Black eyed peas are beautiful little beans. I admit it, I never had them as a child and now that I'm vegan, I'm never likely to have them the way Southern natives in the USA make them. Seems to me, though, that they have an affinity for flavors going way beyond that. When I came home from the food co-op with a piece of galangal -- fresh from Hawaii -- I thought of those darling little "peas." Wanting a nurturing meal, I cooked this up and thoroughly enjoyed it. Please feel free to make it without the galangal if you can't get a hold of it. A little more lemon and garlic would be just lovely too. Cooking the peas takes a while, unless you use a pressure cooker. So while you're up to something else, you can let them simmer for 1.5 -2 hours. You can re-ignite them before serving -- probably even make them a day before!
Black Eyed Peas with Spinach & Rice Noodles (serves 3)
1 cup black eyed peas
3 cups water to cook "peas"
1.5 inches of galangal - shaved
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8-1/4 tsp salt
1/4 organic lemon, squeezed & with peel
bunch of fresh spinach
1.5 cups water to cook spinach)
dry thin rice noodle (2 oz "serving")
2-3 cups boiling water to soak noodles
1. Boil a kettle full of water. Measure a cup of peas into a cooking pot. Pour a cup or two of boiled water onto the peas while you peel and shave the galangal, chop the garlic throwing them in with the peas, and then squeeze the lemon into the pot and toss in the rind. Add salt and another cup or two of boiled water, and turn on the fire, allowing the peas to come to a boil, and then turn it down to simmer. Have more water on hand in case you need to add a little towards the end.
2. After stirring and cooking the peas, wash and cook the spinach in a pot with just about 1- 1.5 cups water in it. When the spinach is done, fish it out with a fork and plop it on top of the peas. Let it sit there while you put more boiling water in the spinach water and then soak the rice noodles for about 5-10 minutes, covered. You can cover the peas and spinach (don't stir it), and put a little fire under it to heat it.
3. When the noodles are soft, you can pile them on plates, serve out the peas with spinach on top. The purity of the plain noodle underneath, the black eyed pea mixture in the middle and the sweet spinach on top is so satisfying. This makes a good serving for 2 with a leftover lunch for tomorrow, a moderate serving for three with green beans on the side and/or a salad. Or two big servings!