Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mississippi Caviar

Black Eyed Peas are considered to bring in good luck and hence they are eaten on the New Years Eve/Day in America - especially in the southern parts of the United States. You start seeing "Black Eyed Peas" placed strategically in the super markets during late December. Often times, they are on sale. Isn't it surprising that these black eyed peas paired with pumpkin is consumed in my Gujarati family on the New Years Day/Diwali as an auspicious meal?

Mississippi Caviar is nothing but a salsa/salad made with black eyed peas. Last year, I travelled for training and became friends with two colleagues from Alabama. We had never met before and we bonded over food. They shared many of their deep down southern, sweet home Alabama recipes with me. They were very passionate about their Black Eyed Peas, Hush Puppies, Fried Green Tomatoes, Grits, Fried catfish/bass. My Mississippi Caviar recipe is based on their version. However, I didn't use chicken stock & vegetable oil to cook the black eyed peas.

We rang in the new year with this "Caviar". Though it says caviar, it is a vegan dish without any fish roe/eggs.

Mississippi Caviar
2 cups soaked black eyed peas
salt to taste
1/2 cup Finely chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup Finely chopped red onions
2-3 Finely chopped green chilies/jalapenos (optional)
Freshly squeezed lemon/lime juice - as needed
2 tbsp finely minced cilantro
2 Avocados, peeled/pitted and mashed or chopped
Freshly ground black pepper - A generous pinch

1. Bring water to boil in a large saucepan. Add salt. Add black eyed peas and let it cook till about 20 minutes or so till peas are cooked but not too mushy.
2. Drain and let them cool down completely.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
4. Serve with chips of your choice.

Note -
1. I do not prefer to pressure cook the black eyed peas for this recipe, since they tend to get too mushy.
2. You can vary the amount of ingredients based on your own preference. You can also stir in yellow corn, frozen Lima beans. If using, thaw them before adding to the salad.

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