Kara pulusu is a relatively hot,fragrant and tangy curry that we often make at home. This version pairs black eyed peas and yam in a fierce curry sauce. Forget the milder and ever present sambar with your rice. If you're looking for something that'll wake up your taste buds and give your gastric juices a kick, then this is what you need.
There are many versions of this curry, you could even make it with just okra or baby brinjals. Pulusu means tamarind or sourness in telugu. The tomatoes as well as the tamarind deliver an extra punch and bring out all the wonderful aromas of the spices. Make sure that you use ripe tomatoes to get the perfect red color in your pulusu. If you're unable to find yam, proceed with just the black eyed peas.( increase the quantity to two cups of the peas)
This is something that I've learned to make from my mother-in-law, she happens to be a fantastic cook and a patient teacher as well. I remember, I cooked up a big batch of vankaya (brinjal) kara pulusa and annam (rice) and ate just that for three days in a row. After nearly two weeks of bland subways in cold and winter struck NYC, I just couldn't wait to get back to my spice filled kitchen. I know that NYC is probably the most cosmopolitan city when it comes to dining out. And I love love love NYC. But eating out with a baby, especially when it's freezing and snowing on Wall Street is just not fun.
It happens to all of us, a long absence from familiar and comforting foods that leads to a severe craving for basic and simple food that we often don't give much importance to. After a long vacation - what do you want to get back to? What do you miss the most and what do you crave to eat as soon as you hit home?
I'm sending this recipe across to this month's MLLA host - the very witty and hilarious-to-read Sra, who has a blog filled with beautiful pictures and wonderful recipes and great stories MLLA (My Legume Love Affair) event. This event was started by Susan who has a fantastic blog space dedicated to her beautifully thought out recipes and pictures.
Difficulty level - easy
Cooking time - 30 mins
Serves - four
1 cup - Black eyed peas
1 cup - Yam/Suran/kanda gadda, chopped into tiny 1/4 inch cube pieces
2 tbsps onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
10 - 12, curry leaves
Tamarind pulp, to taste
A big pinch of hing
For the pulusu masala -
1 1/2 - medium sized onions,sliced
2 - medium sized ripe red tomatoes, chopped
8 - cloves of garlic
3 tbsps of fresh grated coconut - optional but recommended
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp of methi/fenugreek powder
1/2 tsp of cumin powder
a big pinch of hing/asafoetida
1)Clean and wash the black eyed peas and boil/ pressure cook until soft but not mushy. This should take about 10 mins in a pressure cooker. If you don't have a pressure cooker boil the peas and watch and check for done-ness by pressing them between your finger tips. They are done when they are soft enough to squish.
2)Cook the diced yam pieces separately until soft. Do not try cooking the peas and yam together as they have varying cooking times.
3)Prepare the masala paste. Heat a tsp of oil in pan, add the onions and garlic and roast until slightly browned. Allow to cool. Transfer to a blender. Add the chopped tomatoes and coconut (if using); add the coriander, chilli, cumin, turmeric, methi and hing powders and grind to a fine paste. Keep aside.
4)To put everything together. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan, add the mustard and cumin seeds. When they begin to splutter add the curry leaves, hing and chopped onions. Fry until golden brown. Next add the prepared masala paste and swiftly saute the paste for about 2 minutes. When the raw smell disappears. Add the black eyed peas and the yam.( along with the cooking water). Add salt and tamarind pulp to taste. Bring to a boil. Then cover and cook for 10 - 15 mins to allow the flavors to meld together and you obtain a slightly thick and stew like consistency.
5)Serve hot with rice and papadums on the side.