Black Eyed Beans Curry
This is an easy dish to make, specially if you are using tinned black eyed beans in brine. Here, I have used dry beans. It is a protein rich vegetarian curry, one of my favourites. For Onion Free version, omit onion and garlic at step 4. Just add tomatoes after ginger.. Serves 4
Black-eyed beans, also known as cow peas are rich in soluble fibre, protein, phosphorous, manganese, potassium, copper and folate. Their high potassium and low sodium content may help to reduce high blood pressure. Some say that they are even anti cancer!
If you are not able to stock a lot of Indian spices, use curry powder in place of turmeric, coriander, chilli, garam masala. It will not be as good as the original, but will be okay.
250 gm. black eyed beans (lobhia or lobia)
2-3 tbsp. cooking oil of your choice
1 tsp. cumin seeds (you can add a couple of brown cardamoms, a cinnamon stick, couple of bay leaves, a few cloves and black peppercorns here)
A large pinch of asafoetida powder or hing
2 small onions, peeled and grated or finely chopped*
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped*
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated or finely chopped*
2 medium tomatoes, chopped or 2 tbsp. sun-dried tomato paste or 200 gm. tinned tomatoes
1 level tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. chilli powder (adjust to taste)
2 tsp. coriander powder
1 level tsp. Garam Masala powder
Salt to taste
A handful of chopped coriander leaves to garnish
*Onion, ginger and garlic can be ground together in a food processor.
Wash and soak the beans for a couple of hours in warm water.
Heat oil in a pan.
Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder.
When seeds splutter or turn brown, add onions, garlic and ginger and fry until onions are nicely browned.
Add tomatoes and spices. Fry again until oil separates. If using tomato puree, you may need to add a couple of tablespoons of water, to allow the spices to cook.
Add the beans, and stir fry for a minute or two.
Add 3-4 cups of water, stir, bring to boil, cover and cook until beans are tender. This may take up to an hour. If you have a pressure cooker, cook under pressure for 5-6 minutes/whistles only. Cool and open pressure cooker.
Adjust salt/chillies/ water.
Add half the coriander leaves and mix.
Lobhia/Black Eyed Bean Soup:
Use exactly the same recipe with 1/4th the amount of beans. Add more water than you would to a curry and adjust seasoning to taste. Crush some of the beans with a ladle. Serve hot.
To serve as a starter, cook in half the amount of water given, stir-fry at the end to get rid of any excess water. Serve with a garnish of chopped onion, green chillies and coriander leaves. You can also serve Green Mango Chutney and Imli Chutney with it.
You can cook this dish without onions and garlic too. Simply omit garlic and onions and add tomatoes straight after frying ginger. Then continue as given.
If you cook Indian food regularly, I would strongly recommend buying a good pressure cooker. It save a lot of time and electricity/gas.
Experiment with other flavours. A. Add 1/2 cup of double cream or creamy yoghurt at the end of cooking and mix it well B. add 2 tbs. of dry fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)at step 5. C. add 1-2 boiled and chopped potatoes at step 5. D. add 1/2 a cup of red wine at the end of cooking.