Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Ethiopian Spices

I have been leveled by PMS this past week, and wanted to write about it since I can’t seem to muster up the desire to write (or think) about anything worthwhile that isn’t maudlin.  In lieu of a typical blog post, I thought I would share a poem with you that I wrote tonight on my commute home:

Hopelessness, negating everything
I was looking forward to yesterday.
It’s a clich√© to say every woman
turns into a monster during her time
of the month.  But I feel the change,
right down to my cells.  Nothing
can alleviate this sensation of dread.
I have to ride it out, like a nasty storm
that causes you to lose your bearings.
And know that when this passes, I will
once again look forward to my favorite things.

DSC_5481DSC_5484And one of my new favorite things is this dish.  I’ve never made an Ethiopian dish before, although I really like Ethiopian food.  This recipe is adapted from one by Marcus Samuelsson, so you know it’s delicious!  A word of caution when making this:  wear gloves when handling the chiles!  I failed to do that and spent several hours with my hands writhing in pain.  After several attempts at trying to wash the oils off, I finally succeeded by slathering my hands in vegetable oil, then washing it off with a mixture of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and a splash of dish detergent. Thanks, Google!  That being said, I could eat this every day. The ginger-garlic-chile trifecta is one of my all-time favorite things. This dish is bursting with flavor; it has a nice level of heat, and the coconut milk adds lovely creaminess which makes it a very satisfying and hearty dish. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Ethiopian Spices

Servings 6


  • 2 cups dried black-eyed peas 12 ounces
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large red onion minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 habanero chile seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons berbere seasoning*
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 scallions thinly sliced


  • 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 cilantro and scallions and serve.


*Berbere is an Ethiopian ground red chile spice mix. You can make your own blend or purchase it at a specialty food shop such as

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating