Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Ethiopian Spices

Serving Size: 8
Total Time:

This creamy, complex-tasting dish relies on assertive African flavors like berbere (an Ethiopian spice mix) and coconut milk. Don’t leave out the habanero—it’s not too hot because it’s seeded, and it adds a fruity, tropical flavor.


  • 2 cup dried black-eyed peas (12 ounces)
  • 0.33 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp berbere seasoning (see Note)
  • 1 habanero chile, seeded and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 large red onion, minced
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 cilantro and scallions and serve.

Make Ahead: Berbere is an Ethiopian ground red chile spice mix. It’s available at specialty food shops and from

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Recipe Credit: Marcus Samuelsson
Image Credit: Paul Costello