Saturday, February 18, 2012

Black Eyed Peas - As fresh as Fergie

The hubby had gone off on another jaunt to Chandore near Mangaon (on the Mumbai - Goa route) and apart from his archaeology related work he also was on the lookout for fresh produce to pick up from the farmers that set up stalls on the highway. This time he came back with a big bag of beans. Really. What he picked up was a kilo of fresh black eyed peas in the pod.

I hadn't a clue what they were or how to cook them, having seen black eyed peas only in their usual dried form. I view most 'sabut' or 'kada dhanya' or dried beans/peas with a healthy hatred if I have to cook them. I can never get them soft, the flavours never seem to permeate into the beans themselves and so I avoid cooking them. I love the stuff, just can't seem to cook them. Confronted with the fresh variety was a like a leap into the extreme unknown for me. I didn't know these were eaten fresh. Ignorant me.

So we set out on a little adventure in the kitchen as we broadened my culinary horizons yet again and cooked the black eyed peas as fresh as Fergie from the pods. No pop was involved in the cooking of these babies apart from the mustard that couldn't be restrained.

I have a healthy fear of the unknown and this extends to cooking too. I don't take to new and unfamiliar ingredients easily and have no confidence dealing with them. Fortunately the hubby is more courageous (and patient) and he said he'd give me directions all the way. So we sat down and peeled the lot. Hubby, me and the maid. Soon we had a decent pile of pretty pale green and white 'beans'.

Then the cooking began. It's a fairly simple recipe with very few flavours. We let the black eyed peas do the talking.

Here's how -

Heat oil in a pan and throw in some mustard seeds. Once they pop and crackle add a couple of green chillies and a sprig of curry leaves. Throw in a chopped onion and sauté the lot till the onions begin to get pink. You can also add some garlic here if you like.

Now's the time to chuck in diced potatoes. I used 1 large potato. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and let the potatoes cook for a bit. Chop up one largeish tomato and add it in. Stir everyone around nicely and put in a teaspoon of dhaniya (coriander) powder and one of jeera (cumin) powder. Mix well, cook covered for another couple of minutes.

I automatically reached for the turmeric but the hubby said no. So once again, unfamiliar territory for me - I mean, how many Indian style vegetable/ vegetarian preparations are there without turmeric? Actually, don't answer that. There are probably quite a few around, it's just me who's blissfully unaware!

So, back to the black eyed peas. Once the potatoes are about nearly done add the shelled babies.

Stir and mix everything really well, add half a cup of water at the most, cover and let it cook. Leave it alone. Every time you open it to see what's going on in there you're letting all the steam escape and thereby wasting gas and time. So leave it alone and remember to turn down the flame too. After about 15 minutes you're going to be home free.

Add salt about 5 minutes before getting it off the flame. You can also sprinkle a nice bit of chopped fresh coriander at this stage. The fresh smell of coriander is such an upper! Cover again, cook for that last 5 minutes.

That's it. Beautiful fresh black eyed peas cooked to perfection. Just a few simple flavours meld together for a healthy and tasty dish that's ridiculously easy to make.


Sunshinemom said...

I like this! So simple and flavorful - I mean from the looks of it. Can imagine well. I don't generally mix veggies with fresh chowli. Will try it next time.

anushruti said...

This looks so simple and yet hearty! Love beans cooked this way and they easily fall into my comfort food category.

Saee Koranne-Khandekar said...

That's exactly how I cook my chowli (the smaller, redder variety that is typical to Konkan). Although I do add turmeric. Sometimes a bit of freshly ground coconut as well. Love the new green of the blog, and the pretty pot you shelled the beans in. And that last picture was so sunny and warm. Like friends sitting by the window and eating in the silence of their friendship. God, I need coffee!

Santosh Bangar said...