Vegan “Southern” Indian Cilantro-Scented Cardamom-Coconut Cream Blackeyed Peas, Peppers & Spinach

Yield: 4 servings

That title is a mouthful, but since you can’t inhale the intoxicating aroma in our kitchen, I wanted you to be able to imagine what this luscious and colorful amalgamation would smell and taste like just from the title.

The “southern” part has little to do with Southern Indian cuisine, but with my south’ren roots revealed in the inclusion of blackeyed peas instead of a more traditional Indian legume.

In the photo, I served the dish as a starter, ready to spoon into miniature puri (fried bread puffs) at right, and spooned into a puri and garnished–just break through the crisp top crust with your finger or a spoon–at bottom.  But I created it to also be served over basmati rice as a main course or a welcome addition to an Indian-inspired buffet.

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 cup of yellow onion, cut into 1/4 x 1-inch pieces (about 1 medium)

sea salt to taste

1 large red bell pepper, coarsely diced

2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1-15.5 ounce can blackeyed peas, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric

pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1-15 ounce can coconut milk (I don’t use the lite, but rather cut calories elsewhere!)

2 cups, semi-firmly packed fresh baby spinach, finely chopped (I use a food processor)

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

1 Roma tomato, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

optional: 1/8 teaspoon asafoetida

Accompaniments: miniature puri for appetizers (little spheres of puffed bread dough available in Indian markets) or over cooked basmati rice (I like to throw in a cinnamon stick and a few cardamom pods–avoid biting into either)

Optional garnishes: fresh cilantro, in sprigs or finely chopped, an/or a few roasted and lightly salted cashews

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high, heat the tablespoon of olive oil to shimmering.  Add the onion and a pinch of salt, and saute for abut 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly, until the onion develops a light brown caramelization.  Adjust heat if necessary to prevent scorching.  Add the bell pepper and saute for 3 minutes or until it begins to soften.  Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes or until garlic and peppers are soft.  Stir in the peas followed by the cardamom, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and black pepper.  Add the coconut milk, stir well to combine all ingredients, and heat through.  Add the spinach and cook, stirring, just until heated through.  Add the cilantro and optional asafoetida, stir to combine, and cook just another minute to allow flavors to combine.  Check for seasoning and add additional salt and black pepper if desired.  Serve in miniature puri as an appetizer or over basmati rice for a main course.  Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.

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  1. This looks and sounds amazing. I’ll have to give it a try!

  2. SOOO happy I found your blog, your book looks amazing going to order on Amazon! Love that you are from my area too I am from Norfolk. Do you do any cooking glasses?

  3. Please do…and thanks! I have a “dab” of it left, but we’ve been away for almost a week. I know I should discard it, but it’s calling me name! I guess I’ll just need to make another recipe of it and play it safe. 🙂

  4. Me too, Johanna! Really, you’re from Norfolk? We must meet! Since I’m a full-time teacher and part-time freelancer, the book filled every spare minute and more over the last year, but I did in the past teach “in home” I-come-to-you cooking classes and loved it. Would be happy to do it again if you were ever interested and, say, wanted to invite a friend or 2 to join you for the fun. It gets a little too crowded in home kitchens with more than 4. Thanks sooo much for your interest and support. There will be a book-signing at the Town Center Barnes & Noble on the evening of August 16, though I hate for you to wait that long to snag the book. If you get the book on Amazon before then, I’d be happy to meet you to sign it when I come to Norfolk some day or mail you a specially-designed signed and personalized bookplate. Cheers!

  5. […] Finally is another “southern” dish–southern Indian!  The title is a mouthful, so to speak, but I wanted to reference all of the ingredients that make this dish addicting:  Vegan “Southern” Indian Cilantro-Scented Cardamom-Coconut Cream Blackeyed Peas, Peppers …. […]

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