‘Mbaazi’,pigeon peas cooked in coconut milk is a favorite of the coastal region and it’s not a surprise being served ‘Mbaazi’ with ‘Mahamri’ for breakfast down by the coast.
That was my first encounter with Pigeon Peas and to be honest I didn’t quite like it,the idea of having ‘Mahamri’ with ‘Mbaazi’ was somewhat foreign and it all tasted a tad bit strange for my liking.
Fast forward 3 years later,there was this one time my mum prepared some pigeon pea stew and I loved it.I only found out I was eating ‘Mbaazi’ halfway through my dinner,I thought I was digging into some sort of beans,the pigeon peas were stewed in a coconut sauce so you could taste the creaminess from the coconut milk absorbed in the pigeon peas alongside some crunch and freshness from the variety of veggies she had stewed up alongside the peas.Well let’s just say it was love at second taste.
That was my inspiration in coming up with these delicious carrot and coconut milk pigeon peas.I enjoyed it and my sister’s loved it.
I paired it with white rice but feel free to enjoy it with a side of choice.Chapati or naan would be a hit with my carrot and pigeon peas ‘Mbaazi’
I used an array of spices in garam masala,cumin,coriander and turmeric to bring out some complex curry like flavors in my stew.
The carrots and the bell peppers bring a welcomed freshness and crunch to the stew.The sweetness from the carrots mellows down the spicy richness from the coconut milk alongside the array of spices in the stew.
Tomatoes are in season and is there anything like too much tomatoes? I just love the acidity and sweetness they bring to a meal.Tomatoes and coconut milk go hand in hand complimenting and bringing the best out of each other in this dish.
I went with red and green bell peppers but either of each would work just fine.I really love having veggies in my stews.Especially pulses,on a normal day I ain’t a fan of pulses as I find them too earthy from my liking.Must be all the beans and ‘Githeri’ I had from my days at a primary boarding school and subsequently high school.
That part of schooling I don’t miss and I sure do hope that diet changed for the better.
Coconut milk for me is a game changer and will transform any cooked pulse into something decadent and palatable.I almost never cook my pulses without coconut milk except on rare occasions when I am going for a light stew or something along that line.
I included thyme and coriander for their aroma and freshness and they didn’t disappoint.Chillies are optional just in case you can’t stand the heat or when kids are in play.
You can get your pigeon peas cooked in supermarkets but I love going the long proo where I soak the peas overnight in cold water before boiling.
Pulses are high in protein making them ideal for people who can’t get their proteins from meat,fish or other dairy products not to mention they actually are a healthier and a cheaper source of protein.
Pulses are also starchy and will add fiber not forgetting they are a rich source of iron as well.
Soaking the beans overnight not only allows them to soften up allowing for easy cooking but also gets rid of the flatulence.Most of us are scared away from pulses like beans because of their effect on our bowels,no body wants to be walking around with a bloated gassy stomach.
Soaking and rinsing your beans before cooking does help a lot in reducing this and it’s worthwhile noting that people react differently to different foods.
I soaked my peas overnight and boiled them the next day in my pressure cooker speeding up the process.After about 3-4 whistles from the cooker and they were done.Ready for stewing.
The secret is to chop the carrots into bite size pieces of almost equal proportions for even and quick cooking alongside your sweet bell peppers.
I started off by frying my onions alongside the veggies and spices.These is the base for our stew and what will give it body and depth in flavor.
In goes the coconut milk,you can thin your coconut milk with water or stock but I liked my sauce thick so coconut milk was the only liquid I added to my stew.
The pigeon peas then go in and brought to a simmer so as to allow it to absorb all the flavors and goodness from the coconut milk and spices.The simmering process is key as you don’t want it on a rapid boil for long as it will break the peas and might cause your coconut milk to separate into curds.
It really doesn’t take much to prepare this fantastic meal that can be enjoyed by all.
I really enjoyed preparing this and I for sure will me sharing more plant based recipes as requested by you lovely people.
- 2 cups dry pigeon peas (4cups cooked)
- 2 large carrots
- 2 red onions
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 11/2 cups coconut milk
- 1 bunch coriander
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- Salt&pepper to taste
- Soak your peas overnight in a bowl full off water.(if using cooked peas skip to 3)
- Rinse clean your peas with clean water and boil preferably in a pressure cooker to speed up the process.3-4 whistles from your cooker I more than enough you don’t want to over cook your ‘Mbaazi’
- Mince your garlic,chop up your onions alongside your tomatoes and dice your carrots and peppers into almost equal size portions.Also chop up the coriander stalks saving the leaves for garnishing later.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan and fry your onions alongside your chopped coriander stalks until translucent and fragrant.
- Add in all your dry spices in Garam masala,cumin,turmeric and coriander powder.Cook until the spices have released their oils and are now aromatic.Do not burn the spices.
- Add in your tomato cooking them down until soft and mushy.Add in the carrots and sweet bell peppers.Cook until coated evenly with the spice mixture.
- Pour in the coconut milk and the thyme sprigs.Bring to a slow boil.Add in the pigeon peas ‘Mbaazi’ bringing it to a boil then down to a low and slow simmer for about 20 minutes until the carrots are cooked to your liking.I like a bit of crunch on my carrots but you can let yours go on for longer if you prefer it mushy.
- Taste and adjust for seasoning in salt and pepper.Mix in the chopped coriander leaves and take off the heat.
- Serve hot preferably with rice or chapati.
In case of leftovers,cool them immediately and store in the refrigerator or freezer.