Thursday, October 30, 2008

Around the World: Black-Eyed Peas and Potatoes

Here is another menu inspired by my recent study of African cuisine. This lunch features three more foods used widely across the continent...

In the bottom container, I seasoned black-eyed peas and potatoes with touches of cilantro, cumin, and lime juice. Tender black-eyed peas and other cowpeas (also called "crowder peas" here in the U.S., because they’re all crowded together in their pods) are served all over the African continent.

On top of this dish are oven roasted okra pods. I love okra so much! Here in America we tend to think of okra as a southern vegetable, but it, too, has its origins in Africa. Whole roasted pods are fun to pick up and eat with your fingers.

In the top container are honeydew melon slices and a serving of plantain chips, a popular snack in West Africa.

Verdict: Everyone in the family was happy with this meal, although shmoo wouldn't even try the okra (more for thems that likes em!). The plantain chips were interesting, like a cross between potato chips and banana chips. 3 stars.

P.S. Speaking of plantains, have you ever visited the sad little monkey who bought the wrong bananas? Too bad he didn’t know the difference between bananas and plantains!


Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) said...

Plantain chips are awesome! I fell in love with them while I was in Ecuador. Probably ate waaay too many of them down there too! I wish I could find them back at home.

Some call me... rocky said...

Ooohhh.... I also adore okra! I make mine either with indian spices (bhindi masala), gumbo, or add tomato sauce on top. There is no wrong way to eat them in my opinion.

I bet they were fantastic with the potatoes and peas.


Oh BTW -- I got a large lunchsense box and one of the new Thermos Nissan lunch totes. I am sooo excited. The gal at lunch sense is very, very nice and helpful.

thanks for posting about those systems!


R.M. Jackson said...

Hi there!

Just to be fair to the little boy, Filipinos call plantains "cooking bananas" so he wasn't far off.

Would you believe I never checked where okras originated? I have lots of okra plants in my garden... so you can understand why I thought they originated here in JAMAICA. LOL! I have been duly educated (sheepish grin). Thanks, Jennifer.

They're yummy when they are not overcooked... we steam them, and my toddler (2 years) loves them.

Bianca said...

I'll have to try roasting okra in the pod...I always fry it, but roasting would be way healthier. Also, I LOVE CROWDER PEAS!

K said...

Love LOVE LOVE this lunch. Everything looks delicious. Okra is one of my favorites--i've never had it whole in pods though. I must try it. I've friend with indian spices/onion/garlic. Oh & I love fried plantains with lime juice and salt. YUM! Thanks for yet another great lunch idea!

Rose said...

Plantains are my favorite! Sadly, I don't like okra at all.

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Lovin' the lunch!!

WomenFolk Talk said...

Great Stuff! My recommendation for sweet plaintains is too let it ripe more. Once it starts to darken more it ir ripe.

Marite said...

Ha! I just have to laugh, because, I live in Angola- as in Africa! Admittedly, I've only been here 3 months, but I kept seeing these little green things are the grocery store, that from afar almost looked like baby zucchinis, but then up close almost more like peppers, but not...I could not figure out what they were. And now, from reading your blog, I know they are Okra! Maybe I will buy some next time!

funwithyourfood said...

oh i've never done okra in the oven.. great new idea for me!


MissMemphis said...

You know, I've always been pretty dubious of okra. I'll eat it with tomatoes, but I hate fried okra, and other cooked okra is usually slimy. I do like pickled okra... I'm going to have to try roasting it. I think I would like it.

Little Fec said...

Hi Jennifer shmoo!
I love your blog.
I wanted to let you know, when I was looking for a recipe, i found one of your blog entries on someone else's site.

I know this has happened to the fat-free vegan site recently, too.
you may already know about this, but just in case, thought I'd drop you a line.
sorry to use your comments section. :)
keep up the cool lunchboxes!

Anna said...

HI Jennifer, I have a few random veganesque questions for you and how you make it work:
Do you find it is expensive to buy and eat vegan? (Maybe you've been vegan for awhile now and it doesn't seem like such a shock.) Or seek out specialty products to stand in where other non-vegan options have always been commonplace - for instance, in baking or home cooking items? Do you make most of your own food? If you go out to a restaurant, how do you make sure that it's vegan-friendly?
Thanks so much, I love your blog.

Zoe Winters said...


Wow, your blog is fantastic! Thank-you so much for sharing!

Zoƫ x

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi Anna,

>>Do you find it is expensive to buy and eat vegan?

No, not if you stick to foods in their whole form (ie rolled oats instead of cereal, beans instead of veggie "meat", etc.) and avoid prepackaged foods and processed foods as much as possible. Of course, we like to splurge occasionally just like everyone else, but if your goal is saving money, you can save a lot on a plant-based diet.

>>Do you make most of your own food?


>>If you go out to a restaurant, how do you make sure that it's vegan-friendly?

We don't eat out very often, but when we do I find that I can usually find a good meal with a little creativity. A lot of restaurants now offer vegan items on the menu, and the ones that don't usually have items you can modify or veggie side dishes that you can put together to form a meal. Wait staff are usually willing to work with you; tip well if they go that extra mile to make your meal veg-friendly!

Here are some links that might help you:

Vegan Eatin' on a Budget

Vegetarian Dining

suburban dyke said...

I love your blog. I am veg not vegan. While there is a lot of good about the 2008 election there some real bad. I am posting this comment on many blogs. Please share:

Let’s fight back on Proposition 8. Let’s boycott California wines, produce and travel. Let’s publicize it. Let’s embarrass them. It worked a few years ago in Colorado. What do say?

Lunchbox Obsessed said...

I love plantain chips!! They are fun to make at home, too... easier if you have a mandoline slicer. I love all vegetables except okra and sweet peppers... I wish I liked them! I have tried okra fried, steamed, etc. hoping I could find a way to like them. No luck!! Everything else on the plate looks great, though!

suburban dyke said...

We should try to fight Proposition 8 which takes away rights already granted.
Please consider a boycott of Sundance, Utah and Mormons
or donating money to the Northern California ACLU .
I am not affiliated with either. I am just trying to make a difference. Thanks.