OK, so usually I don’t agree AT ALL with oversimplifying curry recipes….but last night, as I wandered a nearly empty grocery store in the Hamptons (on a frigid February night), I realized I had little choice. On weeknights this winter, I’ve been staying at a rental apartment on the East End, far from Chinatown and my well-stocked cabinet in the city, where authentic ingredients are easy to come by. It was time to improvise.
So here is my bastardized version of Thakkali Payaru Curry. If you ever have the proper ingredients — namely, mustard seed, curry leaves, bird’s eye chiles and spices like turmeric, corinder and chili powder — then please make this much better version. If you’re in a pinch, the following will do. Actually, it will do just fine (see above photo.)
Bastardized verson of Thakkali Payaru Curry
3 tbsp oil (I used coconut oil)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
one yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 hot peppers, sliced lengthwise (if you can’t find bird’s eye or serrano, then use one jalapeno)
2 tsp curry powder
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
5 oz spinach (about half of bag)
1 can black-eyed peas (often found in market’s Goya aisle)
2-3 tsbp yogurt
Heat oil in skillet. Add mustard. Stir in diced onions, allow to soften. Add garlic. Mix in curry power and chili peppers; stir well. Add the tomato. Let cook for a few minutes. Stir in spinach, and cook over low heat for several minutes until spinach starts to wilt. Stir in the black-eyed peas. When warmed through, take off heat. Add the yogurt. Delicious!