Dinner Tonight: Senegalese Rice and Peas

[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.

Dinner Tonight: Senegalese Rice and Peas

About This Recipe

Active time:20
Total time:60


  • 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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