Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Black Eyed Peas Curry (Lobia/Chawli Curry)

Cuisine from the region of Gujarat (a state in the western part of India) has a special place in my heart. The cuisine from that region has a very unique taste. A lot of the recipes I come across from this region have this typical combination of slightly sweet, slightly spicy and slightly tart that I find quite fascinating. Every time I visit India I make it a point to visit a Gujarati restaurant near our home that has become somewhat of a family favorite. All of us enjoy all the items on their menu and every time I  leave the restaurant I am drawing up a mental list of all the things I want to try in my own kitchen.

Sadly I do not end up trying as many dishes from this region as I would like, but from time to time I do make a few items that quickly becomes a new favorite and appears much more often in my kitchen. This black eyed peas curry definitely falls in that category. It is a simple, no fuss, quick curry that is perfect for weeknight dinners. All it needs is plain steamed rice, jeera rice or some flat bread/phulkas and you have a comforting and nutritious meal :)

Black Eyed Peas curry-Lobia/ Chawli Curry

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Ingredients and Method to make black eyed peas curry (Adapted from this recipe)
3 cups frozen black eyed peas (thawed to room temperature) (see notes)
1 large tomato cut fine (yielded 1 and 1/4 cup of cut pieces of tomato)
3/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera/ jeeragam)
1 tbsp oil
3 tbsp chick pea flour (besan/ gram flour/ kadalai maavu)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder (or to taste)
salt to taste
1 tsp grated jaggery (or 1 tsp sugar)
3 to 4 tbsp finely chopped cilantro (coriander leaves/ dhania/kothamalli) for garnish

Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan, add cumin seeds to it. When the seeds sizzle, add chick pea flour(besan) and stir on low to medium low heat until it emits a nice aroma and loses its raw smell. Take your time with this step and stir often so that the flour does not burn.

Once the flour is roasted nicely, add chopped tomatoes to it and cook on low heat until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy. Add turmeric powder, chili powder and stir a few times.
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Add black eyed peas, salt to taste, sugar and water as required to achieve desired consistency and simmer for a few minutes  for the flavors to mingle. Remove from heat, garnish with cilantro.

Serve hot with plain steamed rice, any kind of pulao or jeera rice(cumin flavored rice) or with any flat bread (phulkas/rotis)

I used frozen black eyed peas, but if you have dry black eyed peas, then soak in sufficient water overnight/ or for 7 to 8 hours.  Drain the water, add fresh water and cook in the pressure cooker or on the stove top until the peas are soft yet it retains the shape. Use in the recipe above.

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