Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Black-Eyed Peas

The United Nations has declared 2016 as the Year of the Pulse.  In the food world, the term ‘pulse’ refers to the dried form of seeds grown within pods.  Chickpeas, lentils, and beans are all considered pulses, as are this week’s Healthy Ingredient – black-eyed peas.  Pulses are prized for being a readily-available, inexpensive source of protein and other nutrients, and black-eyed peas certainly fit that bill.  Besides being high in hunger-satisfying protein, black-eyed peas are an excellent source of fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, and magnesium.  They are a staple of Southern cuisine, most notably appearing the in popular dish Hoppin’ John.  They also work well in a variety of other dishes – the recipe below features them in an exotic twist on rice pudding.

Che Dau Trang: Vietnamese Sweet Rice and Black-Eyed Pea Pudding

Ingredients
½ cup dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight
¾ cup brown rice
¼ cup sugar
3 cups water, divided
1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk, divided
½ – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

Instructions

  1. Sort and rinse beans and soak overnight. Drain and rinse.
  2. In a small stockpot (at least 2 quarts), bring beans to boil in 2 cups of water; cover and reduce to a low simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add rice, sugar, and all but ¼ cup of the coconut milk (set remainder aside). Simmer mixture for 15 minutes covered with lid slightly ajar to avoid boil-over.
  4. After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, add more water (½ cup to 1 cup) to achieve desired thickness. Continue simmering with lid ajar, stirring every few minutes, until the rice is tender (about 10 to 15 minutes).
  5. When the rice is done, turn off heat, add vanilla, and allow to sit covered for 10 minutes. The pudding will continue to thicken as it sits.
  6. Serve hot, chilled or in a glass with crushed ice. Dollop a teaspoon of the reserved coconut milk on top. Serves 6-8.

 Recipe adapted from Fork Fingers Chopsticks 

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