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Can't get enough peas...

Saturday, February 14, 2015
Cook Up

It’s pigeon peas “like peas.” On the highways, the trays of vans are filled to the max with this year’s bumper crop. 

What I find puzzling is the price—three pounds for $25—whether you buy them from the vans or in the market. 

I always think if it is being sold from the van, the vendor is the farmer and since there is no middleman, the price should be cheaper. But it’s Carnival time and demand is higher, so we must pay.

I don’t especially enjoy shelling peas, I don’t like the stickiness it leaves on your fingers and those pesky worms that slither around at times. Nevertheless they are incredibly delicious, and versatile.

This is Carnival weekend and there will be many rice cookups being served all over the country. The ubiquitous chicken pelau will shine brighter this weekend. It’s a delicious one-pot satisfying meal. But don’t be stumped there, you can make a veggie version without the meat, and even a delightful aromatic curried pilaf.

Whatever your plans are this weekend, be happy, have fun and be safe. 

Happy Carnival!


Pigeon Peas Cookup

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 pimento peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 hot pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped pumpkin
1 cup rice, parboiled
3 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1 cup pigeon peas (pre-cooked) or one 14 oz tin, drained
11/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt to taste
1/3 cup chopped chives
1 tsp butter

Heat oil in saucepan; add onions and garlic, sauté for a few minutes until golden.
Add peppers and pumpkin, stir to combine well.
Cook about five minutes more.
Add rice, tomato sauce and salt, stir well.
Add pigeon peas, and stir.
Add broth and stir, bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper.
Add chives, stir, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add butter, fluff with a fork and serve.

Serves 4 to 6


Curried Pideon Peas Pilaf

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 pimento pepper, chopped
1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped or to taste
1 tbsp curry powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup cooked pigeon peas
1 cup parboiled rice
1 cup coconut milk
11/2 cups broth or water
1/4 cup chopped chadon beni (optional)


Chicken Pelau


1 31/2 lb chicken, cut into pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced
2 pimento peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp green seasoning paste
1 tbsp chopped celery leaves
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup French thyme
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp veg oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 cups pigeon peas, cooked
1/2 cup chopped pumpkin
2 cups parboiled rice
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups water

Wash chicken well with lime, drain.
Rub on garlic, herb marinade, add fresh herbs, sliced onion and pepper, vinegar, black pepper and some salt, and ketchup cover and marinate for about two hours in the refrigerator.
Heat oil add sugar and caramelise to a dark brown colour, add chicken pieces one at a time turning well to colour each piece, add the rest of seasonings.
Cook uncovered until chicken starts to release its juices, about five minutes.
Add pigeon peas and pumpkin, stir. Lower heat and cook for about 10 minutes, covered.
Add rice and stir well.
Cover and simmer until cooked, about 20 to 30 minutes turning occasionally.
Adjust salt and serve.

Serves 4​


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