its very simple to prepare. Hope you will like it :)

  8. Maria..lovely dish dear..I loved that bowl too..Back in my place,Vanpayar was named to our big Kidney beans..i don think its the same payar I see here..That would mean I am totally new to this payar..Thats amazing..:D


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