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Black-Eyed Pea Masala With Kale

This satisfying vegetarian stew is recipe developer Rachel Gurjar’s riff on North Indian-style lobia masala. Black-eyed peas soak up the flavors of an onion- and tomato-based gravy along with kale or any greens you’d like.
BlackEyed Pea Masala With Kale
Photo by Laura Murray, Food Styling by Micah Morton

“Black-eyed peas are commonly used across India and go by the names lobia, longi, alasande kalu, and chawli, among others. In Maharashtra, they’re made into usal using fresh coconut and fennel seeds. In the Southern part of India, they’re made into a dry or saucy curry using spiced coconut paste, or soaked and blended into a batter for vadas.

“As a kid in boarding school, I remember not fully appreciating them. They were something I would reach for only when all else failed—the snooze-you-lose-situation in the dining hall. Life came full circle when everyone was hoarding beans at the beginning of the pandemic and I found myself standing in the canned foods aisle, staring at what was left. Here they were rescuing me yet again.

“In this recipe, it’s important to cook the base of the masala until you see it has a jammy texture, at which point it will stick to the bottom of the pan. This ensures your gravy won’t be bitter or watery. You could use other greens, like Swiss chard, collard, or spinach, though you may need to increase or decrease the cook time accordingly.” —Rachel Gurjar

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Equipment

Ingredients

4 servings

1

large white onion

4

garlic cloves

1

1" piece ginger

1

bunch Tuscan or curly kale

3

15.5-oz. cans black-eyed peas

¼

cup extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil

2

Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. ground coriander

1

tsp. ground turmeric

1

tsp. garam masala

½

tsp. cayenne powder

1

14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes

1

Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or 2¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt

Cooked rice, roti, or sourdough bread and lime wedges (for serving)

Steps

1.

Prep your ingredients: Finely chop 1 large white onion. To do this, start by cutting it in half through root end. Trim top, then peel away skin and first tough layer; discard. Leave root end on. Starting close to the board and moving upward, thinly slice through onion parallel to cutting board, leaving root end intact. Make thin lengthwise slices across onion, leaving root end intact. Slice onion crosswise, working from top to bottom to create small cubes. Run your knife through once more if any pieces are too big. You should have 2–3 cups chopped onion.

2.

Smash, peel, and finely chop 4 garlic cloves. Peel one 1" piece ginger with a spoon, then slice into planks. Stack 2 planks at a time and cut into thin matchsticks. Set aside. Remove ribs and stems from 1 bunch Tuscan or curly kale and discard. Tear leaves into 2" pieces. Rinse three 15.5-oz. cans black-eyed peas in a fine-mesh sieve.

3.

Heat ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium-high. Cook onion and garlic, stirring often, until golden, 10–12 minutes.

4.

Add 2 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. ground coriander, 1 tsp. ground turmeric, 1 tsp. garam masala, and ½ tsp. cayenne powder to pot and cook, stirring constantly, until incorporated and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add one 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, until sauce darkens and thickens, 10–14 minutes. The sauce should look jammy and will start to stick to the bottom of the pot.

5.

Add black-eyed peas, 1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or 2¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, and 4 cups water and stir to combine. Add kale in 2 batches, stirring and letting wilt slightly between additions. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until beans are tender and kale is tender, about 10 minutes.

6.

Remove pot from heat and stir in reserved ginger.

7.

Serve masala with rice, roti, or sourdough bread and lime wedges for squeezing over.

How would you rate Black-Eyed Pea Masala With Kale?

  • Good dish and I’m glad I read the comments. 1 1/2 cups water was plenty. It is annoying that BA publishes recipes with defects like this one and when readers point out the issues, no correction is made, unlike most other recipe blogs I use like Smitten Kitchen or Cookie and Kate. I know BA has a huge staff, but I guess the editors and authors don’t care about correcting errors. They couldn’t have tested the recipe using 4 cups water and concluded that was a good idea. Also, putting in raw ginger is strange because it is tough so I sautéed it with the onions.

    • Tina D

    • Denver , CO

    • 11/9/2021

  • The end result is good but this recipe is written strangely! I have made this twice and never added any water. I can't imagine why the writer says to do that. Maybe she or he wants you to cook the kale separately. I just added the kale in after the tomatoes. There was enough moisture to steam the kale. I suppose if yours is dry you could had half a cup of water. Also why does the recipe go into great detail about how to chop an onion? Weird. Finally, I don't understand what you're supposed to do with the ginger -- eat it raw alongside the dish? What?!?! If you use common sense and make this in a sensible way, it's good.

    • Anonymous

    • Richmond, Virginia

    • 10/18/2021

  • Regarding printing recipes: open a Word doc then copy and paste the recipe into the doc. Having done that, you can edit, make notes, change fonts and anything you want - the world is yours!

    • Anonymous

    • Big Bend of Texas

    • 7/20/2021

  • This was delicious and so easy! Like other reviewers, I reduced the water to 3 cups. We like a thicker sauce so that suited us well. You could probably even do 2 or 2.5 depending on your preference. I agree with another reviewer that the servings are closer to 6. We had it for dinner last night (2 servings) and I expect we'll get at least 2 lunches each from it for a total of 6. Just a note so you can plan accordingly. All in all though, amazing recipe that's easy, vegetarian, filling, and delicious!

    • Anonymous

    • chicago, il

    • 2/9/2021

  • When you have a recipe using canned beans (in this case, black eyed peas) please include the equivalent for dried beans.

    • Paul Axinn

    • Tucson AZ

    • 2/9/2021

  • Sooo good. It’s sweet and spicy and aromatic and soooo good. I had dried black eyed peas, so I rinsed and cooked those first and it was perfect!

    • Caila

    • Napa, CA

    • 2/4/2021

  • Print recipe by pressing Ctrl p on your keyboard.

    • Anonymous

    • chicago, Il

    • 1/29/2021

  • This dish showcases black eyed peas beautifully and is a good template for alterations. I made it twice - once for new years and again with the left over beans. I used dried black eyed peas and pressure cooked them with some garlic and a quarter onion. The second time, I used coconut oil instead of EVOO, finely chopped 2 Tbsp ginger and sautéed with the onions and garlic (also did matchsticks at the end), added finely chopped spicy peppers with the spice dump and used 3 cups homemade chicken stock instead of water.

    • Ski Daddy

    • Denton, TX

    • 1/12/2021

  • Love how simple and tasty this is. I started with 2 cups of water and ended adding one more, for a total of 3 instead of 4. I 86’d the ginger and added some finely chopped celery greens because I happened to have them. I’m tempted to make it again and try adding some coconut cream!

    • meg

    • Nashville, TN

    • 1/9/2021

  • Oh, and it only needed about 3/4 teaspoon salt total

    • Just a cook

    • Buffalo, NY

    • 1/9/2021

  • Might cut the water in half. Great flavor, but a bit soupy

    • Just a cook

    • Buffalo, NY

    • 1/9/2021

  • This recipe has potential. It made A LOT -- I think we ended up with 7 servings when eating it with some rice. Also, it was incredibly salty to the point I didn't enjoy eating it. The measurements seemed like a lot, but I like to follow a recipe exactly when trying it for the first time. Next time, I'll leave out the salt completely, wait for the whole dish to finish, and salt to taste at the end. Easy fix so it's not a big deal.

    • Lauren

    • New York, NY

    • 1/6/2021

  • Really good! Not thrilling, but solid and yummy and easy to make. Perfect level of spice for me. I added only 2 cups of water, which gave it a nice stew-like texture. I would make it again.

    • Lauren

    • Chicago, IL

    • 1/6/2021

  • Not trying to knock this recipe, because I was pretty excited to try but man, does not taste what I thought it would. The only steps I skipped were not adding in the kale/beans because I like to get the base right first, and add whatever veggies I like later. I simmered it for another 10-15 minutes and it's still too watery. Definitely skip adding 4 cups - way too bland and watery. Is it suppose to taste just all spices + water? I feel like I drank a bowl of spices haha.

    • Anonymous

    • NYC

    • 1/5/2021

  • This is my kind of recipe -- super tasty with minimum fuss.

    • Patsy S

    • Hyattsville MD

    • 1/5/2021