Indian spices make black-eyed peas, mushrooms taste as if they took hours, not minutes

Joe Yonan

THE WASHINGTON POST – Black-eyed peas are a Southern staple, especially on New Year’s Day, when cooks combine them with rice for Hoppin’ John. Eat them for good luck, if you’re into that sort of thing.

These little legumes are staples in plenty of other cultures’ diets, too, all year round.

I love Nigerian-style stewed black-eyed peas (often served with fried plantains), the lobia masala of north India and the Caribbean black-eyed-pea fritters called accra.

Such dishes can take some time to make. But in her new book, Indian in 7, Monisha Bharadwaj shows the beauty of a much simpler approach, combining canned black-eyed peas with tomatoes, mushrooms and warming spices.

I particularly appreciate the way she treats those mushrooms. I would have been otherwise inclined to thinly slice and saute them with the super-fragrant ginger, garlic and spices before adding the tomatoes and legumes. But when you cut them into thicker pieces and briefly cook them later in the process, they stay nice and juicy.

Black-eyed peas with mushrooms. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

Best of all, the dish has a depth of flavour that tastes as though it took hours, not minutes. And that is something you will welcome any day of the year.


Active: 25 minutes | Total: 25 minutes

Four servings

This Indian dish is wonderfully fragrant from all the vibrant spices and aromatic vegetables. Serve with rice or couscous.

Make Ahead: The dish can be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to three months.


One can no-salt-added whole tomatoes

One tablespoon sunflower or other neutral vegetable oil

One teaspoon cumin seeds

Two teaspoons finely chopped garlic

One teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

One teaspoon chili powder

One teaspoon ground turmeric

One teaspoon garam masala

Two tablespoons cold water

One can no-salt-added black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

12 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, washed, patted dry and thickly sliced

One teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed


Using a slotted spoon, transfer the whole tomatoes to a medium bowl, leaving the extra juices and liquid behind (reserve it for another use). Snip the tomatoes into bite-size pieces with kitchen scissors or crush them with your hands.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring, until they start to darken, about 30 seconds. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, another 30 seconds. Stir in the chili powder, turmeric and garam masala, cook for a few seconds, then pour in the water and cook until it evaporates and the oil separates, two to three minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, black-eyed peas, mushrooms and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the flavours have melded and the mixture has thickened, four to five minutes.

Remove from the heat and, if you’d like, use a wooden spoon to mash some of the peas to thicken the sauce. Serve hot.


Calories: 100; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 310mg; Carbohydrates: 11g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 5g; Protein: 4g.