Whole Yellow Peas with Bishop’s Weed


Preparation info

  • Makes

    4 cups

    • Difficulty


Appears in

660 Curries

By Raghavan Iyer

Published 2008

  • About

Whole legumes—like chickpeas, or yellow or green peas, cooked with simple spices—are referred to as ragados in Gujarati. I once sampled a frozen convenience product labeled “Ragado” and said to myself, “I can do better than this.” Here is the result, made extra-textural by the raw red onion and sweet golden raisins. Eat it with fluffy thin rotis for a simple meal.


  • 1 cup dried whole yellow peas (safed vatana)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon bishop’s weed
  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground Deggi chiles (see box); or ½ teaspoon cayenne (ground red pepper) mixed with ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion for garnishing
  • ½ cup golden raisins for garnishing


  1. Place the peas in a medium-size bowl. Fill the bowl halfway with water and rinse the peas by rubbing them between your fingertips. The water will become slightly cloudy. Drain this water. Repeat three or four times, until the water remains relatively clear; drain. Now fill the bowl halfway with hot water, cover the bowl, and set it aside at room temperature until the peas soften, about 8 hours. (Alternatively, bring the peas and water to a boil in a pressure cooker, without the lid in place. Then remove the cooker from the heat, seal the lid in place, and set the cooker aside for the peas to swell and become tender in that steam room-like environment, 3 to 8 hours.)
  2. Drain the peas and place them in a pressure cooker. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Skim off and discard any foam that forms on the surface. Seal the cooker shut and allow the pressure to build up. When the cooker reaches full pressure, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 30 minutes. Then remove the cooker from the heat and allow the pressure to subside naturally (about 15 minutes) before opening the lid. You will see that many of the peas have shed their skin, which has floated to the top. Do not discard the skins.
  3. While the peas are cooking, heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and bishop’s weed, and cook until they sizzle, turn reddish brown, and smell aromatic, 5 to 10 seconds. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 4 tablespoons of the cilantro and the salt, coriander, and ground chiles. (The heat from the oil will be just right to cook the spices without burning them.) Set the skillet aside.
  4. Once the peas finish doing their thing in the cooker, pour the spiced oil into the cooker. Ladle a scoop of peas and broth into the skillet, and stir to make sure you get every bit of the spices. Add this to the cooker. Continue to simmer the curry, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the sugar and ghee. (The burst of sweetness and the succulence from the ghee tone down the intensity of the chiles to make for a smooth balance.)
  6. Top the curry with the onion, raisins, and the remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro, and serve.