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Indian Food, You’re Going Down–To My Belly!

February 27, 2010

How do I know when a dish is really good?

When I get the hiccups from eating it too fast.  :)


Tonight, I made Black-Eyed Peas and Potatoes (Aloo-Lobhia) from The Indian Vegan Kitchen, by Madhu Gadia.

Aside from the occasional Mushroom Curry, Indian food has always freaked me out for some reason.  (Making it, that is, not eating it.)  So many spices!  The recipes are insanely long!  Where the hell am I going to find all this stuff?  Aggh!!

Until Gadia’s book, I could never find a beginner-friendly, grocery-store-friendly Indian cookbook that had more than just a token amount of vegan recipes, and I’m too lazy to “veganize” recipes.  I just figured the whole thing was too much trouble for me to bother with, and was best left to the experts.

Well guess what?  I was able to find all the ingredients for this recipe, except whole cumin seeds, at Albertson’s, a regular ol’ supermarket.  The seeds were waiting for me at Whole Foods.  BOO-YA!

Black-Eyed Peas & Potatoes
adapted from The Indian Vegan Kitchen

1 1/2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil (optional–hahaha–see below)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 of a 15-oz can of tomato sauce (sorry, I didn’t really measure)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper for normal people, but I think I used 1 tsp!
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 1/2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (or a 16-oz can, drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cups potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used red potatoes and didn’t peel them.)
Salt to taste
2 cups water
1/2 tsp garam masala
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Over medium-high heat, I cooked the cumin seeds until they were dark brown, and then added the onion to cook for 2-3 minutes.  The book’s recipe said to cook these things in 1 1/2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil, but since I apparently can’t read, I ended up saving myself a few calories.  So what if a little bit stuck to the pan?

Ginger and tomatoes went in next.

Next, everything else except the garam masala and lemon juice.  I brought the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer until the potatoes were soft.

Once the ‘taters were soft, I took a potato masher and smooshed everything up a little bit.  I wish I’d left a few of the potatoes whole, though–I like chunks!  Lastly I added the lemon juice, and the garam masala–which means “hot spices” and smelled a little like pumpkin pie spice.

Add some jasmine rice (which my man Andrew made because I always burn rice) and a sprinkle of cilantro on top and we were ready to stuff our faces!

YUM!!  The zing of the tomato sauce, lemon juice and spices balanced well with the earthy, nutty flavor of the black-eyed peas. Andy wasn’t a fan of black-eyed peas–which are a great source of magnesium, iron, folate and protein–until this dish reformed him.

Gadia recommends experimenting with different brands of garam masala–or even preparing your own, using her family recipe–because the quality of the spice blend can make or break a dish. Wonder if I got the “right” kind for me? More research must be done, stat.

If I do say so myself, the quality of this was at least as good as the stuff we had at Star of India the other night, but more enjoyable because I was able to control the spice level.  Bring on the cayenne pepper, baby!

Making this dish was just like making a stir-fry–yeah there was a fair amount of prep-work and ingredients, but once the heat was on everything came together really quickly.

What was I so afraid of?  Happiness?  Yep, that must be it.





6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2010 10:35 am

    Thats funny I feel the same way about Indian cooking. I have some black eyed peas lingering in the fridge and all the spices except the garam marsala but i think i can bribe my daughter to pick up some on her way to my house to bring a grandaughter who is spending the night. Thanks!

  2. February 28, 2010 1:22 pm

    No prob, Amy! I’m trying to remind myself that it’s not really the length of the ingredients list that should make it “scary” because if I don’t have something it just means another trip to the grocery store, which I rather enjoy, lol. I should worry more about the prep work and skill level. This dish was stupid easy and the results were sooo worth it!! Good luck with yours, let me know how it turns out.

  3. March 1, 2010 9:59 pm

    Yeah, it seems to be a nice place. Keep sharing. If u started in January, I believe you are catching up faster than anyone else. Best. : )

  4. March 1, 2010 11:22 pm

    Hi Neeraj–Thank you for the compliment! :) Glad you stopped by.

  5. March 6, 2010 4:22 am

    Funny, informative, entertaining, healthy, educational, inspiring post — with great pics!

    • March 6, 2010 3:14 pm

      Hey Tina, aww shucks, thanks for the love! :) I hope to see you back soon, and hope you try the recipe, it’s so good!

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