Recipe: Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Ethiopian Spices

Back in November, when I ran the TCS New York City Marathon, my friends and I celebrated my finish by going out to eat…at Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant, Red Rooster, in Harlem.  Amazing meal and amazing experience.  When my server came to the table, we explained that we were celebrating my completion of my final marathon of the year and then mentioned my food allergies.  He said he would go speak to the chef.

The chef was also a marathon runner and asked if he could create a dish for me.  I never turn down this opportunity.  I love it when chef’s get a bit creative with the ingredients they have on hand to produce a dish off the cuff.  I was more than happy to allow him to do so.

One part of the dish was this amazing curried black-eyed pea dish.  I was beyond impressed.  So, naturally, I went hunting online for a recipe.  And while this is not the exact dish that I had at Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant, this was one amazing dish.  One I was beyond happy to cook up.

I made a few minor tweaks, substituting the cilantro with collard greens.  I also used dried ginger instead of fresh.  The habanero is important.  It adds sweetness and a bit of heat (but it is seeded, so not too much!).  Do not leave it out.  Also, invest in berbere seasoning.  It is my favorite spice on my spice shelf at the moment.

Recipe: Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Ethiopian Spices

Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Ethiopian Spices
Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Ethiopian Spices

Servings: 8-10
Time: Prep 15 minutes; Cook 55 minutes


  • 2 cups dried black-eyed peas (12 ounces)
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large red onion, minced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 habanero chile, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons berbere seasoning (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup chopped collards



In a large saucepan, cover the peas with water and bring to a boil.

Simmer over moderately low heat until tender, about 40 minutes.  Add a generous pinch of salt and let stand for 5 minutes, then drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter.

Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chile and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the berbere and turmeric and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and stock and bring to a boil.  Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes.

Add the peas to the sauce and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the peas are lightly coated, about 10 minutes.

Fold in the collards and serve.


This definitely had a bit of bite to it.  I almost thought it would be too spicy for my roommate, but she said that she could just handle it.  I absolutely loved it.  Definitely not the dish I had at Red Rooster, but amazing and delicious all its own.  And with the New Year almost here, it is often considered lucky to have black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day in the South.  So, here is an easy, delicious dish where you can enjoy both in a new and different way.

I have the leftovers in my freezer.  Can’t wait to enjoy it again at a later date.

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