Gungo peas are also known as pigeon peas in other Caribbean islands. They are mainly used for rice and peas and soups. Traditionally gungo peas soup features salted pork or beef. Enjoy this vegetarian version. Rastafarians affectionately call veggie-based soups “sips” even if this one is not quite ‘ital” with the addition of salt. This soup takes a while so make it while doing other errands. Please note, no dumplings are in this recipe, but if you want to add them feel free! Use this recipe as a guide, you can add other ground provisions such as dasheen and cocoa or cassava, whatever you have. This recipe serves 8.
- 300g/ 1 heaped cup dried gungo peas
- 2.5 litres /10 cups of water
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 10 pimento grains
- 1 large Irish potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 piece of yellow yam (about ½ lb/250g, peeled and cubed)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 14 oz can coconut milk
- 2 fat sprigs of thyme
- 3 whole stalks of escallion
- 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
- Sea salt, to taste
- Place the gungo peas in a large saucepan with the 10 cups of water, pimento grains, garlic slices and bring to a boil and simmer for approximately one and half to two hours, it will depend on the gungo peas. Please “check on the pot” occasionally throughout this process in case you need to top up with more water. If you have a pressure cooker or instant pot, this will cut down this step considerably basically, you want the peas to be almost fully cooked.
- Next add Irish potato, yam, sweet potato and carrots, pimentos and cook for roughly ten minutes
- Finally, “season” the pot with coconut milk, thyme, scotch bonnet, escallion and salt.
- Cook for another twenty minutes or until ground provisions and peas are fully cooked through.
Let everyone dig in!
Jacqui ‘JuicyChef’ Sinclair, founder of Nyam & Trod, is a British Jamaican award-winning chef, writer, and food culturist. She is a co-founder of Kingston Kitchen, an annual food event supporting food artisans. Jacqui has been an advocate of the Meatless Monday Global movement in Jamaica since 2011. Jacqui’s work has been featured in such publications as the Huffington Post, the Jamaica Observer, Saveur, The Jewish Post and numerous blogs. She has appeared on the Travel Channel’s ‘Bizarre Foods’ with Andrew Zimmern and Food & Wine’s Jamaica episode with Kwame Onwuachi.