Chora ma Gos | Black-eyed Peas and Meat Stew
Black-eyed peas (chora-cowpeas) are an ancient pulse from Africa. They are packed with fibre, protein, potassium, and iron. Although it originated in Europe, it is customary in the United States to consider cooking a large pot of black-eyed peas on New Year's Day to bring good fortune to one's home and family; I hear that my Parsi friends in the US have picked up this tradition and prepare a large pot of chora on New Year's Day every year!! All dried edible seeds have been a staple of Parsi cuisine over the past centuries, but, as a community, we are partial toward lentils, which we prepare much more frequently.
3 medium onions, finely chopped and fried
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp crushed ginger
1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp dhansak masala -see tips
2 green chillies -finely chopped
1 cup fresh tomato puree
2 raw unripe mangoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 kg / 2.2 lb meat, - bone- in, cut into pieces
500 g/ 1.1 lb black-eyed peas
Optionally the juice of a lemon
Heat the oil and fry the onions till golden brown. Add the garlic, ginger, all the masala, the meat, and the black-eyed peas. Mix well; add the tomato puree and the unripe mangoes. Mix well, adding 2 cups of water. Bring it to a boil and cover the pot. Lower the heat and cook until the meat is tender and the beans are done. This will take an hour and fifteen minutes. Keep evaporating the liquid over a high flame until your preferred consistency is achieved. While the stew should not have any water floating in it, the beans should remain moist and not get overly dry—chorra jayvu.
If not using unripe mangoes, add the juice of a lemon at this point and serve with kachumbar, lemon, and crusty bread or rotli.
Wash the black-eyed peas thoroughly before cooking.
You do not need to soak them. It will cook in the same amount of time as the meat. While lamb, mutton or goat is traditional, some prefer to use pork meat. Bone-in meat is best for the flavours.
Dhansak no masalo is an ashen coloured blend of up to 25 spices. It can be prepared at home but is available in most Indian supermarkets. It is used in most lentil dishes and sometimes added to other dishes for additional flavour.
My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.
The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022.
The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.
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Photo courtesy Zavera J Kanga