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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lobia Palak Curry

Today was samosa day.  I spent a few good hours today making the dough, rolling, stuffing, and frying samosas, in preparation of welcoming the family.
Naturally, tonight was Indian night to accompany the samosas.  Some crispy hot munchies to snack on, then samosas with lemon yogurt sauce (I didn't have time to make chutney) and finally, some nice healthy Lobia Palak Curry along with Lebanese bread (can't let that deliciousness go to waste).  Lobia are Black-Eyed Peas and Palak is Spinach.  The original recipe calls for Malabar spinach, which is something I've never seen or tasted, but looks more like basil and isn't really part of the same family as spinach.  Either way, the recipe inspired me to put some palak into my lobia, which I've never done with any dal for that matter.  It makes the already earthy black eyed peas even earthier, and then balanced out by the coconut, ground spices, and garlic.
It's a small twist off of the last Lobia Curry.
Serves 5-6 as a side
3/4 cup black eyed peas, soaked overnight
1/4 cup masoor dal (red lentils) soaked overnight
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
pinch asafoetida (hing)
4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed, skins on
1 small red onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
salt to taste
chopped cilantro for garnish
To grind:
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
3 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 peppercorns
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 dried red chilies
1.  Cook the black eyed peas and masoor dal in 3 cups water in a slow cooker on low for about 5 hours.  You want the beans to be tender, but not complete mush.
2.  Dry roast the seeds and chilies under "to grind" then grind into a fine powder.  Add the coconut and a bit of the bean cooking water to the grinder to make a paste.  Set aside.
3.  Heat the oil in a wok and add the mustard seeds until they sputter, then add the hing until it fizzes.
4.  Add the garlic and swish around for 5-10 seconds, then add the onions and cook until translucent.
5.  Add the tomato and cook until it becomes mush, then add the spice paste.  Cook for about 5 minutes and add a bit of bean cooking water if too dry.
6.  Stir in the thawed spinach and cook for another 5 minutes.
7.  Add in the contents of the slow cooker.  At this point, I had very little cooking water left, so I used all of it.
8.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, adding salt if needed.  I added about 1 tsp.

Serve garnished with cilantro (which I forgot).
The garlic, when cooked in its sheath, seems to roast and releases a nice flavor into the curry.  I didn't notice the skins while eating, so I guess they just disappear.

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