Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Nigerian Black-Eyed Pea Fritters

I had a bit of a frightening realization this weekend when a bag of dried beans tumbled out of my pantry and fell on my head. Upon further inspection, it turns out that I've managed to accumulate my body weight in assorted dried beans, including such prizes as a 3 pound bag of whole mung beans, which I have no idea how to use.
The problem is, I know that I should eat beans. They're healthy, and about as cheap a food source as any you're likely to find. So I tend to buy them. But... I don't really like beans. They're just so dull, most of the time. But obviously I had an emergency on my hands. So I cracked open my most trustworthy cookbook, and found this. And it's amazing. It's sort of like a falafel, only it tastes ten times as good. It's a little spicier than falafel, and since I didn't deepfry it, it's healthier. Plus, no weird ingredients like tahini.
One thing to note -- unless you'd like to spend the day pounding out black-eyed peas in native African equipment, you'll need a food processor. Also, the peas take forever to soak, so put them in water the evening before you plan to make them.
Put in a pita sandwich, or serve with any sort of dip or sauce. I made a yogurt sauce with tomatoes, basil, and some chopped garlic, and it worked nicely.

1 1/2 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 small onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
canola oil

1. Put peas in a bowl and cover by about 5 inches of water. Let it sit about 16 hours or more.
Don't try any sort of quick-soaking method, it won't work out (at least according to Madhur Jaffrey, who would know).
2. Drain peas and put in the bowl of a food processor with the spices and onion. Process until mixture forms coarse paste. Slowly add 5 tablespoons of hot water. It will remain slightly grainy.
3. Put a tablespoon or two of oil on a frying pan over medium heat. Allow oil to heat, then drop in batter by the spoonful.
4. Fry the fritters, pressing down with a spatula so that they flatten slightly, until reddish-brown. Flip and, when done, put on a plate covered with paper towels or napkins. Continue until all are done.

adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

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