Jamaican Gungo Pea Soup Recipe

Jamaican Gungo Pea Soup is one of my favourite soups and a close second to my favourite Red Pea Soup. The two soups essentially have the same ingredients with the main difference being the flavour of the beans. For those unfamiliar with gungo peas they are also called pigeon peas. If you can’t find either, black-eyed peas can work as a substitute.

Traditional Jamaican soups like Gungo Pea Soup are thick and hearty, and filled with large pieces of vegetables and dumplings. Whether it’s Chicken Pumpkin, Corn or Pepperpot, our soups are a meal! And in my time Saturday was soup day … definitely my favourite day of the week. 
Note: if you are unable to find tropical sweet potatoes do not substitute orange sweet potatoes, which do not cook in the same way. Instead just omit them from the recipe. 


1 1/2 cups Dry Gungo Peas (pigeon peas)
8-10 cups Water, approx.
1  lb Stewing beef
1 1/2 lb Salted Pig’s Tail or ham hock (optional)
1 large piece Yellow yam
1  large Tropical Sweet Potato
1 medium onion, chopped or 3 Stalks green onion, chopped
1 tsp Dried thyme or 3 stalks  Fresh Thyme
1 tsp Pimento seeds (optional)
1 tsp Hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp Black pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup flour
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
Mix together to make stiff dough

Overnight prep

1. Place dry gungo peas in large soup pot on stove, cover with water and soak overnight
2. If using, place pig tails in bowl, cover with water and soak overnight in fridge to remove excess salt


1. To remove more excess salt, put soaked pig tails in a pot, cover with fresh water and bring to a boil. Repeat this step two more times.

2. Place stewing beef in pot with gungo peas and add enough water to cover the two ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for about 1 hour, or until peas and beef are cooked. Note: the beef will likely be cooked before the peas, so remove when tender.

3. At the same time, in a separate pot cover pig tails with water, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer until tender, about 1 hour.

Note: In both pots, as water evaporates when cooking, add boiling water to cover ingredients.

4. When all the ingredients are tender add pig tails (with liquid) to pot with peas and beef and continue simmering.

5. Peel and cut yam and tropical sweet potato into large serving pieces; add to boiling soup. Add boiling water to pot to semi cover yams and potatoes.

6. Make small dumplings (see above) and add to boiling pot of soup.

7. Add onion, thyme, pimento, hot pepper sauce and black pepper to soup pot and simmer until yams and potatoes are tender and soup has thickened.

8. Taste soup for flavour and add salt or pepper, if needed.

Note: This soup should be moderately thick, but if it is too thick add some boiling water.

Serves 6

gungo pea souppig's tailpigeon peassoup
Comments (7)
Add Comment
  • Maxine

    Any reason why you don’t use a pressure cooker for long cooking foods?

    • Fay & Angela

      Hi Maxine,
      Thank you for your question and patience. I used to use my pressure cooker a lot when I was working and was pressed for time. However, I didn’t find that the meats cooked quite the same. Now that I am retired and have time I prefer to slow cook. However pressure cookers may have come a long way since the days I used mine. It may be time to test one out again. Blessings, Fay

  • Monique

    Hi Just wanted to say I tried the oxtail recipe this Sat Thanksgiving and it was hit! I’ve also tried the pumpkin squash soup and yum.

  • Debrs

    The gungo peas after soaking overnight, do you use fresh water when cooking the next day?

    • Fay & Angela

      Hi Debrs,
      No, you soak the peas in the same pot you use to make the soup. Just add the other ingredients as instructed. Fay

  • Gloria

    I simply love your recipes.I follow them to a T.The food comes out amazing. Thank you for sharing all of your wisdom.

  • Rachel

    Love to learn to cook all these foods do u do a book pld