Black-eyed peas were a staple in my house growing up. My grandmother would make them for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner as well as the traditional side for our New Year’s Day meal. She also made greens. For this recipe, I decided to bring them both together with curry and coconut milk.

Serves 15-20.


1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight

1 pound crowder peas, soaked overnight

2 sprigs thyme

2 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil

1 small or 1/2 large onion, minced

2 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. red pepper flake

2 tbsp. curry powder

5 large tomatoes concassé (instructions follow), or 2 cans of diced tomato

1 tsp. ground turmeric

3 cups or more vegetable stock

2 cans unsweetened coconut milk

2 bunches lacinato kale washed, bottom stems removed, chiffonade (instructions follow)

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Drain peas and place in a large saucepan. Cover the peas with plenty of water, thyme sprigs, garlic cloves, and shallots, and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, over moderately low heat until tender, about an hour.

After about 40-45 minutes, add a generous pinch of salt. Continue to cook until tender then remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes, then drain well. Reserve 2 cups cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook until tender, then add ginger, garlic, red pepper flake and salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the curry and turmeric and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock and coconut milk and reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a boil then simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens a bit, 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. Adjust consistency by adding more stock and/or coconut milk. Fold in greens. Greens will cook from the residual heat. Adjust seasonings. Serve.

*Tomato concassé refers to tomatoes that have been peeled, seeded and roughly chopped.

To prepare, fill a large bowl with ice cubes and water and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Cut an X in the bottom and remove the core of each tomato with a knife. Place prepared tomatoes in the pot of boiling water and cook until the skins begin to peel off, 10 to 40 seconds.

Transfer tomatoes to the bowl of ice water and allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin off each tomato.

Cut each tomato in half crosswise and remove and discard the seeds; finely dice the flesh.

**Chiffonade is a French cutting technique where you stack the leaves of kale or other leafy green, roll them and with a sharp knife thinly slice the leaves. Separate the leaves and add them to the pot of peas.

Recipe by Kevin Mitchell. Photo by Paul Gandy.