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Black-Eyed Peas in a Spicy Goan Curry

(recipe, Ruta Kahate)


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Introduction

My mother-in-law, who lives in a tiny village in Goa, serves these black-eyed peas piping hot for breakfast. On my visits there, I love to sit down to a steaming bowl with some freshly baked bread and listen to the sounds of the village waking up all around me: the baker making his morning rounds on his bicycle, the fisherwomen bustling into the village square, and the children noisily arriving at the school opposite. You can serve this with chapatis or steamed rice, or simply on its own as a satisfying soup for lunch.

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup dried black-eyed peas or two 15-ounce cans, drained
  2. 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  3. 1 small yellow onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  4. 1 tsp. coriander seeds, finely ground
  5. ½ tsp. finely grated garlic (about 1 large clove)
  6. ½ tsp. finely grated fresh ginger (a 1-inch piece)
  7. ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  8. ½ tsp. cayenne
  9. ½ tsp. cumin seeds, finely ground
  10. ¼ cup minced tomato (1 small tomato)
  11. 2 cups (or 1 cup if using canned peas) hot water
  12. ½ tsp. salt, or to taste if using canned peas
  13. ½ tsp. sugar
  14. 1 cup canned coconut milk
  15. 2 Tbsp. minced cilantro leaves
  16. 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Steps

  1. If using dried black-eyed peas, soak them in water to cover for 6 to 8 hours. Drain.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat and sauté the onion until it turns dark brown, about 8 minutes. Add the coriander, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, and cumin, and stir for 2 minutes. Add the tomato and stir over low heat until it disintegrates.
  3. Add the peas and mix well. Pour in the water, add the salt and sugar, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer until the peas are cooked through, about 20 minutes. If using canned peas, simmer for only 10 minutes (it is essential to simmer the canned peas too so that the flavors blend better). Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes, again allowing the flavors to come together.
  4. Add the cilantro and lemon juice, simmer for 1 minute more, and remove from the heat. Serve immediately.