Hope you are all having a great Memorial day weekend. Ours has been busy, but in a fun, relaxing way. Today was catch-up on chores day. Hubby (god bless) is laundry man, and that my friends, is no ordinary feat, given the ridiculous amount of laundry this family of four creates. I have no idea why and how we manage to have this many soiled clothes in one week. Anyway, I just had to get around to our friendly neighborhood Home Depot to get some fix-it up stuff, some more paraphernalia for our garden, etc. Older kiddo decided to accompany me while dad and little one stayed home and bonded.
Anyway, all day went by, and then before you know it, dinner time coming up. J wanted Indian food, I didn't seem to have a preference, so Indian it was. No carnivorous Memorial day shindig this time -- instead, a humble vegetarian meal and a quiet night with a movie (God Bless you, Netflix).
I love blackeyed peas for many reasons, but the reason they got picked tonight was because these do not require an overnight soak, so are perfect for a spur-of-the-moment bean fix. How so, you ask? The key is my trusted Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker. I have no fear of these devices, in fact, no true Indian does. I grew up with the first generation pressure cookers. Yes, the jiggle top, ear-piercingly loud, burst and kill you ones. But pressure cooker technology has come a long way from grandma's times, and the ones now are slick. I could sing the virtues of these miraculous devices all day long, but seriously, if you're looking to add to your kitchen collection, give these a try! Money well spent.
The Mushroom with Peas curry is a kid-friendly take on the classic Indian Mattar (peas) -Mushroom curry. As with all East Indian curries, you can make it as easy or complex as you want. The complexity comes with the masala. As you can see below, I have kept it very simple. The kids still haven't developed a palate for very strong masala flavors. Me, I just get extra heat from some spicy homemade pickle, or some serrano peppers on the side.
Blackeyed Peas curry
(Makes a generous amount with plenty of leftovers. This curry is even better the next day...and the day after)
2 cups blackeyed peas
6 cups water
1 large yellow onion, chopped coarse
6 cloves garlic
1 inch piece ginger, chopped coarse
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped coarse
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 black cardamon pods (bada elaichi)
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 roma tomato, chopped fine
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp salt (suit to taste)
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp cumin powder (home ground, preferable)
2 tbsp coriander powder (home ground, preferable)
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp Amchur (ground sour mango powder, optional)
1. Coarsely grind the onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno pepper together.
2. Add oil + ghee to pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds, bay leaves, and cloves. Add onion mixture and brown well. Add turmeric, stir well. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and cook few more minutes.
3. Add washed, drained blackeyed peas and water. Add cumin + coriander powder, amchur (if using), salt and sugar.
4. Bring to boil, and pressure cook on high pressure level (15 psi) for approx. 15 minutes. If you are partient, wait for pressure to release naturally. If you're like me, release pressure. Check seasonings, add cilantro, and serve.
Mushrooms with Peas curry
1 lb white button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped very fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup frozen green peas
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onions and garlic. Brown well. Add mushrooms and cook till brown and mushrooms release all water and dry out.
2. Add cumin powder, turmeric, tomato paste. Stir well. Cook for a few minutes.
3. Add green peas. Add just enough water to make a thick curry (2 - 4 tbsp should do it). Cover and cook 10 - 15 minutes.
4. Turn heat to low. Add heavy cream. Just heat through. Turn off heat, add cilantro and serve.