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Vatana Usal Recipe

5 from 11 votes

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Made of peas, this vatana usal recipe is packed with protein and essential fats. It goes great with some Indian laadi pav or rotis. It’s a vegetarian staple in many Goan households. When fresh vegetables are not available, or I’ve forgotten to go grocery shopping, this is my go-to recipe.

Just soak some dry white peas in warm water for a few hours or overnight and cook them with some spices. You may find it easy to just use canned peas but please don’t. Try making the recipe from scratch. You will never go back to canned foods. I personally find the taste of canned items a little metallic. All Indian households use pressure cooker. The peas can be cooked on stove tops but they take a long time to cook that way. Pressure cooking works great without compromising taste or nutrition. Also, some dietitians recommend including ghee as part of the meal to aid digestion of these peas.

If you have the Goan curry paste prepped in the freezer, this is one of the easiest recipes you will be making for a weeknight dinner. In Goa, a lot of people have vatana usal pav (a combination of this usal with the gorgeous Indian laadi pav) for breakfast. As a garnish, many include finely chopped onions and cilantro.

A kid-friendly variation is to skip the whole red chili and the Goan curry paste. Instead, just saute onions and tomatoes, and add the pressure-cooked peas.

Vatana usal

Vatana Usal

Vegan, gluten-free, protein packed dried peas cooked in a Goan curry sauce
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 6 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Goan, Indian
Servings 4


Pressure Cooker


  • 1 cup dried peas soak in water for 6 hours or overnight
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 pinch hing or asafoetida
  • 1 tsp curry leaves
  • 1 whole red dried chili
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup Goan curry paste


  • Soak peas overnight or for at least 6 hours.
  • Pressure cook soaked peas for 4 whistles with a pinch of salt.
  • In another pan, heat oil.
  • Add mustard seeds and wait until they splutter.
  • Add asafoetida, curry leaves, dried red chili and saute.
  • Add cooked peas and mix well.
  • Add the Goan curry paste and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer for a few minutes. Add more salt if needed.
  • Garnish with cilantro (optional) and serve hot with pav or roti.


Make sure to use quality peas. The older the peas, the longer they take to cook. In some cases, they require addition of baking soda to aid the cooking process. I do not prefer that technique. 


Please note that the nutrition information provided below is approximate and meant as a guideline only. Actual numbers may be different from those provided below. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Keyword Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
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Click here for another vegetarian protein-packed chickpea recipe.

Happy Feeding and Eating!

By FoodLifeAndMoney in June, 2019

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