Lobia Dal Spiced Curry Recipe (Black Eyed Peas Curry)

Lobia Dal Spiced Curry Recipe (Black Eyed Peas Curry) Recipe

First of all, I would like to send you my best wishes for the New Year, and i hope this week has started as well for you as it has for me. 

I've been extremely busy preparing for the promotion of my second cookbook, Banh Mi. As I mentioned last week, 2014 seems to be starting with a bang. I'm doing a Golden Globes Luxury Gifting Suite at the beginning of the year and copies of Banh Mi will be included in the celebrity "swag bags."  Celebrities will be photographed on the red carpet at the suite with the Banh Mi book and I will be serving a few dishes from my cookbook. I'm so excited!

For the first Meatless Monday of the new year, I went for a super easy Indian vegan dish called lobia dal. It's an especially simple lentil bean dish if you use frozen black eyed peas. The rest of the ingredients consist of chickpea flour (besan), cumin, chiles, tamarind and curry leaves. I served it with warm roti (Indian flat bread), gur (jaggery, which is palm sugar; it tastes similar to flavorful brown sugar) and garlic chutney to complete the meal. 


Ingredients

Yields: 8 servings

1 (16-ounce) bag black eyed peas, thawed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or any neutral oil)
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (click on the link for the recipe)
3 tablespoons chickpea flour (besan)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 Serrano green chili pepper, stemmed and finely chopped
1 teaspoon red chili powder, to taste
5 fresh curry leaves
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
2 teaspoons jaggery (or light brown sugar)
juice of half a lemon


Directions

In a small pot, heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant. Ad the curry leaves, ginger garlic paste and the fresh curry leaves. Add the chickpea flour. Keep stirring for approximately 3 minutes. The flour and oil should form a thick paste. Add the ½ cup warm water and stir until incorporated. Increase the heat while constantly stirring for about 3-4 minutes, until thick. Season with salt,  turmeric and red chili powder and reduce the heat to low. 

Add the black eyed peas. Cook for about 3-4 minutes over high heat. Add about 1½ cups water to adjust the consistency of the gravy to your liking. Add tamarind paste, chopped chille and jaggery. Stir well. Lower to a gentle simmer for about 8-10 minutes and keep stirring every now and then so the black eyed peas don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Finish with a drizzle of lemon juice. Stir well. Adjust seasoning.

Check the softness of the beans (add water and cook a bit longer if not fully cooked). The black eyed peas should be very soft when gently pressed and crushed between your thumb and index finger. Check seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Serve with roti, gur and garlic chutney.

Bon appétit!


Tips

You could also cook this dish with 2 cans of black eyed peas to save time. If you start with the dried beans, you might want to use  a pressure cooker for a faster cooking time.

Chickpea flour is used as the thickening agent for the gravy in this dish.

Indian cuisine almost always calls for ginger garlic paste. It tastes great and is very healthy for you as well. Just clean the ginger to remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife, then finely chop it. Place the chopped ginger and 5 cloves of garlic in a blender and add about 2 tablespoons (or more) of water for a smooth flow. Transfer to a small jar and store in the refrigerator. You can keep this paste for at least a week in the refrigerator.

Tamarind picture

You can find tamarind concentrate in any Asian store. It has a nice, tart flavor. You can also use fresh tamarind pods if you like but I find the process of preparing them to be too labor intensive.

You can find the ingredients listed in most Indian markets.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on January 6, 2014.


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