As a food enthusiast, you have likely heard about pigeon peas and green peas used in different dishes. If you haven’t used either, it is easy to mistake the two or wonder if one can replace the other. After all, they’re both peas, right?
There is quite a bit of confusion regarding the world or peas, so we will be answering some questions you might have thought about. We will also shed some light on some terms you may have come across, like gandules, green split peas, and green pigeon peas.
Pigeon peas are small, round vegetables that are grown in a pod. Pigeon peas are legumes. They can be dried, soaked, and sometimes cooked alone.
You can combine pigeon peas with other vegetables like green peas. They are often used to make many complex recipes. Pigeon peas take slightly longer to cook than green peas and even longer when dried.
While pigeon peas do not necessarily have a great taste when eaten alone, they are known for harboring many nutritional benefits. Pigeon peas are also quite versatile and can be used for many dishes.
There is an abundance of recipes you can make with pigeon peas across different cuisines. You can cook pigeon peas with rice, as part of fried rice, as a side dish, or even as a stew or soup.
Pigeon peas are popular in many cuisines like Indian, Caribbean, and African dishes, either as a main ingredient or side dish. If you are looking to add them to your diet, consider making any of these meals:
- Jamaican fried rice with pigeon peas.
- There is the Caribbean stewed chicken recipe that includes pigeon peas.
- You will love the Dominican coconut rice with pigeon peas, cilantro, garlic, and other ingredients.
- Or if you are looking for something simple, pigeon peas soup.
If you haven’t tasted pigeon peas before, you will find that they have a nutty flavor and crisp texture. Pigeon peas are often dried and can be much more firm than other peas.
They are great as a side dish and could be used as a substitute for black-eyed peas, yellow-eyes peas, baby lima beans, or lentils in many recipes.
Green peas are also known as garden peas. They share similarities with pigeon peas as they are all legumes and have similar shapes.
While garden peas are also small, circular, and come from pods, they taste totally different. These peas are pretty starchy and are renowned in cuisines worldwide. You have most likely even used them cooking at some point!
We often combine green peas with other vegetables when cooking, and our personal favorite is adding them to pasta stir-frys.
Green peas are known for their countless nutritional benefits. They are rich in fiber, protein, and a host of other nutrients. It is always a brilliant idea to add green peas to your diet.
Wondering how you can add a dash of green peas to your next meal? Consider trying out some of these recipes:
- You can make tasty wheat or rice pilaf by adding green peas to cooked rice or barley.
- Who doesn’t love a great stir-fry? Combine green peas and a couple of your favorite vegetables to make a stir-fry that you could serve with some rice or pasta.
- If you would like to reduce some of the fat content in your guacamole, you could replace half of the avocado with some mashed green peas.
- Shake up your chicken, tuna, or veggie salad by adding some green peas to the mix.
Green peas are sweet and can be eaten raw or cooked. Be careful not to leave them out for too long, though, as they tend to get bland and starchy with time.
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Pigeon peas and green peas are not the same, even though they can sometimes be served in the same way when cooking. They might have the same shape and size, but they are different in composition, nutritional content, and taste.
Pigeon peas are also known as gandules and are different from green split peas. Although there are similarities in shape and structure in the pea family, green split peas are made by removing the skin from green peas and allowing the split to occur naturally.
After the natural split occurs, it could be widened manually or mechanically.
There are different types of split peas, each made from separate peas. Split pigeon peas are more commonly referred to as Toor Dal, and they are quite different from green split peas, yellow split peas, and regular pigeon peas.
Each type of pea is prepared differently. Each one has different compositions and can be used differently as well.
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If the pigeon peas are dried, they would definitely need to be soaked before cooking. You may need to soak dried pigeon peas before cooking for two to six hours. After you have soaked the peas, you might also need to cook them for an hour or two.
If you opt not to soak your pigeon peas before cooking, you could decide to go ahead and cook for about two hours. But they would not be as soft as soaked peas.
Another thing about dried pigeon peas is that even after soaking them and cooking for hours, they would likely not be as soft as other peas. That’s their nature! With all this talk about peas, you might be excited to try them out. Luckily, there are a ton of recipes at your fingertips. Peas are so versatile. Regardless of where you’re from, they could probably find a place in your cuisine. It’s one of the reasons why we love them so much.
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I write about the intersection between evolutionary biology and food. I also talk about practical applications, sustainable agriculture, and general tasty things