from: Central Africa | cooking method: boiling-simmering
Mbaazi wa Nazi (Pigeon Peas in Coconut Milk)
Mbaazi wa Nazi (Pigeon Peas with Coconut) are the Swahili way to prepare this popular tropical pulse. The pigeon pea (Cajanus indicus or Cajanus cajan, also called congo pea, congo bean, gunga pea, or gungo pea) is evidently native to Africa or Asia. In Egypt, the cultivation of pigeon peas began before 2000 B.C. Today pigeon peas are widely cultivated in all tropical and semi-tropical regions the world over, and are especially popular in India and the Caribbean.
What you need
- one pound pigeon peas (dried); or substitute black-eyed peas, yellow-eyed peas or cowpeas -- cleaned, soaked, and rinsed
- one or two cups each of "thick" and "thin" coconut milk (see the note about coconut milk on the Wali wa Nazi recipe page)
- one or two onions, chopped
- one hot green chile pepper, cleaned and chopped
- one teaspoon curry powder -- or turmeric
- salt, to taste
What you do
- In a large pot, combine pigeon peas and just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the peas begin to become tender and most of the water is absorbed.
- Stir in the thin coconut milk, Continue to simmer over low heat. Add more water as necessary to prevent the peas from becoming dry. While peas are simmering: Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Add the curry powder to the oil and stir for a minute. Fry the onion and chile pepper until they are tender.
- Combine the peas and onion-chile mixture (add either one to the other). Continue to simmer until peas are tender enough to eat. Add the thick coconut milk and simmer on the lowest possible heat for five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve "Swahili style" with Chapati or Rice, or
"up-country style" with Ugali.
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