Spicy black-eye beans with black cardamon

The prunes don’t add sweetness as you would imagine, they absorb the spices and add an overall balance to the spiciness.  Black-eye beans don’t take long to cook if soaked, but like all beans it does depend on their age, the older they are the longer they take to cook.

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If you forget to soak dried beans, a way to speed up the process is to bring the beans to the boil and boil them for 10mins, turn off the heat and let them stand for 2hrs.

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When the beans have been soaked, in a pan soften the onion in the oil.

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When the onion is translucent add the spices and stir them for a few seconds coating the onion, add the beans and stir again.

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Add the prunes, salt and the water and bring the pan to the boil.

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Boil gently for 30mins.  There should be enough water still left around the beans, if not add just enough to see it poking through the beans.  Cover the pan and turn the heat down to low, cook for another 30mins.

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After an hour total cooking time the beans should be done, sometimes they may take longer if they are old beans.

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Spicy black-eye beans with black cardamon
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Serves 6 as a side dish
Ingredients
  • 200g dried beans
  • 100g prunes, chopped roughly
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 black cardamon, husks removed, seeds ground into powder. Should be enough seeds to fill ½ tsp (measured spoon)
  • 1 tsp Madras curry powder or homemade masala
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1 - 1½ tsp salt
  • add cayenne pepper or chili if you like things hot
Instructions
  1. Soak the beans overnight. If you forget boil the beans for 5mins and let them stand in the soaking water for 2 hours. Fry the onion in the oil until soft, add the spices and stir them in for few seconds. Add the beans and stir them in the spices, and add 1 litre (4 cups) of water, add the prunes and the salt.
  2. Bring the pan to the boil and boil slowly uncovered for 30mins. After 30mins here should be enough water around the beans if not add a touch. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and carry on slowly boiling for another 30mins.
  3. Black-eye beans are normally cooked in an hour but it will depend on the age of the beans. If you want these beans drier, take the lid off and boil them for 10mins on medium heat stirring frequently to prevent burning the bottom of pan.
Notes
I've tried the beans with and without the curry powder and prefer them with. The black cardamon here are the smaller size ones found usually in Indian stores, for the Chinese size ones use only one cardamon. Check my site for the difference between Indian and Chinese black cardamon. If you can't find black cardamon replace it with 6 green cardamons and pinch of smoked paprika or a smoked chili.