Friday, February 11, 2011


Modernist Mise En Place, proving the simplicity of this recipe
     Everyone is vegetarian. I mean, not everyone. But so many people seem to be vegetarian nowadays, I cannot keep posting my chicken curries in good conscience. I do really want to make my pork chops, but my morale is being dragged down. What about all those veggies reading this blog?

     Well, veggies, I will concede to you. I do make vegetarian food too. Sometimes, when you are not around, I even eat full vegetarian meals without any meat in them. I just hide it from you because I like talking about my carnivorous self. So, today, I will come out in the open. I will make a full veggie dish proudly...kind of. I do still want my pork chops inside.

Oh the brightness of green foods...
     So, what should I make? I was polling my friends. That was when I found out that even MWJ, who I have known since she was in first grade, lately turned vegetarian too. (That was the exact point of morale falling down-ness.) I told her I would dedicate this post to her, in honor of her finding a greater variety of veggie foods to eat. Well, when I'm thinking variety, I'm thinking 1) Indian food (the best way to bring variety into a Western diet) and 2) Not broccoli (just because). I also want to use my baby spinach, and the last of the tomatoes, and...lentils or beans. I need some protein in there.

    Well, I made this veggie curry, called Ronghi, earlier this year, and it was really easy and turned out really well. So, I thought I would try it out again. It consists of black eye peas, water, some spices, and vegetables. What vegetables? Well, as you know, I need to use up that a lot of baby spinach! And, I always have a packet of some mixed frozen vegetables or the other in my freezer. If you buy these frozen veggies without sauce, mine has carrots, peas, cauliflowers, and green beans, you can always add them to any curry and instantly have a balanced diet. They also never go bad, which is always good for the harried college cook who often forgets she has some veggie in her vegetable drawer and then it gets disgusting and she gets sad (me). Here is my creation:

     Doesn't it look wholesome and comfy and good? It is. The almost creaminess of the beans, the satisfying crunch of the carrots and green beans, the slurpy green-ness of the spinach, and the thick slightly spicy curry drowning everything make a complete meal. This is delicious comfort food heated up nicely and dumped over some rice, especially on these very cold winter days. You definitely would not need any other vegetables or meats in order to have a great lunch or dinner. This is why I love beans and lentils! I should probably stop "taste tasting" it with my large wooden spoon now...

     This curry might also be the easiest recipe to date. All you do is chop the garlic and the onions, fry with spices, chop the tomato, and fry, and then add the water, the beans, and the rest of the veggies! Its amazing. Also, you should know that you do not need spinach or frozen veggies or the same amount of either of those things that I used, you could even make it with just the beans and that would be totally fine. I just like having veggie content in my curries, so I don't have to accompany them with anything else in the 5-minute eating time I generally have. You could also use any similar amount of fresh carrots or other fresh vegetables instead of the frozen ones. By this time you should know, I don't ever think you should rush to the grocery store and buy a billion ingredients, just use the ones you have and maybe buy the one key one you need for the recipe (i.e. mushrooms in the last, black-eyed peas in this one).

Before the simmer - don't worry about it looking watery :)
Ronghi (Black Eye Peas Curry)

Makes 8 servings 

1 can Black Eye Peas 
1 tbsp Veg Oil 
1/4 tsp Ginger Powder 
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced 
1/2 Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped 
1 tsp Garam Masala 
1 tsp Ground Coriander 
1/4 tsp Turmeric 
1 Tomato, Diced 
1/2 tsp Salt 
1 1/2 cup Water 
1/2 cup Mixed Frozen Vegetables 
1 1/2 cup Baby Spinach 

First, use a colander (or just the can...) and drain the water from the can of Black Eye Peas and rinse them. Set them aside to dry. Next, heat the oil in a large sauce pan. At medium heat, add the ginger, minced garlic, and onion, and fry until the onions are translucent. Then, add the garam masala, coriander, and turmeric and fry for another minute. Add the diced tomato and fry while stirring everything. Make sure the tomato is fried up for two minutes before adding the salt, water, black eye peas, and frozen vegetables/carrots/other firm vegetables. Mix thoroughly to combine, and lower the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the curry is as thick as you want. Add the spinach about 5 minutes after the other veggies and stir it in.

Note: You can always raise the heat to boil off the water (even after adding the spinach) if it is still too watery and you are in a hurry to get to thick curry like I have shown above (that is what I always end up doing...) 


  1. Once in a while, its worth it. But, eating lots of bread and butter to make up for the healthiness :)