You may know them as pigeon peas, but in Jamaica they’re called Gungo Peas. This small, round legume is grown in a pod and has a delicious nutty flavor. They can be found in warmer climates such as the Caribbean, Africa, India, Asia and Latin America. Other names? Goongoo pea, gunga pea, congo pea, congo bean, no-eyed pea, gandule.
If you can’t find gungo peas/pigeon peas where you live, black-eyed peas are a good substitute.
They’re mainly used to make two traditional Jamaican recipes – Gungo Pea Soup and Gungo Peas and Rice – and are usually sold dried or canned. Just like kidney beans (which Jamaicans call red peas) gungo peas are cooked and treated like a bean. If using dry peas you’ll need to soak them before cooking with them. But the canned peas can be added directly to a recipe. Today you can even find gungo peas canned with coconut milk and ready to use to make these dishes.
Product Review Video: Gungo Peas in Coconut Milk