Cowpeas—also known as southern peas, black-eyed peas, or crowder peas—are one of the most basic ingredients you could work with inside the kitchen. With its origins rooted in West Africa, this legume can now be found widely in a majority of grocery deliveries in Canada.
The best thing about working with cowpeas—aside from easy access almost anywhere—is that they’re incredibly easy to cook and can be prepared in multiple ways. As a legume, it is quite filling, ensuring you don’t get hungry before your next meal. Adding even more to its worth, the fact that it’s plant-based makes it viable for vegan and vegetarian diets as well.
There are multiple methods of utilizing cowpeas; it can be boiled, used in casseroles, pureed, or even used as a soup thickener. Simplicity is key with cowpeas, so cooking them on a stovetop is preferred. While using a multicooker or pressure cooker would reduce cooking time, it’s an added cost in regard to appliance purchasing.
Basic Cowpeas Dish Ingredients
- Salt and/or Pepper for flavour
*Four cups are actually quite a lot, so take note that this is for batch cooking.
When cooking with cowpeas, it is always best to use fresh cowpeas rather than canned. Canned food items, in general, have a ton of sodium and preservatives—ultimately reducing the health benefits of the product in question. For the easiest experience, have a grocery delivery service bring fresh cowpeas right to your door.
Preparation Time: Around 15 minutes + 8 – 12 Hours (Overnight) soaking
Carefully wash your cowpeas before cooking them. Once done, leave it soaking in a container with three times as much water as the number of cups of cowpeas used—in this case, four cups of cowpeas merits twelve cups of water. Leave it in water overnight (for about eight to twelve hours) for the best texture.
Cook Time: 1 Hour and 30 Minutes
- Once overnight soaking is done, drain all the water from the container. Rinse the cowpeas again in order to achieve the best results. This not only reduces the length of the cooking time, but it also allows it to be easier on your stomach once eaten.
- Transfer the rinsed cowpeas into a pot. Fill the pot with water until it reaches an inch and a half over the top layer of your cowpeas.
- Cook the cowpeas over a medium-low flame. This tenderization process is tricky; overcooking can make it too mushy, whereas undercooking it will make it too tough. This will take about an hour and a half to properly cook.
- After the first hour of cooking, start flavouring your beans by adding salt and pepper to taste. Other spices can be added depending on the dish you’re preparing.
The Meal Setting
After it is all prepped and done, you can start partitioning your cooked cowpeas. The finished product can be used for other recipes—waakye, cowpeas curry, and stews, to name a few—or eaten directly with bread or rice. If you plan on saving it for later, then let it cool and freeze it in bags for later consumption.
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