This warm and fragrant pot of legume was our weeknight meal; quite flavorful, and also easy to make.
Legume is one of the principal foods of the Indian subcontinent. Some kind of it is included in almost every meal. It also belongs to our list of comfort food. One side of dal/daal or some kind of curried beans with rice or roti or any flat bread along with a salad and perhaps some yogurt is what I would like to call a humble Indian meal.
The roasted tomato sauce came out of sheer boredom.
I had to break that monotony of frying onions and cooking down tomatoes that I always do; something different needed to be done at that moment.
A lot of impulsive moments make my time in the kitchen fun and memorable. Some days I have not wanted to walk into the kitchen for the entire day and then all of a sudden as dinner time approaches, something triggers in me to cook up a big meal, probably played my own desires and appetite. Often it is just a calm, comfort meal, but sometimes it is also a fancy spread. During these times, even with the little time I have in hand, there is no frenzy; I work with cool composure resulting in a good, hearty meal. And I wish that I could gather up this calm while I am cooking for a party!
These are in my own records the time I have genuinely enjoyed cooking. I am not sure why. I have no reasons and do not have words to describe the feeling. Pressed by time, these are also the times when some of the good flavors and combinations come to life.
The roasted tomatoes were fabulous and once I blended them with garlic, it tasted like a good salsa. And I think with a little change and adaptation, would qualify as an anytime sauce (may be with pasta or rice?) or even a dip. But the sauce went in making a very Indian black eyed pea curry and saved me the trouble of standing there and stirring down the tomatoes.
“Black-Eyed Pea” is also known as Cow Peas. They are very popular in the Indian subcontinent, Spain, Mexico, Africa and also makes an important part of the cuisine in the southern regions of America.
The roasted tomatoes did not make too much difference other than a subtle smoky aroma. The black-eyed peas tasted similar to what it would be like if I had cooked the tomatoes in the pan. But it did save me a little bit of work and also I know now that I have more uses for a tomato sauce.
Black-Eyed Peas with Roasted Tomato Sauce
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 1.5 cups dry/uncooked black eyed peas
- 2 really big tomatoes (2.5 cups quartered – of an 8 oz cup)
- 1 small onion (3/4 cup quartered) – (optional)
- sea salt to sprinkle on the tomatoes and onion while roasting
- freshly ground black pepper
- some olive oil to drizzle the tomatoes with
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic cloves
- 1.5 tablespoon ghee /or oil
- some red crushed pepper
- a generous pinch of hing/asafoedtida
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 green hot pepper, like Thai bird
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- salt to taste
- a tiny bit of sugar if you need (if the fresh tomatoes are tart, you would need some sugar to balance out the taste)
- 1/2 tablespoon julienned ginger
- fresh herbs of your choice
- fresh lemon juice – optional
Soak the dried beans for about 4 hours or overnight. Wash and drain.
Half or quarter the tomatoes depending how big they are. Quarter the onions. Toss onion, and tomato with some olive oil, and coarse salt/sea salt and black pepper. Place onion and tomato in a single layer in a baking tray and bake at 410F for 30 – 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are reduced and a bit charred.
Cool and remove the charred outer skin of the tomatoes; puree the roasted vegetables along with the chopped garlic cloves. (with slight adjustments, this makes a fantastic salsa when pulsed in chunks). Set aside.
Heat ghee /oil in a pot or a pressure cooker. Add the hing/asafoetida and then the cumin seeds along with the green chili pepper and red crushed pepper. When the cumin seeds sizzle and the crushed pepper turns dark (this adds a nice smoky flavor), add half the julienned ginger and then the beans and the sauce. Add salt (remember that the roasted sauce already has some salt) and the turmeric powder, toss for the beans to be coated with the sauce. Cook for about 10 minutes at medium heat, while stirring and tossing. You will see the oil/ghee separating from the sides.
Add about 3 cups of water or more if you want it soupy, and cover and cook. Follow instructions of pressure cooker if you are using one. Cook until the beans are tender and almost mushy but have not lost their shape. It takes me about 12-15 minutes in the pressure cooker. It will take longer if you are not using a pressure cooker.
Once done adjust salt and sugar. Garnish with fresh herbs, rest of the ginger and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice if you want.
Serve with bread/flat bread.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes baking time + 30 minutes cooking time
Difficulty Level: Easy
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