Mbaazi Wa Nazi (Pigeon Peas in Coconut Milk)

Total Time
1hr 5mins
Prep 5 mins
Cook 1 hr

Mbaazi wa Nazi (Pigeon Peas with Coconut) are the Swahili way to prepare this popular tropical pulse. The pigeon pea is evidently native to Africa or Asia. In Egypt, the cultivation of pigeon peas began before 2000 B.C. Today pigeon peas are widely cultivated in all tropical and semi-tropical regions the world over, and are especially popular in India and the Caribbean.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 lb dried pigeon peas (or black-eyed peas, yellow-eyed peas, cowpeas, picked over for stones, cleaned, soaked overnight, an)
  • 2 -3 cups coconut milk
  • oil
  • 1 -2 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (or turmeric)
  • salt, to taste


  1. In a large pot, combine pigeon peas and just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the peas begin to become tender and most of the water is absorbed.
  2. Stir in 1 1/2c coconut milk. Continue to simmer over low heat. Add more water as necessary to prevent the peas from becoming dry.
  3. While peas are simmering: Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Add the curry powder to the oil and stir for a minute. Fry the onion and chile pepper until they are tender.
  4. Combine the peas and onion-chile mixture (add either one to the other). Continue to simmer until peas are tender enough to eat. Add the remaining coconut milk and simmer on the lowest possible heat for five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve "Swahili style" with Chapati (Basic Chapati Recipe #137408), rice, or "up-country style" with Ugali.


Most Helpful

The fresh jalapeno makes this dish! Using a 15 oz can of pigeon peas, I skipped steps #1 and #2. Basically I quartered the recipe, using half a cup of coconut milk and half an onion but based on other reviews used BOTH 1/2 tsp curry powder and 1/2 tsp turmeric for the quarter recipe. Flavorful and colorful!

FLKeysJen October 24, 2008

This was my first time tasting black eyed peas and I think it was a successful and tasty dish. I used freeze dried onion flakes, canned peas and omitted the pepper. I also cooked it in my crock pot. Made for September 2012 Veg 'n Swap tag.

AcadiaTwo September 20, 2012

This was really yummy and my first experience with pigeon peas! I used a can of pigeon peas and didn't have a jalapeno so I used a pinch of cayenne. I also used garam masala instead of curry powder. It was very quick and easy as well as healthy and delish!

Frankie&Johnny August 06, 2010

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