Friday, January 2, 2015

Black Eye Pea Ham and Collard Green Curry for the New Year


It's officially 2015!  It's a start of a new chapter in everyone's life.  What will the year hold for all of us? What will we be talking about next year as the year closes?   As I get older the years just fly by.  Our lives are a bit of a blur with the daily routines like working, school, making dinner etc...   I hope this year gives us all some time to just relax and look around at the world around us and really take a moment to "live in the moment".  

That being said, I imagine that we all want it to be a lucky and prosperous year.   We have customs in Sri Lanka where we eat the auspicious coconut milk rice (kiri bath) on the first of the year/month.   I have learned to also adopt eating some of the southern/American New Year dishes as well.   I love eating black eyed peas on January 1st as well as pork/ham and collard greens.  

Every year I try to come up with a new way to enjoy these foods.  This year I decided to make a curry with them and it came out really well.  My family loved it and it may have to be made a little more often around here.   We ate it over plain rice and added some plain cooked lentils as an additional side dish. 

I hope they work and I hope it's a prosperous and lucky year head. Wishing you all the best this year!!

2 (15oz) cans of black eyed peas rinsed
1lb of cooked ham (preferable from a baked ham)
15-20 curry leaves
1 small stick of cinnamon
2 tsp of cumin seeds
2 tsp of black mustard seeds

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp of ground turmeric
2 tsp of curry powder (I used McCormick brand)
2 cloves of garlic grated
1 inch of ginger grated
1 medium onion chopped
1 bunch chopped fresh collard greens (no stem)
2-3 green chilies

1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
red chili flakes (to taste)

red chili powder (to taste)
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes (with chilies preferable)

15oz water
1 can (15oz) coconut milk
 salt and black pepper to taste

Serve with rice

Directions (with step by step photos):
Chop all vegetables and ham so they are ready to cook.  Then heat 2-3 Tbs canola oil in a large pan and add curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon stick and saute for 20-30 seconds.  Then add onion, chilies and saute for 2-3 minutes on medium high heat.  Next add the ginger and garlic and saute for another minute.

Add the washed and chopped collard greens.  Remember to remove the tough stem before chopping.  Saute with onion and aromatics for 3-4 minutes.  Then season with red chili powder, curry powder and turmeric powder. Saute for 2-3 minutes.

 Add the cooked ham and cook for another 2-3 minutes.   Then add the canned tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and 15oz of water.  (note: I just measured water using the tomato can).

 Then add the two cans of drained and rinsed black eyed peas.  Turn heat down to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.  Finish off with can of coconut milk and simmer for another 3-4 minutes. 

Taste for salt and seasoning.  Serve hot with rice.  I also served it with lentils to make the dish extra lucky since lentils are considered to be a sign of gold coins.   Enjoy.   


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