A nice and creamy black-eyed peas recipe. Its greatest virtue is its simplicity. None of that lengthy caramelizing of onions, no tomatoes, just simple, simple, simple.
Step 1: Half cup of black-eyed peas — soak either overnight or for an hour in near-boiling water. Its volume will quadruple. As seen below — I started with half a cup.
Step 2: Boil:
Drain the peas and put it into a pot with half a teaspoon of turmeric and one and half cups of water. Cover partially and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, keep it mildly bubbling away for about an hour. They may not look much different but if you squeeze one pea it should be very very squish-able. Add salt to taste and either turn off the flame or keep it on very low.
It will go from this:
To this in 45 minutes to an hour:
Step 3: Seasoning
This is the set of seasonings I used: Mustard seeds, red chili powder, garlic and serrano chili. No fuss, no muss. Heat a few tablespoons of oil (I use pure olive oil) to a thick-bottomed pan and heat it on medium-high till the oil shimmers. Throw in a teaspoon of mustard seeds. Wait till they start to pop, then a half a teaspoon of red chili powder. It will darken immediately. Put in a few cloves of garlic, chopped, and a fat and juicy serrano chili, sliced into thin rounds. Stir to coat with oil.
At this point the heat should not be very high, or the garlic will burn. Let it cook for a few minutes until the chili and garlic look somewhat shriveled. Turn off the heat and pour the contents into the black-eyed peas. Stir.
If I had curry leaves, I would have added about 5 of them along with the garlic and chili.
Step 4: Finishing.
At this point the only task left is to draw the right creaminess out of the cooked peas. If it is too watery, boil off some of the water or crush some peas with the back of a spoon to meld into the liquid. At any rate let it sit with the seasonings for ten minutes or so to combine the flavors. Garnish with chopped cilantro if you wish. Or, lemon juice, parsley, chives? Go for it. Basil? No, not quite.
As you can see, I didn’t garnish at all.
We had it with chapatis, which is really the only way.