This has been a childhood favorite and my mouth waters at the mere thought of this particular dish. I dedicate this post to my dear mother who taught me this dish a long time ago and because of whom my own family now gets to savor it.
Black eyed beans are highly nutritious and contain low amounts of calorie, and thus it is ideal from a diabetic outlook. Lentils and beans are a great way of filling the tummy and providing a great source of protein and essential nutrients. In addition, they contain some of the lowest glycemic indices among food groups and thus do not contribute to spikes in blood glucose levels. Black eyed beans contain a lot of soluble fiber which is the best way to flush out cholesterol from the body. These beans also contain folate, potassium, copper, phosphorus and manganese. They are also said to contain protease inhibitors which are believed to play a role in cancer prevention.
These beans come in various sizes. I particularly like the big kind because the flavor is very strong and gets infused into the dish very well. The supermarket labels call this variety the American chawli (self explanatory? :D). This is how I prepare this dish:
I soak one to two cups of dried black eyed beans in water overnight. This is necessary as beans contain phytic acid that needs to get neutralized in order for our body to digest beans. All complex proteins are washed away in the water when the beans are soaked overnight, and enzymes get activated by the miracle of water being drawn into the beans, thus easing the process of our digestion.
I pressure cook this the next day on low heat, allowing just one whistle. The beans cook to tenderness but do not become mushy or dissolve into the water. To this I add salt and some tamarind paste and leave it on the stove to simmer on low heat.
Meanwhile, I fry four long Kashmiri red chillis and a teaspoon of coriander seeds in two drops of oil. I grate one cup of coconut and grind the coconut with the chillis and coriander smoothly to form the gravy. I add this gravy to the beans and boil on low flame for five to ten minutes. It's done then.
For seasoning, I heat two teaspoon of oil and add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, I add around six well-crushed garlic cloves and fry till a bit golden. I add five to six curry leaves and fry them too. I toss this garnish onto the bean curry and mix it in.
The gravy needs to absorb all flavors: that of the coconut, the beans and the garlic. So allowing the dish to rest for half an hour or more would give it a better taste, actually. This goes equally well with rice, chapattis, dosas and idlis. For chapattis, the gravy can be made a bit thicker.