Monday, January 4, 2010

Hoppin' John and Greens Indian Style (Black-eyed Pea Dal & Aloo-Palak)

Whether or not you believe in the idea of gaining good fortune for the New Year by eating of Hoppin' John and Greens the Southern way, you will definitely be eating healthy and tasty. Nor does one have to limit oneself to eating black-eyed peas only on New Years Day. :-) They can be made into various dals or salads, or added to stews and soups.

In honor of the Southern tradition, I made a dal using black-eyed peas, and for the greens, since I had a bag of spinach, I made Aloo Palak - potatoes with spinach. I served the dal and Aloo-Palak with fragrant Basmati rice and I sure feel very lucky that we not only had a wonderful meal, but also for all else to be thankful about. Happy New Year Everyone! May your lives be enriched with abundance of all kinds, love, peace and joy everyday!

This is a recipe that will give you two dishes for the effort of one! The sauteed onion mixture is common for both the dishes but then they diverge into the soupy dal and the potato and spinach curry each of which can be enjoyed on its own. You can make the dal with the black-eyed peas alone or in any combination of beans you like and use other greens such as Malabar spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, etc. in place of the spinach.

6 Servings

Ingredients:

The Spice Mix:

2 Tbsp Oil
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 large onion
1 or 2 Jalapeno or Serrano Chili
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp each ground cumin and coriander
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Ground red pepper
1/2 tsp Sea Salt

For the Dal:

1 cup Black-eyed peas
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/4 cup chopped fresh Cilantro
1 tsp Ghee or Butter

For the Aloo-Palak:

1 lb. Baby Red Potatoes, cubed
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, finely grated or minced
1 large Tomato
12 oz. Fresh Spinach Leaves, chopped (about 4 quarts)
2 Tbsp Cream or butter

Method:

Pick over the peas to remove any debris such as discolored peas, rocks, etc. Cook in water to cover with the salt until soft. A pressure cooker may be used to cook the peas. Set them aside.

The Spice Mix: Heat a kadai (Indian wok) or a large skillet and add the oil and cumin seeds; cook until the cumin is fragrant and browned slightly ( a few seconds). Add the chopped onion, green chili, and salt.

Cook until the onions are soft, translucent and just beginning to color. Stir in the spices - ground cumin, coriander, red pepper, and turmeric. Stir well to mix.

Remove half of the onion mixture to a sauce pan for the dal.

Aloo-Palak: To the onion mixture left in the skillet, add the ginger and cook for a minute stirring well. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until they are soft.

Mix in the potato cubes into the skillet, cover and cook over low to medium heat until potatoes are soft but not mushy.

Stir in the spinach and cook stirring until spinach in wilted; cook covered for a few more minutes until hot throughout. Remove from heat and stir in the cream/butter.

Serve hot with your favorite dal, breads, or rice.

While the potatoes are cooking, proceed with the dal.

Dal: To the onion mixture in the sauce pan, add the cooked black-eyed peas with their cooking liquid and simmer gently for 15 minutes stirring occasionally to make sure they don't burn.

Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Stir in the butter/ghee, coriander/cilantro leaves and the garam masala before serving.

Serve hot with any type of breads such as naan, chapati, etc or rice.


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