Wondering what to do with those yellow whole peas in your Lufa Farms fresh basket? You can use them exactly as you’d use chickpeas. So soak them in a bowl of cold water overnight and then drain them and boil them with about two inches of water (2 cups dried chickpeas = 4 cups soaked chickpeas, so you’ll need about 10-12 cups water) for about 45 minutes, or until they’re tender. If you want to make them a little more digestible, boil them with a 1/4 tsp of turmeric and skim off any scum that rises to the top of the pot when the peas come to a boil before you reduce the temperature to medium-low to simmer. If you forget to soak the beans overnight, use a quick-soak method: Bring the peas to a boil with about 3 times as much water (2 cups dried peas = 6 cups water) and then cover the pot, remove it from the heat, and let it cool for 1 hour before draining and proceeding with the 45-minute boiling.
Or try sprouting them. When little white tails appear they’re ready to eat in salads, stir-fries, sandwiches, hummus, pasta, or anywhere you want to add protein. Or rinse them and steam them for 5 minutes to make them a little easier on the stomach without losing as many of the nutrients as you would with a 45 minute boiling time.
OR! Choose the soaking and boiling or the sprouting method above, and then make this recipe for Chana Masala, or Indian Chickpea Curry. It’s the tomato-based chickpea dish you find at almost every Indian buffet or in combination vegetarian thalis. The peas are a great (local!) source of protein. Served over Basmati rice (or even mashed or boiled or roasted potatoes for all the locavores. Haven’t seen any rice paddies in the Montreal area lately…) it’s a meatless treat.
Local Organic Yellow Pea Curry (Almost Chana Masala)
2 cups dried yellow peas, soaked overnight and drained. Then rinsed and drained again to remove the film.*
4 cups water plus 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil (sunflower, mustard, olive. It isn’t cooked at high-heat, so use whatever oil you have. Don’t use anything fancy, though, as you won’t taste it. You could also use ghee)
1/2″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled with a spoon and cut in chunks
1-3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half (the same size as the ginger, so if you have small cloves, use more. And if you have large cloves, use fewer)
2 tsp water
4-8 dried red chili peppers (if you’re a heat wimp, stick with 4. Even consider 0…)
1 1/2 tbsp freshly ground coriander seeds
1 1/2 tbsp freshly ground cumin seeds
2 onions, finely diced
4 long green chili peppers, slit open lengthwise but not sliced or diced, seeds and white membranes removed if you’re afraid of heat (You can also use jalapenos, but if you have as many Lufa Farms chili peppers as I do, this is a good way to use them!)
1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled with a spoon and finely diced
2 tomatoes, diced (they’ll break down so don’t worry about making them pretty. If you want the curry a little smoother, grate the tomatoes on a cheese grater to remove the skins. It also saves chopping time)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala (homemade recipe below. You can substitute store-bought but I’m not responsible if the dish isn’t amazing)
1/2 tsp Asian chili powder or cayenne (again, be careful)
1 cup water
2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 a juicy lemon or all of a not-so-juicy lemon)
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (very optional. Mint would be an okay substitution, but you’re safest with just adding more cilantro leaves. And why would you want to buy an entire bunch of mint just to use 1 tsp?)
a small handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1. Cook the chickpeas in the 4 cups of water with the 1/2 tsp salt (bring the soaked and drained peas to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 45 minutes or until tender). Drain the peas, rinse the peas, drain again.
2. Meanwhile, chop and measure all the remaining ingredients. This goes fast! Blend the 1/2-inch piece of ginger with the garlic cloves and the 2 tsp water in a blender to form a paste. Add an extra teaspoon of water if it won’t blend. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the paste. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, then add the red chilies, coriander, and cumin. Stir for only 15 seconds and then add the onions, tomatoes, fresh green chilies, and fresh ginger, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. If the onions start to stick add a tablespoon of water at a time as needed. The onions should turn dark brown and soft. Then add the tomatoes, salt, garam masala, and chili or cayenne. Stir for just 30 seconds more and then add the cup of water with the drained chickpeas.
3. Bring the pot to a boil, partially cover the pot, and reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing’s sticking. Add a little more water if you have to, or turn down the heat a little if it’s simmering too much.
4. Add the lemon juice, fenugreek leaves and 3/4 of the cilantro leaves. Stir and add a little salt if needed, but know that as it cools it will become more flavourful and you’ll be able to taste the individual spices better.
5. To serve, scoop yellow pea curry half on and half off a bed of rice. Garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves.
2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
2 tbsp whole cumin seeds
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 one-inch cinnamon stick
10 green cardamom cloves
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
5 bay leaves
Place spices in dry skillet and roast over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until aromatic. Remove spices to a bowl and let cool. When cool, grind spices in a spice grinder, a coffee grinder, a mortar and pestle, or in a plastic bag with a heavy saucepan or mallet (remove air from bag and hold end closed). Necessity is, after all, the mother of invention. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks.
* Or sprout them and skip the first pea-cooking step with the water and salt. Don’t bother steaming them since they’ll cook for 5 minutes in the curry anyway. Do add the 1 cup of water near the end to make a sauce.