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Monday 19 November 2012

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Spicy Black Eyed Peas

It's cold outside, so it's time for another of my patented Let's Put Everything In A Pot With Some Spices And Cook It, Shall We? recipes. All I want to do in the evening is throw some ingredients together on the hob, hunker down on the sofa to watch Man Vs. Food, and know by smell alone when my dinner's ready.

I picked up some black-eyed peas accidentally when aiming to buy black beans. The only thing I knew about black-eyed peas is the band featuring a woman named after Sarah Ferguson and man with too many full stops in his name. It turns out they're also a brilliantly versatile ingredient, commonly associated with southern soul food but easily adaptable to most cuisines. I've cooked mine with some fiery and pungent spices, along with tomatoes to create a tangy sauce, to make a perfect wintry dinner. I used tinned beans but you could soak dried beans overnight (please send me your tips if you do, I've never managed to soak dried beans for long enough to soften them).

Spicy Black Eyed Peas (serves 2)

You will need:
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Tin of black eyed peas
  • Small handful of coriander, chopped
Make it!
  1. Heat a little oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Sprinkle in the cumin seeds and stir for 20 seconds until they release their fragrance. Add the chopped onion and fry until softened.
  2. Add the ginger and spices and stir for 30 seconds. Tip in the tomatoes and black eyed peas and simmer for around half an hour. Add some water if it looks dry.
  3. Season to taste, sprinkle coriander on the top, and you're done!
Not veggie? Add some ham or bacon to make it more traditionally southern. Serve with rice if you can be faffed to make it (I get VERY lazy in winter) or thickly sliced fresh bread.


  1. If you have hard water, try soaking dried beans overnight in filtered water & add a pinch of bicarb. acid toughens them, so make sure they're fully cooked before adding to an acidic sauce like tomatoes. And if you're in a rush, try a pressure cooker! Done right, home-soaked beans taste so much better than tinned (I just often struggle to plan properly in advance)

  2. Hello!
    I find that to cook beans from dried, you need to soak them for at least 12 hours. Then I wash them and cook in fresh water for 45 mins to 1 hour. You need to bring them to the boil first, though, so the full cooking time is on a simmer. Sometimes they need as much as 1 hr 15 mins - depending on the age of the packet of beans and the type of bean. Never add salt to the water; it hardens the skin. I don't add the bicarb - but will probably try soon.

  3. Thanks for the tips! I'm sure home-soaked beans do taste better, so I'll definitely give it another go.


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