Black-Eyed Peas Stir Fry

Black-eyed peas are one of the most versatile legumes to make. They are very nutritious – high in iron, Vitamin B, C, zinc, soluble fiber and protein. Down here in the South (we live in South Carolina), black-eyed peas are traditionally eaten on New Years Day as they are considered to bring “good luck” for the coming year. I use canned or dried… depending on how much time I have to prepare the meal. If using the dried beans I soak them overnight with a pinch of baking soda, which reduces the cooking time. We (and most Indian families) have a pressure cooker, which makes it even quicker to cook dried beans and lentils – black-eyed peas cook in 5 to 7 minutes with a pressure cooker, versus 45 minutes to an hour on the stove top. This recipe is very flavorful and a good one for children as well. IMG_1963

Ingredients

2 cans black eyed peas, drained and rinsed OR .. 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and cooked in water for about 45 minutes till peas are tender  (just reserve about 1/2 cup of the liquid)  Cooks to about 2 cups of cooked peas. 1 tablespoon oil 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 small onion, chopped 1-2 whole green chilies, slit 1 teaspoon salt lemon juice 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)

Preparation

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes until light brown. Add the green chilies and stir for 30 seconds. IMG_1956 Stir in the cooked black-eyed peas and salt, stir for a minute and add about 1/2 cup water and simmer for about 3 minutes. IMG_1955 Stir in lemon juice and garnish with cilantro.

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Chilli Cheese Toast

Growing up in India, Chilli Cheese Toast was served often at “tea time”, when we would have a snack along with a cup of hot tea at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  Cheese toasts originally were deep-fried – needless to say they were delicious!  No one thought about calories back then or about all that fat we were consuming!

As time went by, a healthier version was created – lighter but as flavorful and quick to prepare. The toasts are perfect for lunch on a cold day along with a salad or soup, or served as an appetizer.

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 Ingredients

4 slices of firm whole wheat bread

2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons finely cut onions

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

1-2 finely chopped green chillies

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder (or a mustard spread)

 

Preparation

Place the bread in the oven, on broil, to brown one side of the bread.

Mix the remaining ingredients to a smooth paste.

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Apply the cheese spread to the side of the bread which was not toasted.

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Place under the broiler until light brown.

Cut into quarters or in half.

Serve immediately.

Spicy Chicken Croquettes

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My younger daughter had a problem eating chicken. She would chew and chew and chew! And  then drink glasses of water to help her swallow it throughout her meal and the result was she was so full of water she wouldn’t want to eat after that!  Fortunately I came across a recipe for Chicken Croquettes in a “Better Homes & Garden”cookbook… I had found my answer! She had no problem eating chicken this way as it is finely minced up, the white sauce was flavorful and the outside crust was crispy. This became a favorite with her and almost every other child I have fed over the years!

I then “Indianized” it and have been making this recipe ever since. The great thing about this recipe is that it can be made ahead especially if you have company coming for dinner or to stay for a weekend. You can fry them before serving, as needed. They also can be frozen before or after frying.

Ingredients

2 cups of minced chicken (2 large boneless chicken breasts, cooked and minced in a food processor*)

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped

1 small onion, grated

2 small green chillies, finely minced or ground

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups dry breadcrumbs

2 large eggs, beaten

oil for frying

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Preparation

Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute.

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Slowly add the milk and stock stirring constantly till the sauce is smooth.

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Add the onions, green chillies, lemon juice, cilantro, and all of the spices and cook for 3 minutes until the sauce is very thick.

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Add the minced chicken and mix well with the sauce.

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Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night.

The mixture will be very thick. Take about 1/4 heaping cup of the mixture and make into oblong rolls about 3 ” long .


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Roll into dry breadcrumbs, dip in beaten egg and roll again into the breadcrumbs. (This method will give you a crispy crust after frying)

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Heat oil, about 1″ – 2′ deep, on medium high in a wok or frying pan. When oil is hot ( test with small piece of bread, the bread should quickly rise to the top ) add about 3 -4 croquettes and fry for 3 minutes turning them around till they are golden brown on all sides.

Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

*Note: To cook the chicken: cover chicken with water in a saucepan, and bring to boil. Turn the heat off, cover with a lid. Set aside for about 15 minutes. Chicken should be cooked. Drain and finely chop by hand or in a food processor.

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