• Image

    Pigeon peas

    The pigeon pea, also called the Congo or Gunga pea, is a widely grown legume with a variety of uses. It is considered an environmentally beneficial plant as it can enrich soil. Although it can grow in any warm climate, the pigeon pea is particularly popular throughout tropical regions. Experts believe that varieties of the pigeon pea have been cultivated for at least three thousand years in Asia and India. The flavor of pigeon peas is often described as nutty, like a rich grain. In India, they are blended with lentils to make daal, a popular soup-like curry. They are known throughout the West Indies in combination with rice or other grains, and usually served highly spiced. African cuisines often prepare pigeon peas with a coconut broth, often using hot peppers to add a strong bite to the dish. Some traditional Indian and Asian medicine practices believe pigeon peas to have medicinal value. They are used to treat stomach problems, or even cancer. Traditional medicine practitioners believe they can quell swelling of the internal organs. Other than their many culinary uses, the pigeon pea can serve several other functions. Their low, shrubby appearance makes them an excellent low hedge or windbreak. They are extremely beneficial when planted near young fruit trees or other plants in need of nitrogen, as they enrich the soil with it. In some places, the stems of the plant are used to make thatch or fencing materials. They also make excellent fodder for livestock such as chickens.