Black Eyed Peas and Potato Curry & Reminiscing about Home

Haven't thought about it that much, maybe just brushed the thoughts away, as we are now paying a small sum called a college tuition, and need to be grown up and thoughtful about expenditures, but I can't help but having these overwhelming home sick feelings. Yes I have now lived in the United States for more than half my life but my first cousin's wedding in February and another cousin's in June, on top of a nephew's bar mitzvah this coming December makes me itchy to go home.
Granted my home is where J and S are, always! Going back to Israel, I laugh, although my entire family lives in Israel and I miss the belly ache laughs only I can have with my sister, but when I land and rent a car, and start driving out of the airport terminal, despite the changing landscape, I am mightily elated when I get the first sighting of sand. Sand dunes of my childhood. I am happy then! Silly me I say. It is very pretty where we live here in the States, very green with many trees. Owls hooting right outside our window, woodpeckers, humming birds, turkey buzzards, hawks, red tailed fox and deer. A neighborhood legend has it coyotes migrated here in recent years. I think I dreamt about them, that was my only sighting. A little brick home and nice surroundings, that is our sweet home.
I haven't been back to Israel since my father passed away four years ago. I was quite sad and in a state of shock, it has been a mourning process. As I am cooking all things Indian recently, the joys and pleasures and memories that the aromas and spices reawaken in me, make me desire and want to experience home yet again, and document every fold and twist of my mom's hands in Indian cooking. Re-explore the constant, old favorites, legendary landmarks such as the renowned Abulafia bakery in Old Jaffa, best to show up for a midnight snack, Arab bagels with sesame and zaatar on the side from the old city in Jerusalem and the ever changing culinary fusion of this melting pot landscape. I am amazed in such a small place, the size of New Jersey, how I can never get enough! I never feel I have exhausted the possibilities of discovery.
Revisit the Galilee with centuries old intertwined exposed husky roots olive trees and Judean desert hills overlooking the Dead Sea. A part of the Syrian African rift I believe, and I am talking geology:). Along the way visit a small boutique winery or cheese makers. Which reminds me how I miss the yogurts even straight from the supermarket. Revisit the mom and pop spice show in town where I grew up. The curry spice that I use in the recipe below, was formulated by my uncle to the tastes and dishes of the Bombay Indian Jews. He sourced locally grown chillies, dried them and made his own curry mixtures, like concocting potions. I am running low so maybe an excuse?! This week I simply miss home.

While black eyed peas are a staple of Southern cooking here in the States, they were growing up my favorite bean in Indian cuisine. We called black eyed pea ChawLee. Scroll down you will find more information on black eyed peas here.

Black Eyes Peas Curry

1 Cup dry black eyed peas
1 Large onion
1-2 Jalapenos
1 Large tomato
1/3 of small bunch of cilantro
4-6 Cloves garlic
2 Large Russet potatoes, peeled and medium cubed
4 Tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoons curry powder (according to taste)
Salt to taste
Water to cover
Chopped cilantro
Feature in photo Mango Chutney here.

1. Add onions to food processor, whiz until paste consistency achieved and add to canola and saute on low/medium heat until onion are soft and golden.
2. Add tomatoes to food processor whiz until tomato sauce consistency is reached and add to golden onions cook for few minutes longer until tomatoes are cooked through.
3. Add cilantro, jalapeno and garlic to food processor, whiz until a paste consistency is reached. Scrape from sides of food processor and whiz a bit longer then add to onion tomato mixture and cook for few minutes.
4. Add to curry powder and salt, stir quickly and add black eyed peas and potatoes. Cover with water, stir and cover with a lid. Let cook on low/medium heat for about an hour without stirring any further. Add water if necessary and cook until potatoes and black eyed peas are fork tender. Garnish with cilantro and serve with plain basmati rice and mango chutney

Important note: During cooking period stir only once after covering the potatoes and black eyed peas with water. Give the pot a bit of a shake or a nudge once or twice during the cooking period to make sure the beans and potatoes do not stick to the bottom. Check for water and add as necessary as the black eyed peas soak up the water. Absolutely unnecessary to soak the black eyed peas overnight, in case you were wondering.