The ginger-garlic paste I made three weeks ago is proving to be very useful. I first made it for dilled vegetables when I started cooking for some of my co-workers. I have since used the batch I stored in the freezer for two kinds of kimchi and now for this dish. It’s so much easier than peeling and chopping garlic and ginger all the time. And because they’ve been puréed together, the paste is much more fragrant. I love snapping a frozen sheet of it and just waiting for a few minutes before throwing it in a pot of vegetables.
This is the first time I’ve cooked with black-eyed peas. I’m only familiar with it from Cameron’s traditional New Year’s dish. She made it for our group when we welcomed 2007 in Florida and again in Austin last January. This take is more northern than southern; in fact it’s a northern Indian specialty in Punjab, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi according to Monisha Bharadwaj’s India’s Vegetarian Cooking.
3 cups of black-eyed peas, soaked in water overnight then drained
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
a handful of cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp sugar
1. Heat some oil in a large Dutch oven. Toast the cumin seeds until fragrant. Stir in ginger-garlic paste and cook for 1 minute.
2. Add the black-eyed peas and sprinkle in the chili powder, turmeric and garam masala. Cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and sugar and season with salt. Mix and add 3/4 cup of water, cover and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce the heat and simmer until the peas are tender. Mash some of them to add thickness to the sauce. Turn off the heat and mix in cilantro before serving.