In some parts of the world, black eyed peas are a lucky food to be eaten at the beginning of a new year. Now it’s already March, but for several reasons I feel like starting my new year right now so maybe this curry does come at the right time :) This is a traditional recipe from Gujarat, which I found online at Saveur magazine and on this lovely blog (which has great instructions with pictures). It’s super simple and veery tasty. And it doesn’t contain any onions or garlic, instead, it gets a special flavor from the addition of chickpea flour. I added spinach here, but any other dark leafy green – or maybe even other vegetables – would do as well. Hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
Black eyed pea curry with spinach
- 100 grams a little less than half a cup of black eyed peas, soaked overnight
- Two teaspoons of vegetable oil, I used mustard seed and olive oil
- A pinch of cumin seeds
- A few curry leaves
- A large pinch of chili flakes
- Half a teaspoon of turmeric
- A teaspoon of tamarind paste, or juice of half a lemon, if you don't have tamarind around
- A thumb sized piece of jaggery, or a teaspoon of brown sugar
- Two teaspoons of besan, chickpea flour
- A bunch of spinach, washed
- Cook the previously soaked black eyed peas in water for about twenty minutes or until soft. Drain them and set them aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat up the oil. Add the cumin seeds and stir, so they brown a bit and develop their flavor. Repeat with the curry leaves. Then lower the heat. Very carefully add the besan/ chickpea flour in a slow drizzle, stirring vigorously so the flour immediately dissolves and doesn't form any lumps. Let the besan brown just a little, then add the turmeric and chili powder. You should have a thick paste now. Add about a cup of water.
- Keep stirring and add the black eyed peas with a little bit of their cooking liquid. Now add the jaggery (or sugar) and the tamarind paste (or lemon juice). Stir well so everything dissolves. Then throw in the spinach. Add more water if the mix is too dry. Let the curry cook for about five minutes until the spinach is wilted and tender. Season with salt and maybe a little more lemon juice.