Ethiopian Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk

IMG_1567I found this recipe in one of the many food magazines I read, when I was looking for ideas for Thanksgiving last year.  This is from Marcus Samuelsson (so you know it’s going to be good), from his own Thanksgiving menu.

While this is not what I would serve for that particular holiday (I’m more about the candied yams and (vegan) mac and cheese), I would serve it pretty much any other day of the year.  It’s delicious and healthy, and my entire family, including the babies, love it.  What makes this “Ethiopian” is the berbere seasoning, which you can find at many specialty food shops, and if you are in New York City, at places like Kalustyans (I found it at the NYC holiday market in Union Square).  If you don’t have time to hunt it down, I’m sure this dish would be great with just the turmeric, or adding cumin or coriander in place of the berbere.


  • 2 cups dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 4 tbsp unsalted vegan butter, or coconut oil
  • 1 large red onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced and peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 habanero chile, seeded and minced (I leave this out since I feed this to our babies)
  • 2 tsp berbere seasoning
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1-2 cups chopped spinach (or whatever green you have on hand, in the picture I used green peas because they were sitting in my fridge)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups millet

Cover the black-eyed peas with water in a large pot (no need to pre-soak them, just give them a good rinse) and bring to a boil.  Simmer over low heat until tender, about 40 minutes.  Add 1/2 tsp salt or to taste and let stand for a few minutes, then drain.  These can be made a day in advance to save time.

On to the stew.  Heat oil or butter over medium heat in a large saucepan, and add onion, garlic, ginger and chile. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the berbere seasoning and turmeric, and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook for about five minutes.  Stir in the coconut milk and broth and bring to a boil.  Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.  Add the spinach near the end so it just lightly cooks and wilts.

While the stew is cooking, prepare the millet – bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add millet, give it one stir and cover the pot, simmer over low heat until all the water is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.

Add the black-eyed peas to the stew and cook for about 10 minutes more.  Fold in cilantro and scallions.

Serve on a bed of millet.  Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s