I cannot believe I'm heading on a year of no posts. Still, hoping this will be of interest.
In all of my life, despite trying all sorts of foods from all over, I have never once tried to make black-eyed peas. I believe i tasted them once, as part of "Texas Caviar" served at a function I was attending. In that mixture, the whole thing was stellar, but I could not pick out one flavor on its own.
|Alsande Tonak or Black-Eyed Pea Curry|
Then, rooting around the internet for Indian recipes, I cam upon one called Alsande Tonak, a recipe from Goa. I cannot now place where I found this recipe, yet there are many of them out there to peruse, should you be a "comparison cook," like me.
I promptly went out and bought some black-eyed peas to try out this recipe, and it was a hit with both my husband and I.
So many Indian recipes call for using (as in the recipe I used to create my own) 12 or 13 dry red chilies in making the masala, then another teaspoon of hot red chili powder later on. If this is your thing, more power to you!
While I do like some heat, I would never tolerate that over abundance of a good thing. My poor husband would likely perish at the first taste. He's not one for chili heat at all. So, under this restriction, I scaled back the whole red chilies to 1 and eliminated the chili powder later.
About the Masala**
Most masalas require toasting each spice separately first, and setting them to cool, then grinding. This masala is going to be toasted later, so the first part can be avoided. Secondly, the masala is more than is needed for the recipe, so you will have some left for another time. Or, double the remainder of the recipe and use all this amount of masala.
About the Coconut***
The very best is having fresh coconut in this recipe. Many supermarkets these days do carry it in the freezer section. Those in my area do not, so I get frozen bags of it when I go to the Indian grocery.
But if you have no access to fresh coconut, use unsweetened dry coconut, about 1/4 cup, and add it to the spices to grind for the masala, then use it as directed for the masala.
3 whole cloves
1-inch cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 dried red chili, de-seeded, broken, for less heat
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 - 3 petals of a star anise
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg