Savory Black-Eyed Pea Griddle Cakes

The newly released cookbook I Am From Here recount’s Vishwesh Bhatt’s journey, beginning with his first foray into restaurant kitchens and working his way up to chef to now his current position as the executive chef of Snackbar, in Oxford, Mississippi—all set against a backdrop of a diverse and evolving South. 

I Am From Here by Vishwesh Bhatt

Bhatt, who was born and grew up in India, moved to the States with his family in the late 1980s. He attended college at the University of Kentucky. Later, at graduate school at the University of Mississippi, he began cooking at restaurants, a part-time job that transformed into his full-time career. 

The cookbook explores the relationships between many Southern ingredients and foods with other nations’ cooking traditions. One, black-eyed peas, is familiar of Bhatt’s native India, and the legume also has connections to western Africa. The recipe for savory black eye pea griddle cakes is one of Bhatt’s personal favorites for breakfasts and brunches. Black-eyed peas feel festive and seasonal, particularly leading up to New Year’s celebrations, but you can also use Sea Island red peas or other members of the field pea families.

The griddle cakes get their vibrant flavor and verdant color from cilantro, jalapeño, ginger, and garlic, though Bhatt encourages you to employ other seasonings you like. All ingredients are combined, then puréed in a blender, turning into an almost cornbread batter-like consistency. The cooked griddle cakes have a consistency similar to cornmeal pancakes—crispy on the outside and soft and almost creamy in the middle. Bhatt finishes them with a drizzle of maple syrup and cilantro, though, you can also serve it with tomato-cashew chutney.

Black-Eyed Pea Griddle Cakes Recipe

 

4 cups dry black-eyed peas
10-12 cups warm water
1 small sweet onion, diced
3 garlic cloves
1-2 serrano peppers, chopped
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, chopped
⅓ cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds, toasted
¼ cup cane syrup or sorghum, divided
Salt and black pepper to taste
⅓ cup olive oil or cooking fat of choice

Instructions

1. Soak black-eyed field peas in 10 to 12 cups warm water for 2 hours. Then, drain peas, reserving 1 cup of soaking liquid.

2. In a large bowl, combine soaked peas with onion, garlic, peppers, ginger, cilantro, and cumin. In a blender or food processor, blend mixture in two or three batches, adding soaking liquid a little at a time as needed until it’s the consistency of cornbread batter. (If using a blender, be careful not to blend peas too fine or add too much liquid to speed up the process.) Fold in salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons cane syrup.

3. In a nonstick skillet or a griddle over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until it shimmers. Add dollops of about 1 ounce of batter to create silver dollar-sized griddle cakes and fry until crispy and golden brown on one side. Flip and finish cooking through, adding a few drops of oil as necessary. Repeat with remaining batter, heating additional oil between each batch. Drizzle hot griddle cakes with remaining cane syrup.

Notes: These are also delicious with chopped bacon or smoked sausage folded into the batter. For a tangier flavor, cover and set batter aside in a warm place for 4 to 6 hours (or refrigerate overnight) before cooking.

Find the savory black-eyed pea griddle cakes and more in Bhatt's I Am From Here cookbook. 

 

Excerpted from Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from Southern Cheby Vishwesh Bhatt. Copyright© 2022 by Vishwesh Bhatt. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment