Spicy Coconut Black-Eyed Peas

photo by Leela Cyd; "A Mouthful of Stars" cookbook by Kim Sunée

photo by Leela Cyd; “A Mouthful of Stars” cookbook by Kim Sunée


With a New Year to start in just a few days, I was thinking of some of the foods we eat to bring good fortune, including French crêpes (I think the tradition is to hold a coin in one hand and flip the crêpe with the other to bring good luck/wealth for the new year.)  In Spain, they eat 12 grapes at midnight, with each grape representing the number of sweet (or sour) months that will follow.  Down South, we eat greens and black-eyed peas, which I love in a bowl of Hoppin’ John and preferably with the black pepper cornbread served at Crook’s Corner in North Carolina. This recipe is another one of my favorite ways to eat black-eyed peas–spiced up with coconut milk, ginger, and orange–one that I included in my new cookbook,  “A Mouthful of Stars” (Andrews McMeel); photo by Leela Cyd; food styling by Adrian Hale.

What are some of your favorite New Year Food Traditions?

Spicy Coconut Black-Eyed Peas

Yield: 6  |  Total time: 50 min
Print Recipe

photo by Leela Cyd; "A Mouthful of Stars" cookbook by Kim Sunée
photo by Leela Cyd; "A Mouthful of Stars" cookbook by Kim Sunée


     1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

    3/4 cup diced carrot (about 2 small carrots)

    3/4 cup diced yellow onion (about 1/2 medium onion)

    1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger

    2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

    1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced

    1 pound dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through (soaked overnight, if needed)

    5 cups water

    1 1/2 tablespoons hot curry powder or garam masala

    2 teaspoons salt

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    1 large juicy orange

    1/2 to 3/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk, shaken

    1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

    Garnishes: chopped red onion, lime wedges, chopped fresh jalapeños

    • Steamed rice, for serving (optional)


    1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat; add carrot, onion, ginger, garlic, and apple. Stir and let cook about three minutes, being careful not to brown. Add the black-eyed peas, water, curry powder, salt, cumin, and pepper; stir and bring to a boil. Skim froth, reduce heat to medium-low  and simmer about 40 minutes or until peas are almost tender. Stir occasionally, mashing some of the peas on side of pot for creaminess.  Add more water, as needed, if the peas are dry.

    2. Add zest from one quarter of the orange, then cut orange in half and squeeze juice into the peas. Add coconut milk and stir. Let simmer, covered, another 7 to10 minutes or until peas are tender. Taste peas and adjust seasoning, as needed.  Stir in cilantro.

      To serve: pour peas into a large serving dish and heap steamed rice in the center. Garnish with red onion, jalapeños and lime wedges.

    Date Published: December 30, 2014

    All recipes have been tested by the Test Kitchens unless otherwise noted.

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