These recipes are quick provided you have some of the ingredients prepped beforehand, like I did. If you cook up a few days worth of black-eyed peas or have frozen ones stashed in the freezer, then the curry would take literally minutes! As for the beetroot, I had half a large peeled beetroot and some onion in the fridge which did need some chopping but was simple and didn’t take a lot of time.
The curry is a real time-saver though! Get this — no chopping required AT ALL minimising prep time and washing up time and at the end of last than 30 minutes you end up with a nice cozy pot of beans with a thick, tangy, sweet gravy. Considering how the curry is a breeze to make, surely you can afford a little more time and effort for the stir-frying the beetroot 😉
Black Eyed Pea Besan Curry
The first time I saw this black-eyed peas and besan curry recipe I couldn’t believe how minimalist and slightly bizarre it sounded. It essentially calls for roasting some besan or chickpea flour, commonly found in Indian grocers and recently catching on in the gluten-free community as a baking alternative to wheat flour, to thicken the stew. A handful of basic powdered spices – turmeric and chilli powder go in before tamarind and jaggery (a light-colored palm sugar) are added to finish off with a subtle sweetness and appetite-whetting tanginess.
I took a quick look at the ingredients and steps but mostly relied on my senses during cooking, It is one of those recipes with so few ingredients required you can totally wing it. A real plus for fuss-free cooking.
First temper spices
In a hot pan, temper mustard and cumin seeds.
Roast besan/chickpea flour
Then add chickpea flour, stirring till roasted. Then add water to create a slurry. Also add chilli and turmeric powder here. As it cooks, it becomes slightly thickened.
Add cooked black-eyed peas, tamarind and jaggery & simmer
Now bung in the cooked black-eyed peas, stir, add salt, and let simmer for a bit. I take this time to prepare my tamarind water.
If you have tamarind paste without the seeds then you can skip on, otherwise I place tamarind pulp and seeds into a small bowl of water and microwave till quite warm, using a spoon to mash and dissolve the pulp. Now strain the tamarind water into your pan (I just use my fingers to stop the seeds from going in) and add jaggery (or in my case I added gula melaka. Probably not quite the same, but its what I had and I figured they’re both palm sugar anyway).
Let simmer some more to allow flavors to meld together and taste to see if it needs more salt/tamarind/jaggery. Done! Easy peas and you’ve just earned yourself a velvety thick gravy dish in minimum time 😀
I’ve tried various Indian recipes for sauteeing beetroot but I really like this light version without grated coconut. It is sweet from the onion and root vegetables and mildly spiced with cumin, coriander, ginger and curry leaves. Assemble your spices and you’re good to go.
What you need (for 2 servings):
- 1/2 large beetroot or 1 med, cubed
- 1/2 large carrot (optional, for variety), cubed
- 1 small or med red onion
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 dried red chilli (for taste rather than heat)
- 5 curry leaves or a sprig
- 1/2 chopped green chilli (optional, for heat)
- pinch to 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp red chilli powder (optional, depending on your preference ;))
- 1 tsp coriander-cumin powder (I use 1/2 tsp each whole spices and grind)
Temper spices & saute onions
In hot oil, temper mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dried red chilli and curry leaves. Add onions, green chilli and ginger and fry till fragrant.
Stir-fry beetroot and carrot, add spice powders & cover to cook
Now add beetroot and carrot, spice powders and salt. Saute for a while then add a splash of water before covering the pan. Let cook on med heat until beetroot is soft. It shouldn’t take long since beetroot is chopped quite finely.
I had these two dishes with some 5-grain and white rice and some jarred coriander pickle. It was a quick and satisfying lunch 🙂