Bharazi (Pigeon Peas in Coconut Cream) Recipe

Bharazi is a dish of pigeon peas simmered in coconut milk, typically served for breakfast along with mandazi, or sweet coconut donuts.

Photograph: Jillian Atkinson

Why It Works

  • This coconut-laced stew can be made with either dried or canned pigeon peas.

This dish is easy to make and is especially delicious with mandazi, or sweet coconut donuts. When the Nimji family lived in Africa, vegetable peddlers went door to door to sell their freshly shelled pigeon peas. Noorbanu would buy them and make bharazi and mandazi for the family’s breakfast, which is when they were traditionally eaten.

Recipe by Noorbanu Nimji, from A Spicy Touch, copyright © 2020 by Noorbanu Nimji and Karen Anderson. Reprinted with permission of TouchWood Editions.

February 2021

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 to 40 mins
Total: 40 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 1 cup dry pigeon peas or 1 (19-ounce; 540ml) can pigeon peas (use black pigeon peas)

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil

  • 1 tablespoon finely cut onion

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped tomato (1 small)

  • 1 (13-ounce; 394ml) can coconut milk or cream

  • 1/4 teaspoon Indian chile powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric, optional

  • 1 whole chile, slit down the sides (jalapeño or serrano)

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic paste (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon green chile paste and/or sambal oelek, or to taste

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon finely cut coriander leaves


  1. Soak the dry pigeon peas in water overnight then rinse in several changes of water, drain, then add 2 cups of fresh water and the peas to a saucepan and boil on high until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion until light gold, then add the tomatoes and cook till soft and mushy.

  3. Stir in the coconut milk or cream, chilli powder, turmeric (if using), whole chilli, garlic and chilli paste, and lemon juice together and cook on medium-high heat till it comes to a boil.

  4. Stir in the cooked (or canned) pigeon peas, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.

  5. Add the coriander leaves and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.

  6. Enjoy with Mandazi for an amazing breakfast treat or as a vegetarian meal with coconut rice.


If you remember to soak dried pigeon peas overnight, the recipe will come together quickly, or you can keep canned pigeon peas on hand. Though the dish will cost a little more to make, it's still very inexpensive.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
302 Calories
24g Fat
20g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 302
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 19g 93%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 41mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 27mg 136%
Calcium 56mg 4%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 770mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)