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?

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2 thoughts on “Ingredient 27 – Gungo peas

  1. I love Caribbean Vegan but so many of the ingredients are impossible to find here. Pigeon peas are one of them! I’ll have to try the coconut chutney, it sounds great (and Boyfriend chipped one of my good knives trying to open a coconut during MoFo last year, too! I’ve been planning on getting it repaired for a year but haven’t done it yet).

  2. I am not very keen on dried pigeon peas (including canned), but occasionally in Asian and Caribbean grocers you can buy fresh ones in pods (look worryingly like laburnum) or fresh frozen ones. Those I do like. Tend to go into a version of rice and peas here too (not disimilar to a pelau)

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