Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mmmm, Mmmm, M'Baazi: Kenyan Black-Eyed Peas in Coconut Milk

You may have figured out by now that I'm a huge fan of African food. While I'm often cooking up spicy West African style dishes, I also love to make meals inspired by the flavors of East Africa.

This Kenyan dish is perfect for a hot summer day, as it's eaten chilled or at room temperature. It's also vegetarian, so I don't have to omit things or make substitutions for stew meat. I found it on a site that's jam-packed with recipes, I haven't really changed that much, other than to tweak the measurements a bit.  

1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in water
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped very fine
1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you like)
3/4 can of coconut milk (Don't get the light stuff! It won't thicken as well.)
4 tbsp peanut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas. 
Boil the black-eyed peas in a large stock pot until tender, about 20-30 minutes. 
Meanwhile, in a skillet brown the onions in the peanut oil over medium heat. While browning, add a pinch of salt and 1/2 of the red pepper flakes.
When the onions are almost perfectly brown, add the green pepper,the rest of the pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt  and black pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes. 

Add the cooked beans and coconut milk, reduce the heat, and gently simmer until thickened, stirring frequently. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
Let cool to room temperature - it's really tempting to eat this while it's still hot, but hold back! It's so delicious (not to mention refreshing)  as it's meant to be eaten, and the flavors are surprisingly layered for a dish that contains so few ingredients. 

M'Baazi is traditionally served in a crunchy lettuce leaf, which is how I plated it. I also happened to have some extra green tomatoes sitting around, just begging to be fried. The crispy  texture and tartness of the tomatoes were a great foil for the sweet heat of the earthy beans. I topped the tomatoes with a mayonnaise/chipotle pepper sauce mixture. 

M'baazi - Black Eyed Peas In Coconut Milk on Foodista


  1. Oh wow! I love blackeyed peas (I scramble to find as many fresh ones as I possibly can this time of year and freeze them!) and I love coconut milk. What a surprisingly easy dish! This sounds lovely.

  2. Yum!!!! I am a huge fan of African food AND blackeye peas. I will have to try this out!!!

  3. Looks really tasty and healthy and coconut seems like a nice ingredient here...have you been to Africa? I have a great cookbook on food from Africa and its different regions and they do have great recipes.

  4. Thanks all! I haven't been to Africa ... it's on my (long!) list of places I want to visit. You can really trace an African influence in so many cuisines, it's fascinating.

  5. Looks really good, I bet you could use coconut cream too. I will definitely try this one, thanks for posting this!

  6. Wow- this looks great!

    I love stumbling on to intriguing ethnic dishes I have never heard of- I love coconut milk so I am sure this is fabulous!

    I'll really have to try this- thanks for the recipe and very nice blog by the way.

  7. I really love this dish. My father is from Kenya and these are the kinds of dishes I loved to eat growing up. You have some awesome recipes on your blog! Definetly following! Keep up the fantastic work!

    Sanjana from KO Rasoi

  8. Hi, great recipe especially for those non spicy food lovers, but one thing. We did not eat lettuce traditionally as africans, ok i could be wrong about that but definitely in Kenya we did not. lettuce is a western vegetable that we aren ow incorporating into our meals. Mbaazi was traditionaly served with chapati (flat bread) or mahamri ( a sweet dough thats deep fried. to make it a bit more spicy and "more" authentic you might want to add in some garlic, turmeric and garam masala and just a bit of curry powder ooh and some tomatoes for the sauce and color. . Do visit my blog sometime, Wangeci from Nairobi

    1. oooh ya also this dish is traditionally made with dried pigeon peas which whose swahili name is mbaazi so the dish is Mbaaza wa Nazi (pigeon peas in coconut. this doesn't make such a big difference though as it boils down to personal preference