This improvisation on a lazy rainy afternoon has become our favorite way of eating the ritual good-luck black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Like many recipes for legumes, you should see this one as a signpost not a blue print, and add your own touches. You can leave out the spices (except for the garlic and ginger) or reduce the quantities.
Note: Garam masala is easy to find in any Indian grocery or on the internet, but you never know how long it’s been sitting on a shelf. It’s very easy to make if you have a coffee grinder you keep for spices, and amply repays the minimal effort entailed. A very easy one adapted from Madhur Jaffrey: pulverize 1 tbsp. cardamom seeds (out of their papery husks), 1 tsp cloves, 1 tsp. black peppercorns, 1 2-inch piece of cinnamon, 1 tsp. cumin seeds, ¼ nutmeg. What you don’t use should be stored tightly covered and out of the light.