Palak Lobia (spinach and black eyed pea curry) with spiced basil raita

Quite good, if I say so myself! Everyone gobbled up the peas, and I learned a few things in the process. First: if you soak beans and the meal gets delayed a night, instead of leaving to soak another day, you can drain them, rinse them, and place them in a shallow bowl, covered by a damp cloth… they’ll start to sprout, which helps make them more digestible, instead of turning into a swollen, mushy mess. Second, adding the salt towards the end of cooking seems to help infuse more flavor than throwing it in at the beginning.

I played with the original recipe a bit to accommodate what I had on hand and to get my greens in, and it worked out amazingly well. I was especially proud of myself as well for being able to adjust the seasonings… I wasn’t too fond of the smell once I threw in the pumpkin pie spice (part of my cheating garam masala) and the tomatoes, but I was able to sniff out that just a little more coriander and cumin would redeem it. I’ve adjusted the spice measurements for the recipe, which will hopefully help. Of course, garam masala would be even better than faking it (just switch out every other spice except curry powder).

This was perfect with the yogurt sauce I made last week (the initial inspiration)… its time in the fridge resulted in a wonderful mellowed flavor and texture, and it worked much better as a raita, so I’ve included the recipe here instead.

Palak Lobia

1 tbsp. oil

Chopped onion

2-3 cloves garlic

Fresh ginger

1 green chili

1 tsp. curry powder

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. coriander

1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Black pepper

Half can diced tomatoes

1 cup dried black eyed peas, soaked

4-5 cups water

Salt

Spinach

Parsley

Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, and chilies until soft, then mix in spices and tomatoes. After about a minute, add water and bring to a boil. Add beans and a little salt, then reduce heat and simmer with top tilted for about 2 hrs. until tender. Throw in the spinach and a little more salt for the last 5-10 minutes, then remove from heat and garnish with parsley. Lovely with rice and yogurt or raita (it’s got some heat!).

Spiced basil raita

Yogurt

Small splash of vinegar

1/2 tsp. curry powder

2-3 cardamon seeds, ground

Chopped basil

Stir it all together and it’s ready to go, though better after it’s chilled a few hours!

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