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Jamaican gungo peas soup/pigeon pea soup – a vegan style light and hearty legume soup is a copy cat version with yam, callaloo and sweet potatoes for nutritional density
During the summer period Jamaican gungo peas soup (aka pigeon pea soup) is probably the last thing on your mind. I know when I’m feeling overly warm 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 – it’s tasty, brimming with tropical flavours and filling too!
What are gungo peas?
In case you’re not in the know, gungo peas are a localised term for what others may know as pigeon peas. Gungo peas and pigeon peas are legumes so they belong to the same family. The only really difference between the two is the apppearance. Gungo peas are small in size and with a brown hue (although they same be green too)
What are the health benefits of gungo peas?
- They are packed with protein
- low in fat
- Enriched with plenty of iron.
- Great for replenishing red bloods cells through this 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.
Adding that vegan twist to Jamaican gungo peas soup
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.
What are ground provisions?
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) and used in soups, stews or simply eaten by themselves.
Making Jamaican gungo peas soup
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 mindful 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.
- Most of the ground provisions listed can be purchased with a Caribbean grocery, just ask if you’re not sure about what to buy.
- Make sure to use brown gungo peas NOT the green ones.
- If you can’t find callaloo, just use spinach or kale instead.
- This soup is suitable for vegans and a gluten free lifestyle
- gungo peas are also known as pigeon peas
Click here to learn how to make your own veggie stock for all your recipes.
Jamaican gungo peas soup
Jamaican gungo peas soup – Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Caribbean
- 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.