Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Swiss Chard and Black-eyed Peas

Creamy flavorful curry with swiss chard and black-eyed peas, cooked with onions and spices. Great with naan breads or simple pilaf.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she was wondering if I spend half of my life in the kitchen. Well, even if we do assume that I spend half of my life in the kitchen, I would not mind. If someone would take care of the rest of the things for me, I would be happy. The creative process is exhilarating. Well, truth be told : I do not spend a lot of my time in the kitchen, I love recipes that are quick and easy - not semi-home-made. I prefer to make things from scratch- like to know what we eat.  However, my recipes are usually easy and fits my lifestyle of doing multiple things in a day, cooking being one of them. Love working on labor intensive recipes, that require mastery of a technique...that's not something you can do everyday. For everyday it should be simple, soulful and delicious - at least for me.

Last week we visited one of our friends in Moline, it's about three hours drive from home friend has a tiny community farm that she maintains and it was an absolute treat to see it. She was so generous to give me a huge bag of produce and I was thrilled....These swisschard are from her farm. I paired it with blackeyed peas. Loved the combination! The sweetness of the peas with the mild bitterness of swiss chard - perfect balance, caramelized onions and tons of garlic...y u m !
Fresh swiss chard - Simi jois


Here are some of the images from my her farm. It reminded me of fresh produce from India. I remember the vegetable vendor would bring fresh veggies from his farm early morning (he still does), he would carry it in a cart and push it door to door, selling as he went from one home to another.  He would hide some extra fresh stuff for my mom :). My mom buys veggies every single day. It's hardly refrigerated, as she gets it directly from the farmer - it's almost everyday, other than Sunday ! Everyone needs a day off. What we take for granted in one part of the world is such a luxury in another part of the world. I do love farmer's market in the US and love to shop in the summer, but the luxury of having the farmer home deliver is something I can only dream off. I was super excited to get fresh organic produce and needless to say it was super delicious.

Swiss chard and black-eyed peas curry 


  • 2 red onions (small)- diced 
  • 2 tomatoes - diced 
  • 3 pods garlic - diced
  • 2 inch ginger - diced
  • 3 cups swiss chard - diced
  • 11/2 cup black-eyed peas soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion seeds (kalonji)
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp organic turmeric 
  • 2 tbsp garam masala blend - recipe here
  • salt to taste
  • juice of half lime
  • fresh tomato for garnish 
  • cilantro for garnish
Takes 25 min plus time to cook the black-eyed peas
serves 4.


  1. Soak the black-eyed peas over night and cook it in a pressure cooker till tender - or on stove top. Do not add much water, drain excess. The water usually has all the nutrition - so we do not want to waste it, save it for soup stock. 
  2. Heat oil in sauce pan add, cumin and kalonji let it splatter - add diced onions, caramelize it, add ginger and garlic. Sauté. 
  3. Add the diced tomatoes  till everything is integrated - add salt, turmeric, garam-masala and sauté. 
  4. Now add the swiss chard and roast, till it is cooked. Now add the cooked black-eyed peas and mix. Check for salt. Add the lime juice. 
  5. Garnish with  fresh diced tomatoes and cilantro. 
  6. Serve hot with your favorite great or pilaf

Swiss chard - Simi Jois photography


Farm produce - simi Jois photography



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