Chakkara Payar | Malabar Red Cow Pea Dessert

A forgotten Malabar delicacy made with red cow peas, jaggery and coconut milk…




I really don’t know when is the last time I have had “Chakkara Payar”. I really don’t remember how the whole thought came into my memory as well. I have always mentioned that there were certain dishes that umma would make on a repeat mode and then all of a sudden, she would just stop making them. One example is the Kadala Pidi. She used to make it once in a while as kids and then she just stopped. While I tried to figure out what the reason may be, I get an inkling that it may be because we weren’t really interested in any “naadan” dishes as kids. Maybe she figured out that we weren’t keen on eating them as much as she was keen on making them.


I can now see myself repeating history with my girls. Sometimes, I find it extremely difficult trying to gauge their likes and dislikes. As much as I would like to register them into my head, sometimes they escape my radar. Last week, I had gone down to complete my formalities with my ex-company. While coming back, I dropped by a bakery and picked up some pastries. Azza had been asking for them for some days, so I thought I could better pick them up. Knowing that Rasha loves chocolate, I picked up a chocolate pastry. But as soon as I came home, she saw the chocolate pastry and frowned. “Ummi, I don’t like such dark chocolate cakes!” She was right – she always blames my brownies are extremely dark, and that explains her favoritie of mine are these Milk Chocolate Brownies, which have a decent shade of brown. Maybe I should have picked the black forest for her…




Maybe it is a part of the motherly instinct that we stop cooking any dish that our family doesn’t seem to enjoy. They may not imply it in words but if the vibe is off, the we just take it that they don’t like it and never make it again, if it is a dish that we love to eat ourselves. I mean I do feel lazy to make a dish just for myself to enjoy. A part of that laziness also stems from guilt of enjoying by my own without giving to my family. Even then a lot of times, I feel that we do need to take care of ourselves and push off that guilt to give what we have been craving or looking forward to…


OK, so coming back to the Chakkara Payar, after having a revelation of sorts, I bought a very small batch of red pea beans and ended up making the whole pack into this batch. I wasn’t sure my girls would eat them, since they aren’t usually fond of any traditional dish. The dish is really easy to make, once the cow pea beans are soaked and cooked till done. While it simmers in the coconut milk and jaggery, we keep mashing some so that the sauce thickens quickly. There is no use of any fat like ghee in this dish, and hence it is totally vegan. I was surprised to see my girls really enjoying it and equate it to the Chakkara Gothambu, sans the carbs. Hehe… Maybe now that I know my girls wouldn’t mind having this once in a while, I am looking forward to making this in a bigger quantity, InShaAllah… In case this does pique your memories, go ahead and cook it as soon as you can!





Chakkara Payar | Malabar Red Cow Pea Dessert

Course Breakfast/ Dessert
Cuisine Malabar
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Author Rafeeda AR


  • 1/2 cup red cow pea beans soaked for four hours and drained
  • 1 cup thin coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 200 gm jaggery melted in 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp fennel powder
  • 1/4 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • A pinch of salt


  • Cook the red cow pea beans in a pressure cooker till done. Drain and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, combine the thin coconut milk, melted jaggery and the beans and bring to boil.
  • Cook on low flame, stirring occassionally till it starts to thicken.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and give a good mix. Simmer for some more time. Serve warm.

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi, we call it chakkara kanji and my mom used to make it on 1st of Makaram ( Malayalam month), don’t know why..but the recipe is almost same..She add little pieces of coconut fried in ghee for a bite:)

  2. Yes, I get what you mean when it comes to certain foods. love hearing stories about the girls 🙂 . this dish looks yumm.

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