Black eyed peas or Chawli (and Guley/Alsando in Konkani) as they are called in India are of great significance in the Jewish tradition and is apparently eaten on New Year’s day as a part of a good luck tradition which also involves bottle gourds, leeks, beets & dates.
Black eyed peas are rich in the best sort of fiber which is soluble fibre which helps to eliminate cholesterol from the body. They are an excellent source of Folate, Calcium and Vitamin A. So why don’t we include this rich source of good health more often into our diet?
Recipe Source: My mom’s cookbook
- 5 dry red long chillies
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp jeera (cumin)
- 1/4 tsp mustard
- 4-5 peppercorns
- 1 small onion
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (with skin) for grinding
- 2 cloves garlic for tempering
- 1/2 grated coconut (about 1 cup)
- 1 marble size ball of tamarind
- salt to taste
- oil for frying
- 1/2 cup black eyed peas soaked overnight
- 1 bunch malabar spinach with the stalks (in Konkani one batch of valche baji/spinach is called ‘mouli’, so if you are using a batch freshly plucked, you can use 1/2 of a large mouli of baji)
1. Pluck the leaves from the stems, wash thoroughly & drain well. Set aside.
2. Select the very tender stalks and use them to cook along with the leaves. Select the not so tender ones and cut into finger size pieces. Pressure cook them with a little water & salt for about 3-4 whistles.
3. Dry roast the red chillies, coriander seeds, pepper, cumin, mustard one by one on a tawa till you get a nice aroma. Be careful not to burn it. Remove & let these ingredients cool off a bit before grinding them to a fine powder using the dry grinding jar of your mixie (mixer grinder). Next dry roast the coconut, garlic & onion together on very slow fire till most of the moisture in the coconut has vanished. This also helps to eliminate the raw taste of the onion & garlic. Add this to the powdered spices and grind along with the tamarind & a little water. This method of grinding the spices to powder first & then adding the wet ingredients ensures that your grinding process (if you are using a mixer grinder) is fast. If you toss in all ingredients together most times the mixie gets a little stubborn and the masala wont turn out into a fine paste.
5. In a large pan heat add the ground masala. Stir for a few minutes and then add the Spinach (there is no need to chop them as they will wilt anyways). Cook on slow flame adding a little water only if required. The leaves will take about 10 minutes to wilt and they will release some water too. Now, add the pressure cooked black eyed peas and the stock (the water in which they have been cooked). Add the Spinach stalks which were also pressure cooked & add the stock if required. Check salt & add more if required. Cook till leaves have softened. Remove from flame.
6. In a smaller pan heat 2 tsps oil and toss in the 2 cloves of garlic that have been mashed up a bit. Stir for a few seconds and then add this to the gravy. Gravy is done!
7. Serve hot with brown (unpolished) boiled rice and fish fry (optional). Slurp!
The gravy thickens the next day which makes it ideal to be served with chapathis for breakfast the following morning. We reheated the gravy & had it with steaming hot rice & sizzling fish fry 🙂 Take a look!