A healthy pungent coconut curry made with legumes and an assortment of vegetables.
I think it’s about time that I treated you guys to another main entree, after all it’s been while since I did the last one. This pigeon pea recipe is definitely timely especially with the cold snap that we’re experiencing, talk about comfort food and of course it has an element of Caribbean flare.
Curry is something that Caribbean people widely embrace, our love for curry is attributed the Indian labourers who came over in their droves to help rebuild the infrastructure of the islands. Each island has their own methodology of cooking with curry, however I would say Guyana and Trinidad seemingly has a monopoly in comparison to their neighbours since they both have a greater number of Indian inhabitants.
Pigeon peas are what Jamaicans call gungo peas, they feature in quite a few recipes such a rice and gungo peas, some Jamaicans like to rotate between legumes with red kidneys or gungo peas being the preferred choice. Other islands may refer to them as congo peas. Don’t be alarmed if you have never hear of this legume before, you can purchase it from many places that has a high number of Afro-Caribbean or Asian residents. In the worst case scenario, black eyed peas make be a great substitute or another round legume will do.
Although this recipe is vegan, if you want to put a carnivore spin on things then feel free to add some prawns. I personally like how it tastes using legumes and not to mention filling. Legumes are a brilliant source of protein, they expand in the stomach and take a while to digest. This slow releasing process helps to keep the body content and suppresses the appetite.
The noodles are made from vegetables, butternut squash to be precise, I have a spiraliser which creates excellent grain free noodles as featured in this and this recipe. Although, on this occasion I purchased them ready to use from Sainsburys. Essentially you can either purchase pre-made noodles or use a julienne peeler or a spiraliser to make your own with whichever device you see fit.
I used dried peas which take roughly an hour to cook on medium heat. My reason for doing so is simply because I was raised using dried beans/peas and so it’s a hard habit to break. However, you don’t need to follow suit unless you want to. Canned peas are readily available to buy from the store and much more convenient to use.
Almost everything in this recipe is homemade or locally sourced for example, the veggies came from my families allotment. There’s a water soluble Caribbean vegetable called cho cho thrown in there (chayote/christophene) zucchini would make a viable substitute if you’re having trouble finding cho cho. The curry powder I used was using a recipe from my blogger friend Imma (I highly recommend including her curry powder).
The true flavour is derived from the actual stewed curry pigeon peas since the vegetables are lightly stemmed and unseasoned in a pot separately. The curried peas are added towards the end where it completely penetrates the squash and veggies. Alternatively, can merge the vegetables with the stewed peas instead, if you wish but I would suggest doing the aforementioned.
- 1 pack of butternut squash noodles (or spiralise 1 butternut into noodles)
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 cho cho (christophene/chayote) peeled and chopped
- For the pigeon pea coconut curry
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 1 can of pigeon peas, drained (or use ½ cup of cooked from dry peas)
- 2-3 tsp of curry powder (see post for link)
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, de-stemmed
- 1 inch of ginger, grated
- 2 scallion, sliced
- ½ cup of mushroom, halved
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp of organic tomato puree
- 1 tsp of pink salt (use more if desired)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- ¼ scotch bonnet or cayenne pepper
- Submerge the noodles with the chopped vegetables into a pot of boiling water. The water should be just enough to cover the vegetables, cover then stem on medium heat for 10 minutes until soft.
- Remove the veggies from the stove to cool before draining the excess water.
- Meanwhile melt the coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat, then add the mushrooms, tomato puree, ginger, garlic, scallion and sautee for 1 minute before mixing in the curry powder.
- Continue to cook the curried ingredients before stirring in the coconut milk. The milky mixture should now bear a brown hue.
- Use a wooden spatula to mix everything once again before adding the pigeon peas to the pan..
- Combine and coat the coconut milk with the peas then season with thyme, pink salt and cayenne pepper or scotch bonnet..
- Allow the pigeon peas to stew for 10 minutes, during this time the liquid should reduce and thicken. You can add the remaining ingredients if you wish to immerse the entire dish in the coconut curry.
- After the given time remove from the stove and serve accordingly (pour the curried peas over the vegetables)