September 21st, 2010

Caribbean Curry Black Eyed Peas With Plantains

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In my old neighborhood in Brooklyn the streets were lined with spicy, sexy, West Indian curries. I really miss the tropical flavors, but I don’t miss the feeling of eating a small army’s ration of coconut milk and those deep fried plantains are killer, but they probably will kill you someday. Just a touch of coconut milk really does the job in this revamped dish, and steaming plantains coaxes out its sweet flavor and succulent texture even better than frying does.

Jamaican curries were influenced by Indian curries, but with their own spin on the spice blend. The biggest difference is that Jamaican curry powder calls for star anise. Since preblended Jamaican curry powder can be hard to find, I rigged up this cheater blend simply by adding star anise to a regular old curry powder.

If you can’t find plantains for the life of you, then steam a big sweet potato. Peel and cut into 1/2 inch pieces, steam for about 10 minutes. They’ll give you the touch of sweetness this recipe is looking for.

Habanero peppers are really hot, so proceed with caution. Use gloves when handling and if you’re not absolutely crazy about spicy food, do 1/2 a habanero or a plain old jalapeno for an even milder flavor.

Serve with brown basmati rice. Nutritional info is below.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1 red pepper, finely diced
1/2 to 1 habanero pepper, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
2 bay leaves
1 star anise
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
Pinch cinnamon
About 3 stems of fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup light coconut milk
3/4 cup water
16 oz can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon light agave nectar
Juice from about 1/2 a lime

2 very ripe plantains, split lengthwise and cut into 1 inch chunks

Bring your steamer apparatus to a boil and preheat a small, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Saute the shallot, red pepper and habanero in the oil for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and ginger, bay leaf and star anise, and saute about 2 minutes more. Add a splash of water, the curry powder, the cinnamon and thyme stems. Mix for about 30 seconds, just to toast the curry powder a bit.

Add the salt, coconut milk, water and beans. Cover and heat through for about 5 minutes. Add agave and lime. Taste for salt and seasoning. Turn off heat, let sit for 10 minutes to let flavors meld.Remove thyme stems, anise and bay leaves.

In the meantime, steam the plantain for about 5 minutes. They should appear plump and bright yellow.

To serve, ladle curry over brown rice and top with plantains.

Servings per recipe-4
Calories from fat-45
Total fat-5g
Saturated fat-2.5g
Trans fat-0g
Choleterol- 0mg
Vitamin A-25%
Vitamin C-40%

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