Dinner Tonight: Senegalese Rice and Peas

Dinner Tonight

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Dinner Tonight: Senegalese Rice and Peas
  • Yield:4
  • Active time:20
  • Total time:60

[Photo: Blake Royer]

I don't have much experience cooking black-eyed peas, but I'm sort of addicted after this recipe: they're cheap and storable like dried beans, but ready to eat in a fraction of the time. The only hassle is peeling off their skins, but a trick in this recipe from Yolele! Recipes from the Heart of Senegal made it easy: after soaking, a couple pulses in the food processor separated the skins, which will then float to the top in a bowl of water.

But back to the recipe: it's humble food, but delicious. Though I substituted regular long-grain rice for the Senegalese red variety, and couldn't find palm oil, which also apparently gives this dish a vibrant red color, I still liked the result. The pungent flavor comes from a puree of onion, habanero, and fish sauce—only recommended for those who don't mind the taste of fish sauce, but I found it unexpectedly delicious. Another version of rice and beans to the repertoire.


  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 cup Djola red rice, or subsitute long grain rice
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 habanero pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup red palm oil or canola oil


  1. 1.

    In a large bowl, cover peas with warm water and let stand twenty minutes, then drain. Place the soaked peas in a food processor and pulse a few times, just enough to loosen the skins. Cover with cold water and the skins should float to the top. Pour them away and discard.

  2. 2.

    Transfer peas to large saucepan and cover with 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil then simmer until tender, about 30 minutes.

  3. 3.

    Add rice to the pot and continue simmering, covered, for 15 minutes.

  4. 4.

    In the meantime, combine the onion, pepper, and fish sauce in a blender and blend into a puree. Stir mixture into the pot and simmer until the rice is tender, adding more water if necessary. Stir in the oil and serve.

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