Palakwali Lobiya | Black Eyed Peas with Spinach
Lobiya or Black Eyed Peas are one of the beans that I grew up eating. In my parents household Rajma was king and a close second was the humble lobiya, also known as rongi. The curry for a typical lobiya is much lighter than rajma even though the basic ingredients are almost the same.
Fast forward to the time when I started cooking for my new household comprising myself and the husband, getting him to eat lobiya proved challenging. One thing I did was to use it in my Black Eyed Peas Minestrone and here I present the second experiment, an Ethiopian cuisine inspired Palak Lobiya i.e. Black Eyed Peas with Spinach.
Each time that I have eaten an Ethiopian meal, there has been a side of sautéed greens with lots of flavour and a separate side of lentils. Both of which were devoured by the husband. That’s what inspired me to try my hand at something that can bring these two together.
So here goes!
Preparation time: 40 minutes of active cooking with 4-5 hours of soaking.
Serves: 2-3 persons.
For the Palak Lobiya, you will need:
1 cup Lobiya- soaked for 4-5 hours,
2 cups water,
1 tsp salt.
For the Spinach Saute:
1 1/2 cup spinach – finely chopped,
2 garlic cloves – smashed and finely chopped,
1/2 inch piece of ginger – finely chopped,
1 tbsp olive oil (or any that you cook with),
1 tsp cumin powder,
1 tsp coriander powder,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
2-3 cracks of black pepper,
Salt as per taste.
The first thing to do is to cook the beans. Typically, in India we use dry beans and proceed to steam them in a pressure cooker until done. This is the method of choice for all modern cooks in India, the traditional method would be to boil them in a large pot of water.
Soaking helps soften the beans. They absorb moisture and cook faster. If you have time to plan ahead, soak the beans overnight or even for 2-3 hours.
If you do not have that much time, wash in running water and transfer to a pressure cooker with twice the amount of water. Add salt and steam for about 20 minutes. If your cookers has a whistle then cook on high until the first whistle, then reduce heat and let it steam gently for another 10-15 minutes. Once done, let it rest before opening the lid. Drain the beans and reserve liquid for using later – it could become a part of a soup or be used for kneading flour.
Next, it’s time to cook spinach. Finely chop garlic and ginger. Wash spinach and chop it up roughly. Then heat a heavy bottomed pan. Add oil and ginger and garlic. Sautee them until they are fragrant and just turning brown. Transfer spinach along with dry spices. Mix well and cook until the leaves change colour and soften. Add salt at the end along with pepper.
Finally, transfer the beans that have been resting. Mix well, lower the heat and cover for a few minutes. That’s it! Palakwali Lobiya is ready 🙂
We had it with chicken tagine and couscous. More of these recipes coming soon.
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