BLACK EYED BEANS
With many aliases the black eyed bean is also known as Black eyed peas, Cow peas and China beans. China beans (as they were first known) are both native to Africa as well as Asia and have been cultivated for many, many years in China, although nowadays they are widely grown in the Southern U.S as a “hay crop” and for human consumption.
Used widely in American and African cooking, it is one of the main ingredients in the traditional Southern cooking of “Hoppin John” wich is normally cooked for new year’s day (See bottom of page). I would say the best description for this bean is, that it’s shape is like a kidney bean with a fine wrinkled white skin that has a black eye from where it was attached to the pod, with a scented, creamy taste, somewhat like a pea in flavour and smooth texture.
Black eyed beans have a considerable amout of healthy contents for they are rich in folate, copper, manganese, potassium and soluble fibre, which helps eliminate cholesterol from the body. Most important of all the beans contain protease inhibitors that help prevent the development of cancerous cells.
At this stage I should point out they can help with “flatulence” and would suggest that you introduce them into your meals gradually, and then you may not get too many “shirt lifting” experiences.
Although I have written my pages all about gardening, I am going to deviate slightly, just to give you a couple of recipes which includes the use of blacked eyed beans and beg your indulgence if you are already aware of them.
HOPPIN JOHN salad.
This will make around 5-1 cup servings, of a combination between black eyed beans combined with brown rice resulting in a delicious salad, although I have included canned black eyed beans, these can be substituted with your own fresh or frozen beans ( provided they are cooked properly).
1 or 2 garlic cloves, pressed
3 green onions, chopped
2 table spoons finely chopped parsley
1 tomato, diced
1 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice
1/4 table spoon of olive oil (or oil of your choice)
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1/4 tea spoon of salt
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1 15 ounce can of black eyed beans
Mix the beans, rice, onions, tomato, parsley and celery in a salad bowl or similar, then mix the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt then pour over the salad, at this stage you need to toss the salad prior to refrigerating for up to 2 hours. This is a dish you can use as a starter, added to any other dish or just as a delicious salad. Whilst the recipe is vegetarian, you can if you wish add sausage or bacon (cut thinly, to add more than just a meal).
BLACK EYED BEAN CURRY.
Also known as Ravaan, Lobhia or Rongi, this is a curry that might help you get moving!
1 teaspoon of garam masala powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
1 teaspoon of coriander powder
1 pinch of asafoetida
1 1/2table spoon of ginger/garlic paste
3 onions, chopped
5 tomatoes pureed
2 green chillies sliced
3 cups od black eyed beans, your choice, of canned, fresh, dried or frozen
1 pinch of salt to taste
If the beans are not already cooked this would be the time to do so, adding slices of ginger and salt ’till the beans are soft, after heating the oil in a pan add the chopped onions and asafoetida and saute until the onions are a brownish red, then add the ginger garlic paste and sliced green chillies, then add the red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, pouring on the tomato puree, conyinue to cook until the oil seperates and the “raw” smell disappears, after adding the cooked beans and turn over in the pan ( no not you) finally adding the garam masala, stirring well to thoroughly mix, garnishing with corriander leaves, watercress or similar.
This may be the type of recipe you are looking for on a Chilly !! evening (pardon the pun)