Black-Eyed Peas Pulao
- 1 cup basmati rice (recommended: Tilda)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon asfoetida powder (hing) - optional, but recommended!
- 1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
- 2 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 1/2 to 1 whole Fresno chile, minced (depending on how hot you like things)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- Scant 2 cups hot water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
Pour the rice into a large bowl and wash in plenty of water, swirling the rice with your hand. The water should go cloudy. Drain, and wash again in fresh water. Repeat this process until the water runs clear (4 to 5 times). Fill the bowl with fresh water and let the rice soak about 30 minutes (this will give you nice long, delicate grains of rice). Drain, reserving 2 cups of the water for later. The grains should have fattened up a bit and turned opaque.
In a small heavy-bottomed pot set over medium heat, add the oil and butter. Once the butter has melted and the foam has subsided, add the cumin seeds. They should sizzle when they hit the fat! Once the cumin seeds have darkened, add the asfoetida powder (this is an Indian trick said to prevent the less desirable after effects of the beans!). Stir, and then add the onions, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and cloves. Sprinkle with a touch of salt to draw out some of the onion's moisture. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the Fresno chile and saute for 30 seconds.
Add the rice - as soon as it hits the fat, it will release its loamy fragrance into your kitchen. Sheer bliss! Stir gently, because the grains are pretty fragile at this point. Cook, stirring frequently but gently, until the grains turn translucent again and don't clump together, 2 to 3 minutes. Each grain should be its own emancipated self!
Add the black-eyed peas, water and salt. Bring to a full boil, turn down to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the rice is cooked and fluffy, about 15 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover and allow to steam 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve!