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Pretty Peas Golden Goan Curry

Written By Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole On April 18, 2012

black-eye pea curry1April showers bring May flowers—as well as the need for some rainy day comfort food.  Defy the mediocrity of mac-n-cheese and satisfy your curry-osity. Curl up with a book, open wide, and say “pretty peas.”  

Black-eyed peas may seem an unlikely choice for comfort foods and curries, but the proof is in the bowl. A traditional dish from the Indian state of Goa, the curry bubbles with all the exotic oomph of West Indian spices and creamy coconut milk. 

Decadent? It only seems that way. With brain-boosting antioxidant power of turmeric (the spice that gives most curries its signature golden hue), the soup positively brims with anti-aging magic. Not to mention all the slow-carb benefits of fiber rich beans and legumes. And for our vegan and veggie pals, the dish is 100 percent plant-based. 

If dried beans don’t intimidate you, take the extra step to soak and cook the peas as directed. For those of us who desire a bit more instant gratification, canned peas do the trick on the quick. 


Pretty Peas Golden Goan Curry


Serves 4-6


1 cup dried black-eyed peas or 2 15-ounce cans, drained

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium sweet onion, finely diced

Coarse salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 tablespoons ginger paste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric, or more to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

1 can petite diced tomatoes

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Minced fresh cilantro or mint, to garnish

If using dried peas, rinse and soak them in water for 6 to 8 hours. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 minutes. Add turmeric, cumin, coriander and cayenne, stirring until spiced are slightly puffed and fragrant. Add tomatoes and liquid, stirring until spices are well incorporated. 

If using dried peas, add with 1 1/2 cups water. Season with salt and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. If using canned peas, add them with 1/2 cup water and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer 8 minutes. Serve hot with fresh mint or cilantro. 


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