I’m seven days late in saying this, but Happy New Year! Coincidentally, I’m 2 days early in wishing myself a Happy Blogging Anniversary. That’s right, on January 9 this blog will be 7 years old. I wish I had something profound to say about that, but frankly, I ran out of wise words on my third anniversary! Everything I wrote then still applies, and I am still thankful to all of you who read this blog for giving me an audience for my low-fat (and often off-beat) concoctions.
As you probably know, I like to start off every year with the traditional meal of black-eyed peas and greens. However, I don’t feel compelled in any way to make either the peas or the greens in the traditional Southern way. Just take a look at my last post, a round-up of some of my favorite New Years recipes, and you’ll see that I’m all over the culinary map. This year I was inspired by a visit to The Wandering Buddha, a wonderful vegan Korean restaurant that my family and I visited while in New Orleans for Christmas. The sweet and spicy flavors of the two appetizers, three entrees, and three desserts that the three of us shared (we pigged out) reminded me why I like Korean food so much.
So for this year’s black-eyed peas and greens, I went back to an old favorite Korean recipe, bibimbap. It is, to my mind, the prototype for all those “rice bowls” you can find in vegetarian restaurants–lots of tasty vegetables with a protein served on top of rice, drizzled with a spicy sauce. For non-vegans, the protein is usually beef and a fried egg, but I’ve always substituted either baked tofu or seasoned edamame. Black-eyed peas are not a traditional food in Korea, but I thought they’d taste great seasoned with garlic and ginger and a little Korean pepper flakes. And I was right! I rounded out the bowl with a favorite soybean sprout salad; this time, I reduced the soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil by two thirds, and it came out much lighter on the sodium, fat, and sugar but still flavorful.
Note: Though I mention a couple of special Korean ingredients, this recipe can be made with ingredients commonly found in almost any grocery store. If you’re interested in trying more Korean flavors, I recommend starting out with gochuchang (also spelled gochujang and kochuchang), the spicy pepper paste that has a flavor that’s hard to replace. You might also want to try gochugaru, Korean red pepper flakes, which are not as hot as crushed red pepper and have a deeper, smokey flavor. Both can be found in Korean grocery stores and online.
Korean-Inspired Black-eyed Peas and Kale Bowl
Similar to bibimbap, this dish is a collection of separately-prepared ingredients served over rice. While it’s delicious with just the black-eyed peas and kale, I suggest adding a third component, such as the bean sprouts salad, shown, or Korean-Style Cucumber Salad.
- 1.5 cups dried black-eyed peas, picked over and rinsed
- 5 cups water
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger root or ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons chopped ginger root
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
- 1/4 teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) or red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 clove garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large bunch (12-16 ounces) kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
- brown rice, to serve
- Pre-Cook the Blackeyed Peas: Combine the black-eyed peas, 5 cups water, 1 tbsp. ginger, 1 tbsp. garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a pressure cooker or large pot. For pressure cooking, seal the cooker and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes; then allow the pressure to come down naturally for 10 minutes before releasing the pressure. For regular cooking, use 6 cups of water. Cover and simmer until peas are tender (60-90 minutes), adding more water if necessary.
- Drain the cooked peas, reserving 1 cup of liquid. Heat 2 tablespoons of water in a medium-sized non-stick saucepan. Add the 2 teaspoons chopped ginger root and 2 cloves of garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the drained peas, 1/3 cup of their cooking liquid, 1 tbsp. soy sauce (or tamari), and red pepper to taste. Simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes, as you prepare the kale. Add additional cooking liquid if the peas get too dry.
- Kale: Heat a deep, non-stick skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook until it begins to brown, adding a little water as necessary to prevent sticking. Add the red bell pepper and garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the kale and 1/4 cup water and quickly cover. Steam until the kale is tender but still bright green, 3-6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce (tamari).
- Place a serving of rice into each bowl. Arrange the black-eyed peas on one side of the rice and kale on the other. Serve with hot sauce, such as Sriracha or the Gochuchang sauce in the notes below.
I served this with a simple hot sauce based on Korean red pepper paste (gochuchang). Mix 1 1/2 tbsp. gochuchang, 1 1/2 tbsp. hot water, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil in a small bowl. This makes a lightly spicy sauce that most people will not find too hot.
Easy Hint: You can use 2 cans of black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained, instead of cooking dried peas. Simply begin with step 2, use water instead of cooking liquid, and increase the amounts of ginger and garlic, as desired.
Gluten-Free and Soy-Free? Make this using coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s) | Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Nutrition (per serving, without rice or sauce): 186 calories, 8 calories from fat, 1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 432.9mg sodium, 793.2mg potassium, 34.4g carbohydrates, 6.2g fiber, 4.1g sugar, 12.5g protein.
More Korean Food Inspiration
Grilled Baby Eggplants with Korean Barbecue Sauce
Korean Noodle Stirfry
Korean-Style Cucumber and Edamame Salad
Vegan Korean Mushrooms and Tofu Stew at Spice Island Vegan
Vegan Shindangdong Style Ddeokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cake) Recipe by The Vegan 8 Korean
Bulgogi Style Tofu at Manifest Vegan
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