14 October 2008

Smelling awesome

This is going to be a quick and dirty sort of recipe.

I started with 2 cups of dry black eyed peas. I soaked them in lots of cold water over night. The next morning, I set them to simmer for about two hours. I think there were about 4 cups of beans (after they expanded over night) and about 10 cups of water, give or take. Basically, you start with the beans in a pot, and add cold water. Then, set it on the stove. Once the water comes to a full, rolling boil, you want to close the lid of the pot, and turn down the heat to as low as it'll go. Let it simmer away like that till it's tender. On my stove that took a little over an hour and small change, but it might be different on yours.

Once the beans are about 3/4 of the way cooked (in the simmery pot), I started chopping onions, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes. For my pot of beans, I used something to the tune of 2 lbs of tomatoes (I like my beans VERY tomatoey), 1 very large onion, and 1/3 cup of grated ginger (freshly grated, of course). I also used about one head of garlic, minced up.

I started a new pot on the stove, over screaming high heat. I added vegetable oil (just enough to coat the bottom) and popped mustard seeds and coriander seeds in the hot fat. I added some cumin seeds and fennel seeds, and popped those as well. When the spices were crackling and popping (and making a mess), I added the onions, and sauteed them over very high heat. Once the onions were a dark brown, I added some turmeric (about 1/2 a teaspoon, I think), and cooked it with the onions for about 30 seconds or so.

Then, when the turmeric was done cooking, I added in the chopped tomatoes. If you have tinned crushed tomatoes, this will work just fine. I cooked the tomatoes on high for about five minutes, then dropped down the heat to low to let them simmer. While the tomates simmered, I grated up the ginger, and minced the garlic. I pitched it into the pot when I was done.

By this point, the beans were tender all the way through. I added them (along with the water; if you want yours to be thicker and richer, drain the beans first, then add them to the pot) to my tomato pot, and let the whole mess simmer for about 20 minutes. At the last five minutes, I added a good sprinkle of salt, black pepper, chili powder, and garam masala (garam masala doesn't need to be cooked too much), and lots of cilantro.

If you don't have mustard seeds, omit them. If you don't like cilantro, use basil and oregnao (either one, or both combined), with some parsley to amp up the flavour. If you prefer more fiery beans, feel free to use lots of fresh chopped jalapeƱos or thai bird peppers at the last few minutes of cooking. If you have some left over baked potatoes or yams, or whatever, feel free to pitch it in as well, to make it more hearty. Try it with a good crusty bread, or some brown rice for a complete meal. It's quite delicious.


  1. Sounds great and your cooking instructions are easy to follow.

    What other kinds of beans do you think would be good with this? Maybe Pinto?

    And really? A whole head of garlic. I bet that smelled great.

  2. This would actually work great with ANY beans, Kristin. Pinto, black, kidney, lentils, mung, whatever you have.

  3. I was prepared for this post to be about how good you smell... maybe you found a new deodorant or perhaps you exude a natural flowery fragrance. I like Herban Cowboy's dusk scent, it has the added bonus of being able to declare that you're Herban (pronounced in a proper British way so that the presence of the H actually matters).

    In any event the dish sounds delicious. I'm curious about your use of the cooking water since this water will contain more 'magical gas' sugars than would be present if you didn't include it. I know soaking the beans removes a considerable amount of the malicious sugar and that water shouldn't be used to cook. Perhaps the cooking water isn't an issue... am I confused?

  4. just made this and oh my goodness, so delicious. i didn't have any fennel seeds, garam masala or fresh cilantro, so i chucked in some basil, oregano and parsley like you suggested and mmm-mmm. seriously hearty. we had a cup of rice in the fridge waiting to go off and i chucked that in right at the end. so goooood! thanks!

  5. jonben: I drain off the soaking water completely, before cooking it, so the cooking water isn't an issue. I'm not about to waste any water that's got all the good stuff from my beans in it!

    Tecky: Definitely a dish you'll want on heavy rotation, as you change it depending on what's lying about. Glad you enjoyed it!