I am a North Carolinian through and through. I wasn’t born here, but I’ve lived here for most of my life. I’ve got the accent which gets worse (read: better) when I’m tired. I’m ok with the hot summers. I like staying home for the one good snow we might get in the relatively mild winters. And, there’s nothing quite like southern food.
Smoky, sweet, spicy…it all works. So, for today’s post, I’ve decided to mix a little North Carolina in with a coconut milk curry. And what’s more southern to soak up some of the liquid than a a little fresh-baked cornbread?
First off, let me tell you a little something about black-eyed peas and collards. They are the essence of NC cooking and I never liked them growing up. The real truth is I never ate them. Although I grew up here, my parents didn’t, so we never had them at home, and I guess I was afraid of them at all the reunions and church potlucks.
In the last couple years, I’ve learned to love the black-eyed pea, but still had a little fear of collards. Until now. I loved this dish so much that it, and variations of it, will be in my regular rotation from now on.
I didn’t really measure anything to make this dish because who wants to work that hard for curry? But, I can tell you what I did to give it that NC spin.
First cook some diced red onion in a little oil in a large skillet. When they are translucent and start to brown, add in some of your favorite mild curry powder (I used this one) and stir to coat the onions. It’s better to err on the side of too little curry powder as you can add more later. After about a minute, add the black eyed peas, some small florets of cauliflower and about a cup of water. Add in a golden broth cube (I used Not Chick’n) and use a fork to break it down into the water. Once the broth cube is dissolved, add in a can of coconut milk. And, here’s that little bit of sweet…add in about 1/2 can of pumpkin puree and stir it in with the coconut milk. Taste the broth to see whether it needs more curry powder or salt and add to taste. If you need salt, I highly recommend smoked salt. It adds a little extra something. But, if you don’t have it, regular salt will work just fine. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and let it simmer until there’s little liquid left (it took mine about 15 minutes). Add a bunch of collards, chiffonaded and about 1/2 cup of water to thin out the curry and cook the collards. Use more if you like it thinner. Serve topped with toasted pecans (more NC), and finely chopped red onions. Sprinkle on more curry powder/smoked salt as needed.
To keep the NC flavors going, I tested out the Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread Mix.
The mix calls for eggs, but I tested it out using “chia-eggs” (1 Tbsp ground chia to 3 Tbsp water) I used white chia to affect the color as little as possible. It has a mild, slightly sweet corn taste, but I like the corn to “jump” out at me a little more. The flavor was better against the curry (seemed sweeter and more corn flavor) than it was on its own. It’s a little on the dense side (a lot on the dense side if you like the muffin-y almost cake-like cornbread that you get from some mixes). Although I typically like room temperature baked goods, this is better warmed up.
Noting that it may be different using actual eggs (which we don’t do here at Veggie Product Reviews), my review is that it’s decent, but nothing to write home about. I’d rather have my homemade, but it will work when I’m in a hurry.
Until next time, Julie, Amanda and I would like to thank you for spending time with us this Vegan MoFo. We look forward to hearing from you as we review products throughout the year.