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Gungo Peas and Rice Recipe

gungo rice and peas

Jamaican Christmas Day food: The gungo pea or pigeon pea is popular this time of year and upstages red peas or red kidney beans in the rice and peas. Jamaican Christmas dinner would not be the same without the gungo rice and peas.

Gungo peas  and rice with curried goat is the traditional Christmas dinner in Jamaica.

You can use the green gungo or the dried ones; the result will be the same. However, the nutritional value will be different. You can use the canned gungo, which is not bad, just remember not to add salt to your pot if you use the saline water in which it is preserved.

green gungo peas



2 lbs. green gungo (shelled, discard the ones with worms, washed )

1 cup  grated coconut milk

1 stalk scallion, roughly chopped

Piece of fresh green thyme

1 whole green pepper

Piece of ginger (optional)

6 pimento seeds (optional)

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp. butter or margarine

2 lbs. rice, (Basmati is a good choice)

4 cups water (or less)

Salt to taste



Pour 2 cups of water In a large cast-iron pot (the best type of pot to cook the prefect rice) add the gungo peas, garlic, pimento and ginger. Put the pot on high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup water, to sink the gungo (because it will rinse to the top). Boil peas until partially tender.


Add the scallion, thyme and whole hot pepper, continue cooking until gungo is soft (gungo takes about 20 minutes to fully cooked).


By then, the water should be reduce to about 1 cup. Lower the heat,  add the coconut milk, and salt.  Simmer for 2 minutes to absorb the flavours from the scallion, thyme, and hot pepper.

step 4

Turn up the heat to high. Add the rice and butter or margarine, stir to allow the rice and gungo peas to be evenly distributed. Cover the pot and cook the rice.


When the water dried out of the rice, lower the heat to the lowest. If the rice grains are not properly cooked, sprinkle a tiny amount of water on the rice and continue cooking rice until properly cooked. Remove from heat


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