mango powder

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.


vegan ajwain samosas

Our friends Christian and Alecks are moving back to the East Coast this summer. Alecks will be teaching at NYU and Christian is going back to grad school. Exciting times for these two boys with lots of changes happening in their lives right now! Congrats to both of you!

They are going to live on Washington Square at the end of 5th Avenue in Manhattan right, where the East and West Villages connect. How nice! I know that area well. When I moved to NYC in 2003 I lived on 8th Street at 6th Avenue in the shoe shop district. I was just a block from my beloved Balducci’s. I think that Balducci’s was the best gourmet food place I’ve ever been: small, well stocked with goods from all over, and always fresh and unique. Too bad they no longer exist. There were also other exciting places to shop around that area. I enjoyed Jefferson Market on 6th Ave; the fabulous cheese shop on Bleeker Street; and the farmer’s market on Union Square. In late summer, the Union Square Farmers Market had this scrumptious peach pie a la Martha Stewart that was just incredible. You know how peaches taste in the late summer: ultra ripe, sweet and amazing. Yumm! Sometimes I would venture south form there to Dean & De Lucca on Broadway and Spring Street or even further down, to Canal for Asian produce and fish. Downtown Manhattan kicks ass! Here I am reminiscing about the Big Apple. C&A enjoy your stay there! You’ll have a blast.

Last Saturday we held a small going away party at our place for the lucky couple. We wanted to make something different and memorable, so I suggested Ethiopian food. When I said that, I saw Christian’s eyes light up. I knew from then on that he had something brilliant in mind. He had cooked Ethiopian before; many times, actually. He wanted to prepare the meal himself. Alecs and I acted as sous chefs.

Alecs enjoying a vegan ajwain samosas

We made: pumpkin & cauliflower stew, spicy red lentils, gingered collard greens, and monk fish with Berber spice. The injeera bread came from a store in Oakland. With Christian’s supervison, I made the pumpkin and cauliflower stew which I will publish soon.

While reading about Ethipioan food, I noticed they use the spice ajwain in their cooking, which is similar to Indian cooking. With that in mind I decided to make these vegan samosas from the Ajanta cookbook as an appetizer.

Christian enjoying a vegan ajwain samosas

Since making these samosas, I’ve fallen madly in love with ajwain seeds. The week after the Ethiopian party, I made angú with leek, fava and ajwain. Delicious!

The samosas turned out divine! I served them with a tamarind/mint/cilantro salsa which was adapted from the same book.

vegan ajwain samosas for good bye

For the dough:

2 cups flour
¾ tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp ajwain seeds
½ cup water (plus more)

For the filling:

5 small cooked potatoes
4 tbsp canola oil
1 cup frozen garden fresh pea
1 cup sweet corn
1 cup frozen shelled edamame that has been boiled for 4 minutes
Kosher salt to taste
4 tsp coarsely ground coriander seeds
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp dried crushed red pepper
3 tsp mango powder (amchur powder)
2 tsp turmeric

To make the dough:

Mix all ingredients together plus ½ cup of water, then knead for few minutes. Add a little more water if too thick. It should have the consistency of pizza dough. Shape dough into a ball, place on a bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let rest for about 45 minutes.

While dough rests, make the filling:

Cut potatoes into small cubes. Add oil to a non stick skillet followed by the sweet corn and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add salt, coriander, amchur powder, turmeric, black and crushed red pepper and give it a good stir. Add remaining ingredients and cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.

stuffing the samosa

wrapping the samosa

Assembling the samosas:

Using a rolling pin flatten the dough on your counter top to about ½ inch thick. With a knife cut the dough into 12 equal parts. Roll each part into a ping-pong ball shape and place them on a tray. Cover with a damp towel.

To form each samosa:

Place one ball on the counter and flatten it with your rolling pin to make a circle of about 7 inch wide. Cut the circle in the middle to make two ½ moon shapes. Place 1 to 1&½ tsp of the filling in the center of a half moon. Fold corners over the filling to make them into triangular samosa shapes. Transfer to a lightly greased tray. Repeat process with the other 1/2 moon and 11 balls.

Makes two dozen.

stuffed samosas ready for frying

To fry samosas:

Fill a 10 inch wide pan to about 1 inch deep with canola oil. Bring temperature to medium high. Add 4 to five samosas at a time and fry them for about 4 minutes on each sides or until color becomes golden. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to drain. Repeat process with remaining samosas.

Serve hot or room temperature with tamarind, mint and cilantro salsa.

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