Thatta Payaru Pulavu | Cowpea Pulao

Thattapayaru Pulavu
Recipe for one pot pulao made with thatta payaru known as cowpea. Perfect for busy weekdays and here is another delicious lunch box recipe that can be made in under 30 minutes.

Cowpea is cultivated all over the Kongunadu region due to its nature of being tolerant to drought and heat than other legumes. A single seed can contain upto 25% protein. Cowpea is perfect for cultivation in poor dry conditions and it makes it an important crop for arid and dry regions where many other crops fail to grow. Its also a rich source of folic acid. Cowpea is a high-quality plant protein source eaten throughout the world. The plant itself is used as forage for cattle so the name “cowpea”. It comes in a variety of colors – white, brown and red. The brown cowpea is what is predominantly used in Kongunadu.

But due to its anti nutritional properties like phytic acid and protease inhibitors, soaking the seeds overnite is preferred to increase the bioavailability of nutrients.


Here are some of the things you can buy online for making this recipe
Deep Pressure Pan
Cold Pressed Natural Virgin Coconut Oil
Teak-wood Chopping Board
Seeraga Samba Rice
Red / Brown Cowpea

Here is the video of how to make thatta payaru pulavu | cow pea pulao


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thatta payaru pulavu | cow pea pulao

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Recipe for one pot pulao made with thatta payaru known as cowpea. Perfect for busy weekdays and here is another delicious lunch box recipe that can be made in under 30 minutes.

  • Total Time: 8h30m
  • Yield: 3-4 servings 1x



1/2 cup cowpea (thatta payaru)
2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 inch piece cinnamon / cassia
2 cloves
2 cardamom
2 bayleaves
1 star anise
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves, chopped
2 green chillies, chopped
1 cup onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
2 tomatoes chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup coriander leaves, chopped
2 cups water
1 cup seeraga samba rice
1/2 a lime , juiced


We will be using brown cowpea today for making this recipe. Brown cowpea is preferred. The cowpea needs to be washed and soaked overnight in water. Soaking hard lentils overnight helps increase the bioavailability of the nutrients present. Cowpea is rich in protein and folic acid. A single seed can contain upto 25% protein. Do include cowpea in your diet if you are vegetarian. After soaking, the cowpea is ready to go into our pulav.

Let’s make the pulav
Take a pressure pan and add in coconut oil. Any oil is ok but coconut oil goes so well in this recipe. I used a 5 liter pressure cooker today to make this recipe.

Once the oil is hot, add in the whole spices. Add in a piece of cinnamon, a couple of cloves, a couple of cardamom and bay leaves and a small piece of star anise. Add in little fennel seeds along. Chop some curry leaves and add it to the pan. Add some chopped green chillies along.

Saute the spices and herbs for a few seconds. The spices should turn aromatic once sauteed in oil. Make sure not to burn the spices. Once the spices are aromatic, add in the chopped onions. Saute the onions until the onions are soft. It will take about 3-4 minutes on medium flame. Once the onions are soft and slowly starting to change color, add in the turmeric powder and the red chilli powder. Add in the ginger garlic paste. Saute the spice powders and the ginger garlic paste for a minute.

Add in a couple of tomatoes that are chopped fine. Mix well to combine. Add in the salt at this stage. Along with the salt, add in the mint leaves and coriander leaves. Make sure to chop the herbs and add to the pan. Mix well.

Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan to avoid scorching at the bottom. Mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on a low flame for about five minutes. We are looking for the tomatoes to be mushy.

Tomatoes should be soft and mushy after about five minutes of cooking. Add in about two cups of water to the pan at this stage.

After adding the water, add in the soaked and drained cowpea to the pan. Mix well to combine. Check for seasoning at this stage and add in some salt if necessary. If you think the pulav needs more spice, throw in some green chillies if need be. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on a medium flame for about 15 minutes.

While the cowpea is cooking, let’s get the rice ready. I am using seeraga samba rice today. Seeraga samba rice is a short grained rice variety that is traditionally used for biryanis and pulav in Tamil nadu and certain parts of South India. If you cannot get hold of this rice, basmati rice will work just fine. Wash the seeraga samba rice in water once and soak the rice for about 15 minutes.

Once the cowpea is firm but tender, add in the rice. Drain the rice and then add it to the pan. Mix everything well. Add in juice of half a lime to the pan. After adding the lime juice, cover the pressure pan with a lid.

Make sure the flame is at a medium. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. About two whistles in an Indian style pressure cooker. After the said whistles, switch off the flame and wait for the pressure to settle. Once the pressure settles, open the pan.

Gently fluff up the rice. If doing this dish for a party, add a couple of tablespoons of ghee at this stage to make this dish very rich. Our thatta payaru pulavu / cow pea pulao is ready to be served.

You can serve the pulav with fried vadagam or appalam.

  • Author: Suguna Vinodh
  • Prep Time: 8h
  • Cook Time: 30m

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