Saturday, June 23, 2007

Pigeon Pea Curry with basmati rice and jicama

As in life, so in the kitchen. Oh brother, when did I become a philosopher? Still, it's true. You have the sweet, and you have the savory. The cupcakes were sweet - now let's delve into the savory!

I made it up as I went along because I had no clue what to do with pigeon peas! A little internet research came up with pigeon peas with rice made with coconut milk so I took that general idea and got crazy with my inner chef. This was my first taste of the cute little peas, I bought them as part of the "try something new every day" plan (beans are good to do that with because they are CHEAP!) and they are delish. Of course. What bean isn't?

Pigeon Pea Curry

This is what I was working with. Went through the cupboard and pulled anything that felt vaguely right.
I put the pigeon peas in to soak the night before - adding a bay leaf and Epazote spice to the water. I had a 1/4 cup of coconut milk left over from my foray into coconut ice-cream making, I didn't want to open another entire can so I only used this little sip. Given the high fat content, I think it was more than enough. Of course there are onions and garlic. Spices: curry powder, cumin, cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg (go me), chili powder is in the picture but I did not use it (wrong kind of flavor for this dish). I also used turmeric (very good for you), ginger (hello healthy), one large black cardamon pod, and an Indian spice called Ajwain which I've never used before but is supposed to 'aid digestion of bean dishes' (so it couldn't hurt!). I would list amounts but I didn't measure - just threw it in and hoped for the best. I guess you could call it cooking by faith.

First you put the rice on to cook. Then saute the onions and garlic in a little (and I mean LITTLE) bit of olive oil. I added the spices here during the saute to let them all develop together.

I wish I could post the fragrance of this - with the basmati rice... forget it, I was in heaven.

After the onion spices mixture is softened up a bit, add two cups of vegetable stock. You could use water I guess but I like a lot of layered flavors. Then after that cooks for a few minutes stir in that 1/4 cup of coconut milk. It turns everything a luscious color and it starts looking like CURRY! It also thickens things up a bit so it's not so soupy.

Last I tossed the beans into the mix and just let it all simmer and blend until the rice was ready.
I had a sad little jicama that I bought about a week ago and never cut up. I do this with jicama a lot. Not sure why this happens with jicama. Seems we have some karmic issues to work out, jicama and me. But before it all went soft and useless I decided to use it with this dish, I thought the sweet crispy jicama would be a good foil for the more savory bean curry and I'm happy to say it IS! (The 'rays of the sun' in the finished product are the slices of jicama, which are yummy to crunch on in between bites of the curry and beans. I love textures!)

And here's the finished product.

As with any sort of curry or stew or soup, I'm betting this will taste even better tomorrow after the flavors have a chance to really meld. But right off the stove it was still really great. I'm a pigeon pea fan now!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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