Wow, what a day Saturday, May 11th is! Not only the Virtual Vegan Potluck but Charlotte’s Second Annual Vegfest! I am SOO excited!!!
Thanks for stopping by to sample my Indian fusion dish. No, it’s not Indo-Chinese fusion – it’s a fusion of North India and the American South!
Let me explain.
I’ve had a couple of food obsessions the past few years.
One, learning to cook traditional North Indian food.
Two, veganizing all the comfort foods of the American South I grew up on.
So I guess it’s no surprise my latest obsession is “Indian Fusion.” Combining elements from the American South foods I grew up on with the North Indian/Punjabi flavors both my partner and I love.
It’s always amazed me how we grew up on such different parts of the earth and yet there are so many similarities in the foods we ate growing up.
Growing up in the American South – Charlotte, NC to be precise, as you may have guessed from the title of my blog – a typical menu was a pot o’ beans and a mess o’ greens.
On the other side of the world, in Goraya, my partner was also eating beans and greens.
Maybe the bean part isn’t that surprising. Indian food celebrates a wide variety of almost every kind of bean and lentil imaginable.
However, I had a faulty image that Indian greens were always “just” spinach. Turns out all kinds of greens are used for saag in India – including collards, kale, turnip greens, and mustard greens!
One of my favorite meals growing up was a pot of black eyed peas and mustard greens. What if I gave it a slightly Indian twist? To do this, I’d use black eyed peas – a bean my partner swears he never ate in India. I’d keep the Southern seasonings of lots of garlic, jalapeno pepper, and tomatoes, but add some cumin seeds and garam masala. As far as the greens went, my plan was to use mustard greens and season them with ginger – a typically Indian spice – but instead of cooking them in a pressure cooker and blending them into a paste, I’d leave them whole and saute until just wilted.
Black Eyed Peas
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (yes, traditionalists will cringe, but this is fusion here)
- 1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds
- 6 – 8 Cloves Garlic, chopped or pressed
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper, diced
- 1 large Roma Tomato, chopped
- 1 cup canned Chunky Crushed Tomatoes (you could substitute a can of diced tomatoes)
- 2 Teaspoons Garam Masala
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- About 4 cups cooked Black Eyed Peas, or 2 14-oz cans Black Eyed Peas
- 2 Cups Water
Heat the olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan.
Add the cumin seeds and gently stir until they start to sizzle and “pop” – about 30 seconds. You want them slightly browned, not burnt.
Add the garlic and jalapeno pepper. (Jalapenos are traditional American South; for a more traditional Indian version, use 2 diced green chilies). Cook for about two minutes.
Add both the Roma and canned tomatoes. (It’s important to use both, the canned tomatoes make it saucy but the Roma tomato gives it freshness.) Add the Garam Masala and salt. Simmer about 5 minutes or so.
Add the black eyed peas. (If using canned, drain and rinse the beans first.) Add the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer 15 minutes.
- 8 cups Mustard Greens (you could also use turnip greens, kale, or spinach)
- About a 1-inch piece of Ginger, chopped or grated
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Teaspoon Salt
Heat the olive oil up in a large skillet and add the ginger. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.
Reduce to medium heat. Add the greens, as much as the skillet will hold. Stir gently and place the lid on the skillet. The greens will start wilting; when they do, remove the lid and add more greens. Stir, turning the greens over so the wilted greens are on top. Replace the lid. Repeat until all the greens are wilted. Sprinkle with salt and stir.
Line a bowl with the greens and ladle the black eyed peas on top. Stir. Eat. Enjoy.
Note: If you’re planning on leftovers, cook only half the greens, and cook the other half when you reheat the beans. The greens taste better fresh.
Did you have the chance to sample the dish before mine – Blue Eyed Bookworm’s Lemon Garlic Scallops?
And you don’t want to miss the next potluck dish coming up … a raw yellow beet ravioli … from one of my favorite bloggers … Eat Live Burp.