It is World Pulses Day on the 10th of February! World Pulses Day is an opportunity to share the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production with the aim of optimizing food security and nutrition.
Recipe courtesy of Amisha Gurbani, blogger at thejamlab.co.
When I was contacted by the US Dry Beans Council to come up with a recipe using a dry bean, I was really ecstatic! Why? Because I get to work with an organization that helps to promote the bean industry and provide information to consumers, health professionals, buyers, suppliers and the media about the good taste, nutritional value and versatility of beans. Especially in this day and age, where the society is so environment conscious, and eating meat has a large carbon footprint, there are so many reasons why we should be eating beans as protein as part of our daily intake. Being a vegetarian myself, eating pulses since I was a baby has been a huge part of my life, and the way I get much of my protein intake.
The U.S. is the global leader in quality, dry bean production, thanks to our state-of-the-art harvesting equipment, handling practices and production processes. The U.S. grows more than 10 varieties of beans which are renowned for their nutritional qualities as well as culture and culinary influence. Growing interest in ethnic cuisines and the known benefits of eating plant-based foods are contributing to increased consumption of beans in the U.S. and around the world.
Beans have a lot of health benefits. Beans are naturally low in fat, rich in folic acid, rich source of fiber, no cholesterol, so they reduce the risk of heart diseases, they keep the blood sugar leveled, they are great for providing energy due to its high protein content as well! You can read up more about the benefits of beans, and how to cook them perfectly on the US Dry Beans Council website.
Black-eyed peas are one of the several legumes, which are nutrition rich, loaded with complex carbs, high in fiber and protein, and vitamins and minerals as well. Benefits of eating beans, also include lowering the risk of cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, reducing inflammation, etc. The benefits of black-eyed peas are attributed to its soluble and insoluble fiber content, as well as its phytochemicals, proteins and peptides. Black-eyed peas are widely used in various cultures. They make great soups and stews, they can even be crisped up and added to salads. Or they can be made into a curry as I will be showcasing it in my recipe here!
One thing you have to remember about beans, is that they can cause flatulence, so the best way to prevent it is by putting cumin seeds or caraway seeds in your foods to reduce the discomfort. 🙂
The curry that I am showcasing here, Black-Eyed Peas and Spinach Curry, is one that was a staple in our home, growing up in Mumbai. Mom would make it quite often as it was her favorite curry! 🙂 She prepared it in a very simple way, with cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and spices like turmeric, coriander, and cumin powders, red chilli powder and a bit of garam masala, some tomatoes, green chillies and a lot of cilantro! The curry is so very tasty! I love adding spinach and potatoes to it, to give it some vibrancy and add more vitamins to this very healthy, vegan and gluten free dish. I love having this curry with cumin cilantro rice, Or Indian flatbread or rotis. Some cumin spiced cucumber yogurt with fried chickpea balls (or boondi) on the top is great on the side as a cooling dish to this otherwise spicy curry! This is my absolute comfort dish in the winters, and one that always reminds me of my home and the good times with my family.
This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and super comforting in these cold winter months. This makes for an easy weeknight meal as well, as it does not take time to make once you have the beans pressure cooked in the morning and you just have to make the curry once you are back from work! Definitely include this as part of your diet, as it will make for a delicious meal option and will become a family favorite as it is in mine!
If you do make this recipe, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on this blog post! So appreciate your feedback and your thoughts on this curry.
Black Eyed Peas and Spinach Curry:
- 2 cups black eyed peas
- 2 tbsp. ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- a pinch of asafoetida
- 1-2 teaspoon grated ginger (I like it more gingery)
- 2 cloves of grated garlic
- 1 green chilli finely chopped
- 2 small tomatoes finely chopped
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder (I like it a tad bit more spicy. If you want it less spicy, add ½ teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
In a small bowl, add in the black eyed beans, and soak them overnight in water covering more than an inch above the beans. Or if you soak them in warm water for 3-4 hours, that should do it too.
After soaking overnight, cook it in a pressure cooker, where the beans are covered with 2 inches of water, for about 6 whistles on medium heat. OR you can cook the beans in a large pot covered with about 3 inches of water, with the lid on, on medium heat for about 35-40 minutes, or until the beans are soft to the touch between your fingers.
In a medium pot, on medium heat, add in the ghee, asafoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and let it splatter for half a minute or so. Add in the ginger, garlic, and sauté for a minute. Add in the tomatoes, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add in all the dry masalas, and sauté for 2 minutes till it looks pasty. Add in the spinach and kale, and sauté again till wilted for a minute. Add in about a cup of the water from the cooked beans, and mix well for a minute.
Add in the soaked black eyed beans. Add about 3 cups of leftover water from the cooked beans, and let it cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. The water will slowly boil off and the curry will begin to thicken. If there is still a lot of water, boil it off till the curry thickens a little bit.
Garnish with cilantro.
P.S. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can cook it in a medium saucepan, and cook it covered as well for about 30 minutes. Check the beans to see if they have softened, and the water has reduced. If not soft enough, boil it for another 15 minutes and check again. You may need to add more water to make sure that the beans are covered when boiling.
Enjoy with rice/bread/naan/roti!