You may think of black-eyed peas as an ingredient of the American South but plenty of people in Asia enjoy them. I’ve encountered them in Vietnamese sweet soup and shaved ice snacks. Black-eyed peas are also beloved in Indian kitchens, where they’re known as lobhia.
The buttery little black-and cream colored beans cook quickly and have a tender skin. They’re meaty but in a delicate way, almost as if they’re the seafood of beans. Robust kidney beans, in my mind, are more like the beef or pork of beans.
In this recipe from Indian Cooking Unfolded, a new book from talented cooking teacher Raghavan Iyer, black-eyed peas are imbued with lots of spice and heat, as well as the earthy goodness of collard greens. There’s tomato tang too. The little beans take on the seasonings and essence of the other ingredients in a marvelous way.