In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Traditional Curry Pigeon Peas Recipe.

I hated going with our mom and dad to pick peas (harvest pigeon peas) in our garden as it was always in the afternoon when my friends would be playing football (soccer) plus the heat between the trees (from the day’s sun) was stifling. You had to sort through fully developed peas and avoid the younger ones which were not ready for harvesting. You couldn’t just grab the whole bunch off the trees and make fast work of the harvest. The good part about this job was that if I helped to pick peas I didn’t have to participate in shelling… something I hated even more (I would eat tons while shelling so I always got into trouble with our mom) and the residue on your fingers was not appealing.

Peas season (as we called the 2 month period where pigeon peas were in abundance) was a fun time for me as it always meant getting a good dose of two of my favorite dishes.. pelau and curry pigeon peas, so when I got access to fresh pigeon peas I knew right way that I had to share this recipe with you all.


You’ll Need…

3 cups pigeon peas (shelled)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 medium onion diced
4 cloves garlic crushed
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
1.5 tablespoon curry powder
1 small tania (coco in Jamaica)
2 cups water
2 leaves shado beni (chadon beni, culantro) *

* I used fresh green pigeon peas, but I know this recipe works well with canned pigeon peas, but cooked for a shorter time and less water. Email me if you need help with that. If you can’t get the tania you can use 2 medium potatoes.

Heat the oil in a deep saucepan on medium heat. Add the diced onion and garlic, turn the heat down to low and cook for 3 minutes. With the heat still on low, add the curry powder (I used a madras blend made in the Caribbean) and stir well. Let that toast for about 3 minutes. It will cook the raw taste of the curry off and waken up the spices which make up the curry.

Now add the diced pepper and give it a quick stir.

Rinse and drain the pigeon peas then add it to the pot at this point. Turn up the heat, add the water, diced tania, salt, black pepper and shado beni. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 35-40 minutes with the lid slightly ajar. If you’re using canned pigeon peas, cook for about 1/2 hr.

As the peas cook your kitchen will have that wicked scent of a good vegetable curry and do remember to stir it occasionally. The gravy will start to thicken up and if it’s till a bit thin, using the back of your spoon you can crush some of the now cooked peas to help thicken the gravy. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly.You can also turn up the heat to burn off any extra liquid.

This is an excellent side for roti, rice or bread, and if you’re like me you’d even treat it as a soup? As it cools it will thicken up a bit so do keep that in mind when cooking off any extra liquid in the pot.

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Traditional Curry Pigeon Peas Recipe.
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  1. Young Pam
    April 7, 2019 / 12:53 pm

    I was in a jam but was sure that there was something I could make with pigeon peas. Mine were frozen 🙁 but it was still great! I had no coco but I did have some pumpkin, frozen as well. Thanks for the help with this one!

  2. Kia
    April 3, 2017 / 7:54 am

    I ran out of curry powder and made some in my spice grinder from a random recipe online. This was delicious! Would LOVE to see more ital recipes on the site! I am vegan and of Caribbean descent, and I want to continue to eat and share Caribbean food.

  3. Malcolm E Cook
    January 1, 2017 / 6:55 pm

    I don’t think those red peppers in the picture are scotch bonnets peppers (or even habeneros). Rather, they look like cayenne or maybe thai peppers. Anyway, I’m sure it is delicious. I had no scotch bonnets myself, and only fresh green jalapenos. Oh, and no coco either, alas, but I had a turnip. In it goes! Doh! Where’s my chadon beni? None? Howzabouta bunch of cilantro? Yum! At least I did have a reasonable yellow curry powder. Thanks for the inspiration to improvise! Ya-mon!

    • admin
      January 2, 2017 / 10:55 am

      called bird pepper (or bird’s eye pepper) I used them as I ran out of scotch bonnet peppers (the pepper we traditionally use in the Caribbean – over the bird pepper)

  4. Priscila Banayos
    November 5, 2014 / 3:17 pm

    I love Trinidad food even if just the idea or the recipe I could get I would be fine By the way my husband is a Tobagonian. Thank you for all the vegetarian recipe vegetarian coz my husband is a vegan.

  5. Cathy Pearse
    September 30, 2013 / 8:50 pm

    I’m fro m the Bahamas where pigeon peas are part of the typical peas and rice dish and were used fresh when available. I spent my teenage years in Jamaica so am partial to Island food and love curry. I now live in Guatemala C A. I discovered when looking for pumpkin and calalloo soup recipes. I made the curried pumpkin soup and it was delicious. I will substitute lentils for pigeon peas in this recipe.
    Congratulation and thanks for ideas for Caribbean food, I love it!
    Antigua in my email is La Antigua, Guatemala. I put out a calendar of original watercolours of Antigua our colonial city. We are on FB, at the moment my website is down.

  6. priscila
    September 11, 2013 / 11:10 pm

    I love Trinidadian food, and my husband is from Tobago.and hes a vegtarian. thank for all the recipe, it gives me an idea how to cook them I love cooking.

  7. Natalie
    September 10, 2013 / 5:29 pm

    That tiana we call it malanga and we call pigeon peas ( gandules) I have planted in my back yard pigeon peas which I will have enough to make your recipe I am purto Rican married to a Cuban.And my son inlaw was raised in tridad born in England. Love trini food thanks

  8. trini
    September 10, 2013 / 2:33 pm

    yuh go get in trbl….dem oman to fight to put yuh in house…

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