Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Ethiopian Spices


This creamy, complex-tasting dish from chef Marcus Samuelsson 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. Slideshow:  More Recipes from Marcus Samuelsson 

Black-Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Ethiopian Spices
Photo: © Paul Costello
Total Time:
55 mins
8 to 10


  • 2 cups dried black-eyed peas (12 ounces)

  • Kosher salt

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 large red onion, minced

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 habanero chile, seeded and minced

  • 2 teaspoons berbere seasoning (see Note)

  • 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

  • 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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