Ingredient 27 – Gungo peas

When I picked these up some time ago in the “World Food” aisle of a local supermarket I was very excited to find some kind of mysterious bean I’d never heard of before. I was really disappointed when I looked them up and they just turned out to be pigeon peas. I’ve used pigeon peas a couple of times before already, though only the dried version, so these tinned ones are technically still a new ingredient to me.

I knew I’d used the peas in cooking from Viva Vegan but I’ve used that book quite a lot this month so I turned to Caribbean Vegan as I knew I’d used them there before too. I really think this book is underrated in the vegan community; I have had some wonderful dishes from it. I decided to make the Barbadian Pelau which I don’t think I made in testing. It’s designed to be a one pot meal, served with one of the chutneys from the book, but I had some greens that needed using so I slightly tweaked the recipe for spinach from the same book to use them too. I’ve made the cocount chutney heaps of times and never need an excuse so I made that too. (I always use frozen coconut now since an unhappy incident making this very chutney when I chipped the blade of my my best knife trying to open one).

The recipe uses quite a lot of ingredients, even though I had the Bajan seasoning already made, and at one point I felt like my counter was drowning under the various tubs and packets on it, but you do get quite a bit of down time while the rice cooks to clean up as you go.

This is a really tasty dish but I did need to alter the cooking times and water ratios slightly as the bottom of my pan started to catch a bit, but that was no big problem. Alongside the chutney and the greens this was a real winner and it makes heaps so I’ve got some great
lunches to look forward to too.

The gungo peas themselves do get a bit lost in the dish but I enjoyed them. It didn’t use the whole tin so I have put the rest in the freezer and plan to be brave and try the Jug Jug from the book with them, which is supposed to be something like a Caribbean version of haggis!

Have you used gungo peas?