Black eyed peas with spinach and fried plantains

One of my favorite dishes in Ghana was Red Red - black eyed peas and fried ripe plantain. The peas would be doused with an unhealthy amount of red palm oil, giving rise to the name red red for the color of the peas and plantains. Unhealthy, but so delicious! It's common street food, and I would usually request no oil. I figured it was a trade-off since I ate it at least once a week.

On a recent trip to the farmer's market, I saw the plantains and immediately started craving red red. It's one of the dishes that immediately takes me back to a wonderful place. It combines something I know well from my childhood growing up in the South - black eyed peas - with an exotic, new fruit that I discovered my love for as an adult.

I let the plantain ripened several more days. For it to be sweet, it needs to be really ripe, almost black. I cut it in one-inch pieces and added some spices - ginger, chili powder, and salt - before frying. The spices help to bring out and balance the sweetness of the plantain.

While this was frying, I boiled half a bag of frozen black eyed peas and half a bag of frozen spinach. I added salt and pepper to taste, and let the peas boil down to a nice consistency.
I had to keep myself from eating the whole pan! Of course, I ate all of the plantain. There was a reason I only got one! I cut up a sweet potato into cubes and fried it to go along with the peas for lunch later in the week. It worked well but nothing beats fried plantain!

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