Moroccan Black-Eyed Peas (Cowpeas) Recipe - Ful Gnaoua

Black Eyed Peas. Photo © Christine Benlafquih
  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Ratings (12)

The standard Moroccan treatment for dried legumes such as lentils and white beans is applied to the black-eyed pea recipe here. After soaking, the beans are stewed with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and Moroccan spices. The resulting dish is saucy, zesty, and surprisingly delicious to even those who don't normally enjoy beans.

In Morocco, black-eyed peas or cowpeas are called ful gnaoua (gnawa), a name which literally translates to "Guinea bean." Remember to allow time for soaking the dried black eyed peas in cold water overnight. Or, you can give them a quick soak by dropping them in boiling water for a minute or two, then soaking off the heat for 1 hour.

Once soaked, the stewed beans are quite easy to prepare and can be offered as a side or vegetarian main dish. Although you can use a spoon, in Morocco it's also quite normal to eat beans by hand, using Moroccan bread instead of a utensil to scoop up the beans and sop up every last bit of the flavorful sauce.

Cooking time is for a pressure cooker. Allow double this time if preparing the beans in a conventional pot.

Also try Moroccan Khlea and Black-Eyed Peas.

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 cups (250 g) dried black-eyed peas (cowpeas), soaked
  • 2 tomatoes, grated
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

How to Make It

1. Drain the soaked black-eyed peas, then mix them with the remaining ingredients in a pressure cooker or pot. Add 3 1/2 to 4 cups of water and bring to a simmer.

2. Continue using one of the methods below:

  • Pressure cooker method. Cover tightly and cook with pressure over medium heat for about 35 minutes. Check to see if the black-eyed peas are tender. If not, add a little water if necessary and cook for another 5 minutes with pressure. Once the beans are cooked to your liking, reduce the liquids so that the beans are quite saucy, but not watery. Adjust the seasoning if desired, and serve.
  • Conventional pot method. Cover and simmer the black eyed peas over medium heat for an hour or longer, until the beans are tender and sitting in a reduced, but ample rich sauce. Check the water level occasionally during the cooking, adding a little more if necessary. Adjust the seasoning if desired, and serve.