You may have figured out by now that I'm a huge fan of African food. While I'm often cooking up spicy West African style dishes, I also love to make meals inspired by the flavors of East Africa.
This Kenyan dish is perfect for a hot summer day, as it's eaten chilled or at room temperature. It's also vegetarian, so I don't have to omit things or make substitutions for stew meat. I found it on a site that's jam-packed with recipes, Celtnet.org.uk. I haven't really changed that much, other than to tweak the measurements a bit.
1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in water
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped very fine
1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you like)
3/4 can of coconut milk (Don't get the light stuff! It won't thicken as well.)
4 tbsp peanut oil
salt and pepper to taste
Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas.
Boil the black-eyed peas in a large stock pot until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a skillet brown the onions in the peanut oil over medium heat. While browning, add a pinch of salt and 1/2 of the red pepper flakes.
When the onions are almost perfectly brown, add the green pepper,the rest of the pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes.
Add the cooked beans and coconut milk, reduce the heat, and gently simmer until thickened, stirring frequently. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
Let cool to room temperature - it's really tempting to eat this while it's still hot, but hold back! It's so delicious (not to mention refreshing) as it's meant to be eaten, and the flavors are surprisingly layered for a dish that contains so few ingredients.
M'Baazi is traditionally served in a crunchy lettuce leaf, which is how I plated it. I also happened to have some extra green tomatoes sitting around, just begging to be fried. The crispy texture and tartness of the tomatoes were a great foil for the sweet heat of the earthy beans. I topped the tomatoes with a mayonnaise/chipotle pepper sauce mixture.