This bright and spicy lobia masala is a satisfying and healthy main that comes together in 30 minutes.
In 2019, Saptarshi and I made a conscious effort to eat less meat. While initially it was a challenge given that we had meat as a main for every meal, it becomes easier every month (see vegetarian recipes here). I have especially grown to rely on legumes as a staple (thank you dal!), and developed a special affection for white beans. But I had never really seen white beans incorporated in Pakistani recipes until I found a lobia masala recipe in the Salt’n Pepper Village Cookbook. Being the food nerd that I am, I got excited and immediately got round to testing and tweaking the recipe for the blog.
This lobia masala is an incredibly easy recipe that is perfect for busy (or lazy) weeknights. I find white beans to be quite beautiful and flavorful in their own right and wanted to avoid over-cooking or over-spicing them. So in this recipe adaptation, I pared down the spices significantly to give them some breathing room. I used canned cannellini beans in this recipe but you can use any variety. I LOVE having them with toast but you can also enjoy them with naan or roti/chapati.
- Neutral oil: Any variety of neutral oil, such as avocado, canola or vegetable oil works well.
- Yellow or red onion: Both varieties work. Just remember that the weight of the onion is roughly the same as tomatoes.
- Crushed ginger
- Crushed garlic
- Roma tomatoes: We typically use roma tomatoes in Pakistani cooking but vine tomatoes are a good substitute.
- Salt: I use regular table salt. Remember to adjust depending on the variety of salt you are using and your personal taste!
- Red chili flakes: I wanted more bite and less color so I opted for red chili flakes here. You can swap it with cayenne red pepper or Kashmiri red chili powder.
- Coriander powder: This ground spice infuses the dish with lovely earthy and citrusy notes.
- White beans: I used canned cannellini beans but any variety works here.
- Juice of one lemon (optional): I love finishing this dish with some lemon juice.
- Cilantro (optional)
What to Serve It With
Lobia Masala Recipe
- 2 tablespoon neutral oil
- ½ teaspoon crushed ginger
- ½ teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 small yellow or red onion thinly sliced in half rings
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 2 roma tomatoes roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 15-ounce can of white beans
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tablespoon diced cilantro
- Heat oil in saucepan. Add chopped onion and fry on medium-low heat until evenly brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add crushed ginger and garlic and fry for roughly one minute or until fragrant.
- Add coriander powder and fry for another minute until fragrant.
- Increase heat to high, and add chopped tomatoes, salt and red chili flakes. Fry until soft, about 7 - 10 minutes.
- Add white beans and stir well. Bring down heat to medium, and let the beans simmer in the masala for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and place in serving bowl. Top with lemon juice and diced cilantro for garnish.