I have been drawn towards black eyed peas (alasandhalu/karaamani) offlate. Every time I open my pantry or pass by the canned food aisle in the grocery store it beckons me towards it. I've bought 3 cans of it in the past month. They have a very earthy, subtle flavor that endears them to me more than the regular chickpeas or kidney beans. They can take upon complex spices, like in the dish, or shine in a simple sundal preparation. I have been trying out different gravy combination's with them lately and think I hit the spot with this one. The flavor combo is exactly what I was looking for in all my past attempts. Sometimes you just have a weird image in your mind about how you want the dish to taste and feel, but its vague. Its not a recipe idea but just a teaser image, you know what I mean right ? Okay...I'll stop before you think I am crazy and head straight to the recipe. This dish so good and hearty that you would want to eat bowlfuls of it just by itself. The recipe might look long and daunting, but it uses ingredients most your pantries stock and isn't too tough to put together either...
The moment the aroma of the masala paste hit my nose I knew I had it right this time. With the excuse of checking for seasonings I ate quite a few spoonfuls right from the wok. Ya wok, I bought a new one this week and have been cooking with it everyday even if the dish does not 'need' it :D. In one of my previous trails I added a little too much of fennel seeds and cinnamon, and that gave the whole dish a bitter background. Not appealing at all and masking it was tough too. I tried adding yogurt to mellow out the taste but that didn't work out so well. So this time I was very cautious and the result was a yummy dish.Black eyed peas in spicy gravy/kurmaIngredients:
- 2 Tbsp - dessicated Coconut
- 1 Tbsp - white Poppy seeds/khus khus
- 1 Tbsp - broken Cashew pieces
- 1/2 cup - Water
- 1/2 tsp - Fennel seeds/saunf
- 1 tsp - Cumin seeds/jeera
- 1 Tbsp - Coriander seeds/dhania
- 1 inch piece - Cinnamon stick
- 4 nos - Cloves/laung
- 1 Tbsp - Sesame seeds/til/nuvvulu
- 1 nos - dry Red chilli
- 1 nos - big Garlic clove
- 1/2 cup - red Onions, cubed
- 1 Tbsp - Olive oil, divided
- 2 nos - Garlic cloves, lightly crushed
- 1/2 cup - red Onion, finely chopped
- 1 nos - medium size vine ripe tomato, finely chopped
- 1 tsp - Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp - Red chilli powder
- 1 tsp - Tamarind extract
- 1/3 cup - Water
- 1 can - Black eyed peas, washed & drained
- 1/4 tsp - Sugar
- Salt to taste
- Warm 1/2 cup of water in the microwave and soak the first three ingredients for 15-20mins.
- In a wok/skillet dry roast the next set of ingredients except the sesame seeds, on medium heat. When the spices are fragrant, add the sesame seeds and lower the heat. Keep a lid handy to trap the popping sesame seeds. Transfer to a plate and cool.
- Add 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil to the pan and toast a lightly crushed clove of garlic. When it starts to brown add the cubed onions and saute until translucent. Add these to the 1st set of ingredients soaking in water. When cooled, grind them together with the whole spices into a smooth paste.
- Add the rest of the oil to the skillet and saute the finely chopped onions and lightly crushed garlic cloves. When the onions turn translucent and begin to brown add the tomatoes and cook until they soften and loose shape, 4-5mins. Add the turmeric and red chilli powders too. (The turmeric adds a lovely, rich color)
- Next carefully add the masala paste, tamarind extract and a little salt. If the paste is too thick it will begin to bubble violently in the pan so add 1/3 cup water. Cover with a lid and cook for about 8-10 mins on medium-low heat until the rawness is cooked out and oil starts to slightly separate. Stir at regular intervals as the masala tends to settle to the bottom and burn.
- Wash and drain the canned beans and add it to the gravy (along with extra water if needed). Check for salt and a bit more if needed, the beans will soak up a little as they cook. Simmer for 8-10 more mins, stir in 1/4 tsp of sugar to balance out the flavors and check for seasonings.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves, lemon wedges (slivered ginger might be good too) and serve hot with rice/roti/bread.
This is a dish that is fit to be on the menu of a good restaurant. Its rich and creamy, spicy and not 'spicy hot'. Though it has 3 cloves of garlic on the whole, it does not taste too garlicky'. Two of those are only lightly crushed and add a mild flavor to the gravy. This dish has as much gravy as there are beans in it. It uses just a Tbsp of oil, but I wouldn't call it low fat cos of the first three ingredients, but you can surely indulge once in a while, right?
I had this with pita bread since I was lazy to make fresh rotis. I made 1/2 cup of rice y'day just so I could enjoy that combo too. It tasted even better the next day since the spices had a little longer to get to know each other. This is definitely on the list of my fav dishes now and I can't wait to take it to a potluck to show it off. How do you cook black eyed peas? I've heard they make good fritters/vada, need to bring out the appam pan for that to use up the third can :D