Jamaican gungo peas soup – this light and hearty soup a copy cat version that’s vegan style with yam, callaloo and sweet potatoes
During the summer period soup is probably the last thing on your mind. I know when I’m feeling hot and sweaty (excuse the gross description) the last thing on my mind is to consume something that’s hot – are you crazy? My body would feel like a furnace, just thinking about it sends on a hot flush.
Lately I’ve been looking at a few recipes to add to my website, something that is passable yet uncommon over the summer time which brought me to this Jamaican gungo peas soup. While I know most of you guys are sipping on smoothies, pimms and chomping on healthy salads. I thought I might be able to get away with slipping in this Jamaican gungo peas soup.
In case you’re not in the know, gungo peas are a localised term for what others may know as pigeon peas. They are essentially the same legume, brimming with protein and enriched with plenty of iron. This is my favourite way to replenish my red bloods cells, through a stellar soup bowl.
A few weeks ago I created this pigeon pea salad with an irresistible ginger lime dressing. The feedback exceeded my expectations. My aim is to appeal to everyone’s taste buds (at least I try to) and present many variations of Caribbean cuisine.
Now it must be said that this gungo peas soup dish is a copy cat version. The originally contains a small selection of meat (ham hock, stewing beef and pigs tail). My family always made this recipe omitting the meat with great results, mom would follow the traditional format only leaving out the meat and supplementing with more veggies.
Being the health freak that I am, I couldn’t resist applying even more adaptations to make my very own signature style. For instance, adding vegetable stock to form the foundation, then adding the vegetables and ground provisions to the body of the soup. Ground provisions you ask? In the Caribbean, tubular root vegetables are known as ground provision, they usually consist of sweet potato, cassava, dasheen (taro), yam anything that’s grown from the ground (the clue is in the name).
This texture of the soup is a light broth considering there’s a few starchy vegetables thrown in – yam and sweet potatoes. You can add more if you wish, just be mightful that starch veggies are dense and this could alter the taste and texture. I try to keep a subtle balance because the duration of simmering is approximately an hour. As the soup is left to simmer it thickens on it’s own, no powdered starch is required.
I also added some fresh callaloo – a leafy green that belong to the spinach family. If you can’t find callaloo, just use spinach instead.
Jamaican gungo peas soup is suitable for most dietary requirements – vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, that more could you ask for!
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Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free
- 2/3 cup of dried gungo peas (can use black eyed peas instead)
- 1 litre of vegetable stock (see post for recipe)
- a bunch of callaloo (approx 2 cups worth) shredded (or spinach)
- 2 large spring onions (chopped, white part only)
- 4 sprigs of thyme or 1 tbsp of thyme
- 4 pimento seeds (1/2tsp of ground allspice)
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 large piece of yellow yam, peel and cut into chunks
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 tsp of black pepper
- 1 scotch bonnet (or use 1 fresh chilli)
- 1 large carrot, sliced (optional)
- Place the gungo peas in a large pot with water and leave to soak overnight.
- Discard the water that soaked the gungo peas and rinse thoroughly.
- Then add another batch of water (approximately 5 cups) to the pot with the peas, bring to the boil uncovered for around 45 minutes or until slightly tender. The peas will cook in it’s entirety when added to the soup but do make sure they have cooked for the most part.
- Meanwhile, proceed with preparing the base of the soup, add the stop to the pot and bring to the boil.
- Add the scallion, pimento, garlic, thyme and sliced onions to the stock and give a good stir.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with lid for 15 minutes to allow the aforementioned to infuse.
- Remove the lid, gently stir before adding the sweet potato, yam, callaloo, sliced carrot and gungo peas to the pot. Carefully add the scotch bonnet, ensuring it doesn’t burst to release the heat, we want the flavour to penetrate the soup not heat.
- Finally cover the pot with the lid and allow to gently simmer for a further 45 minutes, during this time the soup will take on a thick texture.
- Serve accordingly.