Black-eyed Pea Masala

by on January 4, 2010
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Black-eyed Pea Masala

Welcome to 2010! It’s a new decade as well as a new year, and perhaps because of that, more people than usual are making resolutions to eat healthier. From PCRM’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart to my own Eat-2-Live Group’s “Happy New You Challenge,” lots of us are pledging to stick to a healthy lifestyle.

Yes, you read that right: Us. I’m on the bandwagon, too.

For the next six weeks, I’ll be following my interpretation of the Eat To Live program, which means I will be guided, in general, by the principals of the 6-week plan without whacking myself with the Stick of Shame if I have a healthy snack or cup of coffee (or three). Since Eat to Live is as much about what to eat as what not to eat, I will be chowing down on plenty of beans, greens, and fruit, and you can expect that to be reflected in the recipes I post in the coming weeks.

But don’t worry; this isn’t becoming a diet blog. I won’t be weighing in or posting before and after photos of myself {shudder}. You probably won’t notice any difference. The emphasis, as always, will be on the food, so if you’re looking for delicious recipes that contain little or no sugar, flour, gluten, and fat, you’re going to find plenty of tasty things to make here. From here on out, my motto is, “Never say diet.”

Black-eyed Pea MasalaThis year’s first recipe was inspired by a Christmas gift from my husband, Monisha Bharadwaj’s India’s Vegetarian Cooking: A Regional Guide. It’s a gorgeous book which, though often lacking in cooking times, contains a wealth of information about the different regions and cuisines of India as well as recipes that are mostly vegan and, often, lower in fat than traditional Indian recipes. I’ve been curling up with it like a novel at night, so it was natural that I turned to it for inspiration when I needed a black-eyed pea recipe to usher in the new year. It’s a Southern US tradition to eat black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day to ensure a lucky and prosperous year, and while I don’t really believe the superstition, I go with it partially out of sentimentality but mostly because I like black-eyed peas. For the past few years, I’ve been trying to reach beyond the Southern-style black-eyed pea dishes that I grew up with and look to other cultures where the Cyclopean peas are at least as popular as they are here. Last year it was Nigeria and this year it’s northern India.

This adaptation of Bharadwaj’s Bhuna Lobhia is my family’s new favorite black-eyed pea recipe. As it was keeping warm on the stove, my daughter keep creeping up to the pot to “sample” it, long after the seasoning had been checked and it didn’t need to be sampled anymore. And I have to admit, I was doing the same thing. It’s irresistibly good.

To complete my New Year’s obligations, I served this with (Green) Cabbage and Peas with Cumin and Mustard Seeds. We all feel lucky already.

Black-eyed Pea Masala

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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather (Where's the Beach) January 4, 2010 at 11:22 am

This looks really tasty. Where do you find asafetida? I've never heard of it.

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2 MarisasHealthyKitchen January 4, 2010 at 11:26 am

That pic is amazing!! Looks deeelish!

I totally adore your blog!

I've nominated you for the Happy 101 Blog Award :) http://marisashealthykitchen.com/2010/01/04/happy-101-blog-award/
Happy New Year!

Marisa

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3 SusanV January 4, 2010 at 11:46 am

Heather, it's a spice that you can find in Indian grocery stores and sometimes in supermarkets. But if you can't find it, you can leave it out.

Marisa, thanks so much for the blog award!

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4 The Ordinary Vegetarian January 4, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Happy New Year, Susan! This recipe sounds perfect. I got my first pressure cooker for Christmas this year, and I am excited to get cooking with it. You were actually my inspiration to get one, you have a really great archive of pressure cooker recipes. There are many on the docket that I will be trying soon. Keep 'em coming!

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5 HayMarket8 January 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Black Eye Pea Masala looks very tasty and very new years! Great post!

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6 Dawn A January 4, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Susan-
First THANKS A TON for responding to my msg about the immersion stick vs. the food processor. I kept it and now I want a pressure cooker – heck I want to be like you ;). I just started my 6 weeks on ETL on 12.28 so I am pumped that you have this recipe – GOOOOO SUSAN and thanks again – keep them coming!

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7 Clea January 4, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Yum! I'm going to try making this in the slow cooker. Any tips for that are appreciated.

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8 Fayinagirl (means Free One) January 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Ah, great minds think alike. I'm not opposed to traditional New Year's food, but I like some kick to it! Looks delicious! =)

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9 NOELLE January 4, 2010 at 2:57 pm

This looks fabulous! I was just looking at a bag of black-eyed peas in my pantry. This is perfect! Thanks!

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10 Lindsay I-F January 4, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Wow this sounds great

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11 Krista January 4, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Susan:

This looks wonderful! I can hardly wait to try it. Black-eyed peas are a favorite of mine. So are Indian spices.

One tip for person who, like me, live in hard water areas: A teaspoon of baking powder in the water will help to cook through quickly an easily. When I use it, the quick soak method works wonderfully!

Thanks
Krista

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12 Lila January 4, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Thanks Susan – great recipe and lovely photo. Combines my favourite flavours with the best beans. I love cooking with black eyed peas – though in Aus. we call them black eyed beans. I will be checking in for more fat-free recipes as I return to healthier eating after the holiday season – I'm on the bandwagon as well.

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13 Rachel January 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Looks good! Sometimes blackeyed peas can be a little bland, but I think with all the spices, it would be good! Just a question…I have seen a lot of gluten-free recipes on your blog, and was wondering why you cook gluten-free. Thanks!
~Rachel~

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14 Josiane January 4, 2010 at 6:01 pm

I love how colorful this dish is, and I bet it's just as flavorful! One more recipe going straight to my "must try soon" folder. :)

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15 Jordan January 4, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Hey Susan! Just wanted to let you know that I made this for dinner today in my brand new pressure cooker — and it was so great! I had to use crushed tomatoes because I didn't have any diced, and I left out the asafetida because I didn't have that either, but it was still wonderful. I served it with some indian spiced parsnips (also cooked in the pressure cooker!) and a nice salad — it couldn't have been more delicious! Thanks so much!

I'm happy to hear that we'll be getting some more ETL recipes in the future! I'm in my 19th week of ETL, though I have similar problems as you've said you do with cutting out the salt ;)

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16 mission dining table January 4, 2010 at 9:38 pm

I always prepare black-eyed peas for New Year because my family believes that it brings god luck. But I don't cook for delicate dishes. This one looks easy to do and it looks delicious. Happy New Year!

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17 moonwatcher January 4, 2010 at 11:17 pm

HI Susan,

this looks delicious–I just finished my spicy black eyed pea soup with greens and next time I have black eyed peas I am making this recipe. I love garam masala. It is hard to find around here, so I really appreciate the recipe for that, too, because once I am out, i will need to make my own.

Happy New Year!

moonwatcher

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18 cleanandkind January 5, 2010 at 12:22 am

This looks delicious! I love black-eyed peas. I'm making this soon.

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19 Gena January 5, 2010 at 10:03 am

Perfect recipe for a new year!

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20 Healthy and Homemade January 5, 2010 at 11:52 am

YUM! Great new years recipe! =)

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21 chrystad72 January 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm

This is one beautiful and healthy dish. I cannot wait to try it out!

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22 PJ January 5, 2010 at 9:49 pm

oh my, that looks wonderfully delicious and so healthy too! I made a similar pot of black eyed peas without the garam masala for this new year.. next year I'll surely be trying this recipe.. or may be i won't wait until next year.. don't need a reason to enjoy these delicious black eyed peas now, isn't it!

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23 Sunny yoga kitchen January 5, 2010 at 11:18 pm

This look so good. It seems like a perfect winter food. I love your blog and will link it to mine.
http://www.sunnyyogakitchen.blogspot.com

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24 Sian January 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Had a bunch of (non-veggie) friends coming over this evening and a massive bag of black eyed peas in my cupboard so I made a humungous pot of this and it's all gone! That which didn't get eaten tonight got taken home in tupperware by my friends, who loved it. Thanks for a great recipe.

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25 Kiddo January 7, 2010 at 6:06 am

Can't wait to try this for dinner tonight with some nommy homemade naan :)

For those using Daily Plate, I went ahead and added it under the Blog.FatFreeVegan.Com label!

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26 eeyoreblues27 January 7, 2010 at 12:25 pm

I love your blog. If you're going to go to the Indian store to pick up some garam masala, you might want to get a spice blend called "Kitchen King". It is a little like cheating, but it saves the time and hassle of trying to put together the 40 some spices that are in it.

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27 MdotJane January 7, 2010 at 10:10 pm

I made this last night and it was absolutely amazing, both myself and my fella ate every last scrap of it. I didn't have any asafetida on hand, but didn't need it, it was beyond tasty without.

I halved all the ingredients to make a smaller serving and it was still enough for two dinners, two lunches with a bit left over!

Thanks Susan!

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28 Julia G. January 8, 2010 at 8:05 am

Looks like I know what I'm making this weekend!

Thanks and Happy New Year!! I absolutley LOVE your blog!!

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29 Aparna January 8, 2010 at 10:43 pm

This is something I cook often and we love it. Its great with chappathis/ rice and makes a great sandwich filling too.

A very Happy New Year to you and family.

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30 Anonymous January 9, 2010 at 7:52 am

This sounds great. But I'm with Heather at the top of the posts! asafetida? What is it's purpose in a recipe? I looked it up on dictionary.com and it didn't really sound like a tasty recipe ingredient! Thanks for helping us all with our resolutions!

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31 SusanV January 9, 2010 at 11:37 am

Anonymous, Asafetida is a just a seasoning like garlic or cumin; if you tried to describe any one of them, they probably wouldn't sound too appetizing. :)

Asafetida is a common ingredient in Indian cooking and one I like. A little bit goes a long way in amplifying the other spices, but if you don't have it, you can either leave it out or add a little garlic or onion powder.

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32 Kevin January 9, 2010 at 4:25 pm

That looks nice and healthy and good!

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33 AppleC January 9, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Hi Susan: Love your blog (naturally, you're on my blog roll). I thought of you and your readers when posting this recipe from the book: Clean Food by Terry Walters. If you or your readers are interested in some great Vegan/Vegetarian recipes PLUS guidelines on eating well, here is the link for my giveaway: http://www.applecrumbles.com/2010/01/09/cookbook-review-clean-food-by-terry-walters-vegetarian-friendly/

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34 Anonymous January 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Your masala looks delicious. My mother makes a similar dish – I love it. Just wanted to let you know I made your chocolate orange cake today and it is absolutely wonderful. I halved it but made almost exactly as stated except I didn't have enough wheat flour so made it up with a mixture of tapoica, rice and sorghum flours and I used 50-50 soya milk and water so that the wet mix would foam when whisked, which made the cake surprisingly light and fluffy. Also, no balsamic vinegar so I used cider vinegar but I remembered that in another recipe you used balsamic to intensify the chocolate flavour so I did this by adding 1/2 tsp of instant coffee – just enough to impact on the chocolate but not affect the orange flavour.
Thanks a lot for your recipes and beautiful photos.

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35 cbsinks January 10, 2010 at 8:21 pm

I’m looking for some info about the copyright for this recipe. We are adding a large “recipes” section to our website and would love to include this one and the pictures.

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36 V. January 10, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Thank you for this outstanding recipe!! Even my picky toddler and carnivore husband loved it–keep up the great work :-)

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37 Bryan January 10, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Hey, I really just want you to know that I'm glad to found your blog. Your posts are easy to make and looks o delicious too! I really just hope i can make it perfectly just like yours.

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38 TMAR January 11, 2010 at 3:34 am

Ummmmm, Yummmmmmm!!!

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39 poundcake652 January 11, 2010 at 10:50 am

I made this recipe this weekend and was confused about the direction to throw ALL ingredients into the stove top pot or pressure cooker. I was under the impression that the beans would not cook if the salt and/or tomatoes were included. So I ended up leaving those two ingredients to the end, but then I had to make guesses about how much liquid to add during the cooking of the beans. In the end, my recipe was nothing like the original, but luckily it was still good. I'd like to try this again, though, but am worried about the beans not getting cooked.

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40 SusanV January 11, 2010 at 11:13 am

Hi Poundcake652–Soaked black-eyed peas cook up soft fairly easily, so you wouldn't have had trouble getting them to cook with the rest of the ingredients. In fact, in a pressure cooker, you're more likely to err on the other side and get them too mushy.

From everything I've read and experienced, it's a myth that salt keeps beans from getting done. I'm not as sure about acidic ingredients, but at least in the case of black-eyed peas, tomatoes don't make a difference.

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41 Anonymous January 12, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Hi Susan! LOVE your blog. I was wondering – if I were to make this recipe with canned black-eyed peas, would there be any difference in the amount of beans to use or the cooking directions? I'm a new cooker, so I need details! :)

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42 SusanV January 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm

To use canned beans, skip the soaking (obviously!) and add 2-3 cans of drained black-eyed peas when the peas are called for but DO NOT add 2 cups of water. Add just a little, maybe 1/2 cup, to wet things down. Don't pressure cook. Cook on the stove on very low until the flavors have a chance to blend. I'd give it at least 25 minutes, adding water if necessary to keep things moise.

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43 Leslie January 20, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I made this for dinner the other night and it was wonderful. It was the first time I'd eaten black-eyed peas but certainly won't be the last. It was also the first time I'd cooked a meal in my pressure cooker. I've done a lot of beans in it but never thrown all the ingredients in together. I have no idea why not because it's so much easier that way. Thanks for giving me new things to try and enjoy!

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44 Allison, The Busy (Happy!) Vegan January 22, 2010 at 9:15 am

I made this for dinner last week (see http://busyhappyvegan.blogspot.com/2010/01/fruit-is-natures-candy-isnt-it.html for the rest of the meal) and it was delicious!! I didn't read the whole recipe in advance, so I ended up cooking the beans before the rest of the meal. But it worked out fine – I just added a bit of water to the tomatoes and other ingredients in a big pot, let it all simmer for a while so the flavours would blend, and tossed the beans in near the end. My family loved it, and I did too. Thanks so much for all your posts! Your blog is one of my favourites!

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45 Becca24MS January 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm

I made this twice in a row, and it was delicious! Even better as left overs. The 2nd time I made it, I added a huge bunch of spinach to it. Delish!

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46 Anonymous January 30, 2010 at 1:56 am

Just made the black eyed pea masala for dinner tonight. Used the PC and it was done in a snap. Wow–yummmm, what more needs to be said. I did add some chopped spinach at the end to round out my meal. Thanks for another great recipe. You continue to inspire me. Thanks

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47 Anonymous February 1, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Fantabulous. This is soooo good! I love all your posts. Thank you for making my family's life delicious!

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48 Rawket Food February 1, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Made this for dinner and soaked 2 cups of black eyed peas but then only put 2 cups soaked in…not the 4 that it makes. I wound up with more of a soup….and it is soooo good still! I love it!

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49 moonwatcher February 14, 2010 at 12:31 am

Hi Susan,

I made a half batch of this tonight and it is delicious!

Thanks so much!

xo

moonwatcher

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50 Rachel March 5, 2010 at 11:57 am

I finally got around to making this. Delicious!

For those who like food spicy, I should note that the recipe as written wasn't spicy enough for my tastes – I doubled just about everything except the cumin and added a diced chili pepper (no idea what kind…something small and green from the Indian market). Came out perfect!

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51 Gabrielle April 17, 2010 at 8:39 pm

one word- Delicious.

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52 Luis July 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Great recipe! Thanks!

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53 Elizabeth December 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm

I make this recipe and the cabbage with peas recipe all the time. They are so delicious. Commenting now to let you know that my 20 month old picky daughter – who hasn’t yet eaten what I would call a meal – gobbled up 1/2 c of this and asked for more! Amazing!

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54 The Accidental Foodie December 28, 2010 at 8:10 pm

This is going to be our New Year’s recipe! It looks great. Have you ever cooked it in a tajine?

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55 SusanV December 31, 2010 at 10:13 am

Sorry, I haven’t but I would love to hear how it comes out if you try it.

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56 Thea December 31, 2010 at 1:14 pm

What can I substitute for asafetida?

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57 SusanV December 31, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Just leave it out or use a little garlic powder if you have it.

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58 Ashley January 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I made this for a New Year’s Party. It was fabulous! The party was small, so I ended up taking home some leftovers. You won’t find me complaining – I’ve been eating this stuff at lunch at work. Still fabulous!

(I couldn’t find the asafetida, so I added a shake or two of garlic powder and onion powder instead. Also ended up using pre-mix garam masala. I can only fantasize about what this stuff tastes like if you do it ‘right’!)

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59 Paquita January 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm

This looks great!! Even though I am already vegan, I also signed up for the PCRM 21 day event! I had a good chuckle after receiving a phone call from Alicia Silverstone.
We mad the Cilantro-Infused Black Eyed Peas for the “New Year’s” event with Collard Greens. The Peas were from “The Indian Slow Cooker” book that I have been blogging about at http://www.getskinnygovegan.blogspot.com
I have been loving eating Indian food for the last month!!!! Even though I have “splurged” and added some silk cream for the makhani. It’s so easy to have all the food on hand that it’s hard not to make it! AND there is the big bonus of walking in your house and having it smell like an Indian kitchen, which in our household is a mouth watering proposition. You might like Anupy’s blog at http://www.indianasapplepie.com
She is super fun. Changing the world with healthy, easy, cheap food and taking everything lightly. Super fun girl!

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60 Katie @ Live for the Long Run January 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I’m a recent Indian food convert. This dish looks and sounds delicious. It gives the amount of calories per serving but I didn’t see how many servings the recipe makes! I’m really excited to make this!

P.S. – I love your website!!!

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61 SusanV January 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Hi Katie–it makes 8 servings. I hope you enjoy it!

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62 Elyssa January 11, 2011 at 9:56 am

I just love this recipe! It is so so good! I did change it some because I didn’t have all the seasonings but it tasted so amazing and those that didn’t use to like black eyed peas now love them! :-)

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63 Chicki January 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I made these last night. I used pre-cooked beans, and crushed tomatoes (since my parner does not like tomato chunks) and it was AMAZING. Not as pretty as the picture, it was more of a gravy/saucier from the crushed tomatoes.

Oh, and with pre-cooked beans on the stove instead of pressure cooker, it took about 20 minutes to make! Leftovers were amazing too.

Thanks for another awesome recipe

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64 janet @ the taste space June 27, 2011 at 9:56 am

This made a ton of beans! After soaking alone, the 2 cups of beans swelled up to 6 cups! I liked the dish, it was subtlety flavoured with a bit of zing. Not my favourite bean dish, but gorgeous to look at with the tomatoes and yellow-tinged black eyed peas. :)

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65 Gena January 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I forgot to do black eyed peas this year. Harumph. I may need to remedy that soon by making this delicious recipe!

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66 pamshands March 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Hi Susan!
I was home today recuperating from a minor surgery so I pulled some of these out of the freezer (that were made at New Years), dumped them over a baked potato, and OMG-sooo delicious. I just had to say Thank You for your amazing blog and recipes!

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67 colleen January 4, 2013 at 4:15 pm

how large are the 8 serving sizes? I’m on WW and its hard to gage potion sizes sometimes.

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68 Kindness January 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I am going to use the quick soak method for my black eyed peas, but I was wondering if the step to leave them sit for an hour in the boiled water is really necessary.

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69 Susan Voisin January 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm

I don’t find that any soaking of blackeyed peas is necessary. Since they cook in about an hour, I don’t see the point of letting them sit that long before cooking.

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70 Kindness January 9, 2013 at 11:25 am

Thank you Susan. I did make this last night, but haven’t tried it yet. I took someone elses’ advice and chopped in a chilli pepper. Can’t wait to try it.

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71 Heidi January 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I am not sure if my cumin seeds were just too strong, but that flavor completely overwhelmed everything else–all of the nice Indian spices were lost. I am afraid I won’t make this recipe again.

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72 plantpowered(rabbit) February 9, 2014 at 1:43 am

I just cooked this same recipe and the peas are still a bit mushy.
I first tried to let it simmer for 30 mins. but it was still a bit hard so i added another 10 and then another 10 and another 10 and finally another 15 and still the peas are not soft enough to my prefered consistency. What did i do wrong? Before i let it simmer more for 15 mins. i added about a half cup of water..

Oh btw i did soaked the beans for 12+ hours. Drained it and then cooked.. So im pretty sure its not the soaking park is the mistake..

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73 Susan Voisin February 9, 2014 at 6:23 am

Beans can be temperamental. Different factors, such as the age if the beans, the altitude, even the hardness of the water they’re cooked in, can make a big difference as to how quickly they soften or if they ever soften at all. It sounds like it’s good that you soaked the peas first. I’m sorry that they’ve taken so long to cook, but unfortunately that sometimes happens with beans.

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74 plantpowered February 9, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Thanks for the reply, i let them simmered again this morning for 40 minutes and they are much much better now. Almost as close to what i wanted them to be :) Maybe these peas were a bit old since its been sitting in our pantry for quite a while now.

THanks for the recipe again and your website is awesome! Ill be visiting youor website more often..

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