As a refresher, please see my earlier post on this topic. Also, to reduce confusion, I will use the term “zapped” to refer to the heat that comes from chiles or horseradish or other such foods, and the term “hot” to refer to food that has a high temperature.
After soaking the peas for about two and a half to three hours, I started peeling and dicing/mincing/grating the aromatics (onion, garlic, chile, ginger) at around six-ish. Since Fred’s not much for zapped food, I only used one chile, and (contrary to the recipe!) I seeded it before dicing. While I was finishing up the dicing Fred got started melting the ghee… he cooed at how quickly the ghee melted. Once the aromatics went in, I accidentally slipped into professorial voice and explained the process by which ghee is traditionally produced (culture, churn, cook, collect); Fred is used to the professorial voice and therefore (wisely) tuned it out.
Meanwhile, the hot ghee-onion-garlic-chile-ginger combo started smelling a-m-a-z-i-n-g — and then we added the garam masala and turmeric. At this point, the dish started to look and smell much more Indian, though the garam masala blend we picked up was a little clove-ier than I was expecting; the tomatoes rounded out the flavor a bit before the (drained) peas went in for their hour and a half cook time.
I’ll skip the saga of the brown rice and naan. (You’re welcome.)
In retrospect, there was a reason the original recipe didn’t say to seed the chiles, and the overall flavor suffered a bit because of my additional caution; next time I’ll either leave the seeds intact, use two seeded serranos, or try another variety of chile. Lack of zapped-ness aside, though, the overall flavor was lovely and complex, and the texture was silky-smooth; it paired beautifully with the brown jasmine rice and naan we already had on-hand, and that nice hoppy IPA finished off the meal.
I’m definitely going to do this recipe again, so that’s another New Year’s black-eyed pea dish for the future repertoire. Hooray!
Read a great suggestion from meeegan today: when a recipe calls for grated ginger, freeze said rhizome, then peel and grate it. The frozen ginger won’t stick to the back of the grater or leave a fibrous mess on the front; instead, the resulting “ginger snow” (I love that term!) falls neatly away from the grater and melts into the dish, leaving behind the ginger flavor but not altering the dish’s consistency.