Black-eyed peas have long been one of my favorite legumes, adding a welcome earthiness to dishes comprised of tangy, zesty or spicy flavors that make them a wonderful base in curries. In this nourishing curry, earthiness takes the main stage with roasted eggplant and Swiss chard.
The eggplant isn’t really the main star in this dish, but it does add texture and roasting the vegetable brings out a delightful hint of sweetness. Fried eggplant is enjoyable too, but roasting brings out a unique flavor profile that I don’t find frying quite matches — it was so good just as is, with salt just out of the roasting pan, that it’s a wonder any of the eggplant ended up in the curry. Next time I might try it in a salad to appreciate the goodness of this under appreciated vegetable.
Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Curry with Swiss Chard and Roasted Eggplant
Recipe by Lisa Turner Cuisine: Indian Published on August 15, 2016
Wholesome and nourishing, sweet and earthy black-eyed pea curry with Swiss chard and roasted eggplant
Rinse the black-eyed peas and soak in several inches of water for 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 40 to 60 minutes. Take care not to overcook — the beans should be tender but not be falling apart. Drain and set aside.
To prepare the eggplant, cut of the stem and bottom edge and then cut in half lengthwise. Score the flesh into diagonal 1-inch lines, then turn and score again until you have a diagonal pattern. Take care not to cut through the skin. Sprinkle with some salt and let sit for 40 minutes. Rinse and squeeze out any excess water. Brush the eggplant with some oil and transfer to a roasting pan. Bake in a preheated 400° oven until the flesh appears collapsed and is wrinkly. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes, season with a bit of salt, and remove the flesh from the eggplant. If there is too much water, drain in a strainer. Set aside.
Heat the oil over medium heat in the same saucepan used to cook the black-eyed peas. When hot, toss in the shallots and chilies and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Now add the spices and stir for another minute, until fragrant. Add the tomato, cook for another few minutes, and then add the eggplant and black-eyed peas, and cook for another few minutes, stirring often.
Pour a few tablespoons of water into the pan and add handfuls of chard at a time until wilted. Add more water as necessary. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste near the end of the cooking time. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for a few minutes before serving.