Here's wishing all my readers a Happy New Year 2011. It is considered good luck to eat black eyed peas on New Year's day, especially in the Southern parts of America. Texas Caviar is popular in the Lone Star state as the name suggests, and thankfully has nothing to do with actual caviar. Although the typical 'chavLi AamTi' or 'chavLi UsaL' are popular dishes in our Maharashtrian kitchen, the texas caviar had not made an appearance as yet. Healthy, nutritious and easy to make, this is a great dish to take to a potluck, and that's where I first came across this wonder. This is so easy to make that it was always on the back burner..well, not quite..lol
As always I scoured the web for recipes and there are several variations. I went with what I had available and made some changes to suit my tastes. Texas Caviar is generally doused in Italian dressing, but I made my own honey/chili dressing. I have used dry black eyed peas from scratch but you can of course use canned ones. The detailed recipe is as follows -
1/2 lb or 250 g dry black eyed peas/chavLi/lobia
1 medium onion any colour
3-4 stalks scallions/green onions
1/2 -1 rib celery
1 green pepper
1 red/orange pepper
1 cup sweet corn
2 lemons juiced
1 Tbsp ACV
1 Tbsp chili powder( seasoning)
2 Tbsp EVOO
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp minced garlic optional
1) Soak the black eyed peas overnight or for 4-6 hours. These are less stubborn than beans, and do not need much soaking. Boil the peas until they are tender. Alternately, you can use canned black eyed peas. A note for vegetarians - be sure to check the contents/label of the can to see that they do not have bacon or ham etc.
2) Drain the cooked peas and set aside to cool. You can also do this in advance and refrigerate the peas until needed.
3) Chop all the vegetables - onion, green onions, celery, peppers, tomatoes. Use one whole stalk or half of the celery depending on the size and to your taste. Half a cup of celery will also give great flavour, and we do not want the celery to overpower everything else. You can use any kind of tomatoes or a can of chopped tomatoes even ( easy gets easier).
4) In a bowl, assemble the peas, all chopped veggies and corn(rinsed).
5) Prepare the dressing in a smaller bowl - add all the ingredients and beat with a whisk or fork until emulsified. You can either use plain or apple cider vinegar.
6) Add the dressing to the peas and veggies mixture and toss lightly to mix well. Do not use excessive force to avoid bruising the peas.
7) Refrigerate for 4-6 hours before serving. This gets better as it sits in the fridge and marinates.
It will taste better the next day.
8) Serve with tortilla chips and get ready to party.
9) Alternate serving suggestions - a) eat as a salad on its own b) Fill in a wrap c) Top your breakfast scramble etc.