Cowpeas are a type of pulses like beans and lentils cultivated and used as food across Africa, Asia and South America.
While legumes of the beans family have been grouped together and sometimes called cow peas, a distinct crop exists solely so referred to as cow peas.
Note that you can buy cowpeas here at the click of your mouse and have it delivered to your door stress free.
Not much is known about cow peas in the west; not surprising. 70% of the world’s cow peas production comes from Sub Saharan Africa, especially Nigeria.
Cow peas looks like beans, but are smaller, and brown to red in colour, with a great nutty flavour. It could be marble coloured, green or white too. The red and brown varieties are more common. Like other legumes, they are very rich in protein and other nutrients.
This seed crop is also called red chori, and in botanical terms, referred to as Vigna unguiculata. They are called southern peas or black eye peas in North America.
Cow peas feature in many African foods, especially amongst the Hausas and Yoruba’s of Nigeria. They are used in preparing various soups, or boiled and eaten with yam, plantain, cocoyam or garri.
They can be cooked by boiling over stove top it until it becomes soft and tender, and eaten with rice, or as a side meal with nshima or maize meal. Cow peas can also be used in making peas casseroles, purees and cake (cowpeas cake – called akara in southern Nigeria).
Cow peas cook faster than beans. They are used in a number of recipes across Africa, including the South African Samp and Cowpeas dish famously described by Nelson Mandela in his book, Long Walk to Freedom.
How to Cook Cowpeas
To cook cow peas for the best result and less energy, soak it in a bowl or pot over night. Always wash your peas first before cooking. Then add about four part of water to a part of re-soaked cow peas or six parts of water to a part of cow peas to be cooked without pre-soaking and bring to boil for about 60 to 90 minutes. Add water to it and check for softness or tenderness to taste.
Cow pea’s flavour can be improved by adding chillies, garlic, tomatoes and onions.
See our recipe page for a detailed description of cowpeas recipe.
Nutritional Value of Cowpeas
This leguminous seed is made of 25% protein. It is rich also in complex carbohydrate, a group of vitamin B (thiamine – vitamin B1, riboflavin – vitamin b2, niacin – vitamin B3), as well as vitamin C, all necessary for maintaining good health and fighting diseases. It also contains calcium, vitamin A, Phosphorous, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium, folic acid and high in dietary fibre. It is totally Trans fat and cholesterol free.
Like beans, cow peas with rice alone would provide a high nutritious balance diet that can wipe out many malnutrition diseases seen in developing countries. It is cheap and thus easily affordable too.
You can buy cow peas and have it delivered to you anywhere in the UK from our African foods shop here .
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