A few years ago I was invited to write about a dine in event organized by a group of people who were providing authentic, regional dining experiences in people’s homes.
The concept was great because it opened up opportunities for food lovers to sample unusual and hyper regional fare that is not usually found in restaurants. And for someone like me who loves to taste the cuisine of various regions, this was a very delightful event indeed.
The meal I partook of, was curated and prepared by a Bengali lady and most of the dishes were new to us and did not consist of the usual items that we were familiar with.
While everything was outstanding, one dish in particular stood out and ironically this was prepared using a vegetable that I had no particular kind feelings towards, courtesy its its weird flavor and strange after taste. However, the transformation that was brought about by the recipe, was remarkable.
It was amazing to realise that this particular vegetable was the main ingredient in the dish and what was even more appealing was the very simplicity of the recipe. Rustic and flavorful, it was explained to us that this was usually prepared in villages and hence not seen too often in mainstream cuisine.
This common vegetable that would never make its way into my shopping basket, suddenly made its way into my heart (and tummy of course) and I told my host that this was the only way I was ever going to eat this again.
I made sure I ate cowpea’ous quantities that day.
Yes it is the humble Cowpea that I am talking about. Botanically known as Vigna unguiculata, it also goes by the names of barbati, lobia beans, long beans, alsandey, yardlong bean etc.