black-eyed peas

Indian inspired black-eyed pea curry

Indian inspired black-eyed pea curry

We’re constantly trying to add new legume-inspired recipes to our repertoire. After all, how can one be almost vegetarian without eating beans? I think, perhaps, that we don’t feature black-eyed peas as we should. Recently Steven made a delicious black-eyed peas and polenta dish. Every now and then I make a brown rice and black-eyed pea risotto that’s quite enjoyable. Black-eyed peas are delightful in croquettes, certainly. But all told, that’s only a few measly (albeit wonderful) ways of preparing something that’s so versatile, flavorful and nutritious.

So today’s inspiration comes from Indian cuisine. I’ve been following Manjula’s Kitchen for a while now and am blown away by the many creative ways she employs beans and pulses. This recipe is based on one from her blog. I made a few adaptations. We loved it.

the sunset on the night we enjoyed Indian inspired black-eyed pea curry

the sunset on the night we enjoyed Indian inspired black-eyed pea curry

Indian inspired black-eyed pea curry

2 cups dry black-eyed peas, rinsed and soaked in water for ½ hour then drained
1/8 tsp asafedida
2 tbsp canola oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
¾ tsp mango powder
¼ tsp garam masala
½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
Sea salt to taste

for the curry paste:

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
½ tsp chili powder
2 jalapeño peppers, seeds partially removed
2 tbsp coriander powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder

Add all ingredients for the curry paste to a food processor with a couple of tablespoons of water and whiz into a paste.

Add canola oil to pressure cooker. Bring temperature to high. Add cumin seeds and cook until aromatic, about a minute or so. Add asafetida followed by the curry paste. Cook on medium temperature until raw flavors are gone and oil floats on the surface of the curry paste. Toss in black eyed-peas with 3 cups of water. Cover pressure cooker, and when it starts whistling, turn temperature down and continue cooking for another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let pan cool down. Check for doneness. The beans should be soft. If not return pan to burner and cook a little longer.

Add tomatoes, salt, garam masala, mango powder and continue cooking, uncovered, just long enough to warm tomatoes through. Add cilantro, adjust salt and serve. We had this stew with a side of Japanese rice cooked Brazilian style.

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This intensely flavorful recipe comes from the wonderful blog, Pescatarian Journal. We always feel a spiritual connection with Alaiyo’s food, which is land-animal free, often vegetarian and low fat, and using both familiar and unusual ingredients in exciting ways. Her black-eyed peas and polenta with minced collards really caught my eye. This then is my “version” of her masterpiece.

black-eyed peas with purple kale and polenta

black-eyed peas with purple kale and polenta

Of course, I’ve had to modify things a little. For starters, I used the purple kale that we’ve been growing in our community garden rather than collard greens. I put the stems in the polenta and sautéed the leaves to serve separately. I didn’t have fresh turmeric or ground chipotle pepper, so I used dried for the first and pasilla pepper for the second. I was anxious about not pre-soaking the dried black-eyed peas, so went ahead and did that for about 3 hours before cooking to relieve my nerves. Finally, I cooked the stems as described below.

This dish was really thrilling!

purple kale from our community garden plot

purple kale from our community garden plot

Oh, just remembered, I couldn’t find the quick-cooking polenta which was a real drag. Instead I used the regular stuff which I prepared over a double boiler per package instructions.

black-eyed peas with purple kale and polenta

for the black-eyed peas:

1½ cups dried black-eyed peas, rinsed, picked over and soaked in water about three hours
3 cups water
1 yellow onion, in medium dice
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried pasilla powder
1 tsp dried turmeric
Black pepper to taste
1 cup veggie stock (I made my own with onion and celery)
Kosher salt to taste

for the polenta:

1 cup polenta
2 to 3 tbsp mascarpone
¼ tsp ground white pepper
1 large bunch of purple kale stems, sliced thin
½ onion, in medium dice
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup sake or cooking wine (white)
Salt to taste

for the sautéed purple kale:

1 large bunch purple kale (use stems above), sliced finely
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 tbsp soy sauce

to prepare black-eyed peas:

onions with turmeric and pasilla powder in pot with uncooked black-eyed peas

onions with turmeric and pasilla powder in pot with uncooked black-eyed peas

Drain soaking peas. Place peas in pot with 3 cups water.

In a skillet, sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent. Don’t add salt or your peas won’t cook. Add garlic, turmeric and pasilla then cook for a half minute more. Add to peas and bring the pot to a boil then reduce to simmer. Stir occasionally. Add veggie stock when liquid is reduced by about half. Cook until peas are tender (about an hour). When ready, add salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.

to prepare polenta:

Sauté the onion and crushed garlic in olive oil with a pinch of salt. After they’ve begun to cook, add the kale stems and sauté for a few more minutes. Add sake and cover to let steam. If still not tender, add some water and let cook until tender. Discard garlic clove and set aside.

Follow package instructions for your polenta. Instead of butter or olive oil, add mascarpone at the end of cooking with the sautéed purple kale stems and white pepper. Press polenta into an oiled pie or cake dish. I used a pie-shaped serving dish. Set aside.

to prepare sautéed purple kale:

Merely sauté kale in olive oil. Add soy sauce and crushed red pepper after kale has begun to wilt.

the three components for black-eyed peas with purple kale and polenta

the three components for black-eyed peas with purple kale and polenta

to assemble dish:

Ladle some black-eyed peas onto a dinner plate. Top with a slice of polenta. Garnish with sautéed kale. Mmm-mmm-mmm! Thanks again for this amazing recipe, Alaiyo!

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gen-ji-mai rice with black-eyed peas

gen-ji-mai rice with black-eyed peas

I’ve been a little bit obsessed with gen-ji-mai rice ever since I discovered this cereal, grain mix at a Korean market in the West Coast D.C.—that’s right, Daily City, California 😉

We’ve already eaten it simply cooked with olive oil, salt, garlic and onions. This time I decided to go for more protein and give it sort of a granola, southern flair with the addition of black-eyed peas. Another success! Super simple to make and a nutritious and satisfying meal by itself.

gen-ji-mai rice package

gen-ji-mai rice package

gen-ji-mai rice with black-eyed peas

1½ cups gen-ji-mai rice
¾ cup dry black-eyed peas
1 medium onion, diced small
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Italian parsley

Soak rice and black-eyed peas in two separate bowls, each with plenty of water, for 30 minutes. Rinse.

Heat ½ of the olive oil in a saucepan, add onions and sauté until translucent.  Add garlic then cook for a minute or so. Add black-eyed peas, gen-ji-mai rice and salt. Give it a good mix, add about 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, then reduce temperature and simmer for about 20-30 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Black-eyed peas should be soft.   If not add a bit more of water and continue cooking a little longer. Turn the heat off and let sit, lid on, for about 10 minutes. Remove lid, add remaining olive oil, a few grinds of black pepper, sprinkle with parsley, fluff and serve!

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This recipe was a last-ditch effort to improve my mood after a freezer thawing disaster. We had a large container filled with what I thought were pinto beans. I put them out overnight only to realize in the morning that I was mistaken. The pintos, in fact, were black-eyed peas.

black-eyed pea croquettes with tomatillo salsa and spicy tofu cream sauce

black-eyed pea croquettes with tomatillo salsa and spicy tofu cream sauce

Normally that would be fine. The problem was that I was still recovering from a recent black-eyed pea mishap and wasn’t sure that I was ready to face this formidable adversary again so soon. (Perhaps I’m exaggerating a little here. What actually happened was that I was making a vegan stew with black-eyed peas and I accidentally over-did it with white pepper. I’d thought that I was using about a teaspoon but my brain was clearly on stand-by. I think that I ended up throwing in about a tablespoon or maybe even more! All you could taste was white pepper. Whoa. It ruined the dish and the meal. Hegui and my friend, David, were good sports about it, but I was mortified. And unfortunately, though how could you expect otherwise, there were ample leftovers to re-live the disaster for days more to come. I’d just finished the last of the “white pepper stew” a few days before, and now black-eyed peas again. Oh, no…)

Well, Southern-style black-eyed pea stew was out. But what else can you make with them?

I’ve had marvelous croquettes cooked with dendê oil then filled with shellfish once before in Brazil. That was too ambitious, but I thought that perhaps I was onto something.

Earlier that week, I’d read an exciting recipe for spicy tofu cream sauce on The Tomato Tart. Sabrina’s trying to go vegan right now. This was her awesome suggestion for a sort of spicy alternative to sour cream or dairy-based sauces for soft tacos. The recipe is a snap and tasted very, very good. Follow the link to her blog if you want to try it.

They’re lots of recipes for black-eyed pea croquettes. Here’s one, and another and another; and finally, one more. I sort of blended a few together based upon the ingredients that I had on hand, mostly following the first, from Vegetarian Times.

Inspired by Sabrina’s diet, I went veggie on these (I used egg to help it stick together). They’re more like patties than anything else, so would undoubtedly be great on sandwiches, sort of burger-style. We had ours with Sabrina’s “cream sauce” and homemade tomatillo salsa, which I prepared that same day. Yum!

black-eyed pea croquettes

2 to 3 cups cooked unseasoned black-eyed peas
4 cups panko bread crumbs
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can tomatoes, diced with juice
1 tsp prepared garlic chili sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 scallions, sliced fine
½ cup cilantro, chopped fine
2 eggs, beaten
flour for dusting
olive oil for pan-frying

Start by sautéing onion in some olive oil until translucent. Avoid burning. Add minced garlic, garlic chili sauce, vinegar, salt and black pepper. Sauté a minute more then add tomatoes with juice. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer, covered, for about twenty minutes.

Add black-eyed peas to tomato sauce. Adjust flavors. Remove from heat to a large bowl. Purée half of bean mixture and return to bowl. Mix in cilantro and scallion; then egg and breadcrumbs. It should be moist but not too runny. Adjust with more breadcrumbs (or water if too dry.)

Form into patties and dust with flour.

Heat large skillet. Add olive oil and sauté patties for a few minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with spicy tofu cream sauce and tomatillo salsa.

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This recipe was adapted from VegNews, a vegan magazine I got for free at the 26th Toronto vegetarian food fair Steven and I attended recently on a trip to Canada. It attracted my attention because it uses healthy ingredients that I happen to love: bulgur, black-eyed-peas and kale. It also requires a homemade spice mix which I enjoy preparing. Toasting, mixing, and grinding spices fill the house with magical aromas.

Mediterranean bulgur black-eyed-pea pilaf

Mediterranean bulgur black-eyed-pea pilaf

The original recipe calls for a coarser bulgur than I had. Since I didn’t want to go shopping for that special bulgur last minute, I made do with what was there. The dish tasted great though it didn’t turn out as fluffy as I expected. I’m sure that’s due to the bulgur. When you try this recipe use the coarser type. The VegNews recipe doesn’t call for toasting the spices, but I did as I think that toasting brings out the flavors. The spice blend is called baharat and many countries in the Mediterranean have their own version. This one is sort of Lebanese inspired.

Mediterranean bulgur black-eyed-pea pilaf

1 cup bulgur (preferably the coarser type)
1 cup warm water or vegetable broth
1 large white onion, cut into tiny cubes
1 bunch kale or collard greens, rinsed and chopped fine
½ bunch whole scallions, chopped into thin rounds
4 tbsp olive oil
3 sweet Nantes carrots, cubed
2 cups cooked black-eyed-peas
4 tsp baharat spice mix (see below)
Kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
A few squirts of lemon or lime juice
2 ears sweet corn, cooked and broken into small pieces
several Kalamata olives

baharat spice mix

1tbsp black pepper
1½ tbsp coriander seeds
1½ tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek
5 cardamom pods
1 tbsp ground ginger

Soak bulgur in liquid for about a half hour.

Add all spices for baharat mix, except ginger, to a skillet and toast for a minute to bring out their aromas. Pour spices into a grinder and pulse until powdered. Add ground ginger and pulse again. Set aside.

Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a large pan. Add onion and cook until browned a bit. Add kale, carrot, scallion and sauté until kale has wilted. Add black-eyed peas, baharat mix and bulgur. Reduce heat to low and simmer for a few minutes to warm through. Adjust flavors by adding more baharat, salt and perhaps a bit more black pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with sweet corn and olives. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Squeeze lemon over everything.

I served this with quibebe clássico or savory winter squash with garlic and olive oil.

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