This Guandules con Coco Recipe (Pigeon Peas with Coconut) is one of our favorite recipes, one guaranteed to delight your guests with the most amazing dish from Samaná.
Guandules guisados is one of the jewels of Dominican cuisine. A creamy, rich, smoky pigeon peas stew that is served over rice. Guandules con coco, a Samana version, is made all the better with the addition of coconut to it.
Coconut in Dominican food
Coconuts grow in abundance practically everywhere in the Dominican Republic, but when you approach the Samaná peninsula the landscape becomes a riot of coconut palms. Not surprisingly, coconut and its derivatives have become an integral part of Dominican cuisine.
Coconut can be used as an ingredient in desserts, added to savory dishes, or we can enjoy as refreshing agua de coco.
Coconut milk/creamed coconut is the ingredient used in most savory dishes. It is available in cans, but do make sure you buy the unsweetened version for savory dishes. The sweetened one is good for drinks like Piña colada.
Check all our recipes made with coconut.
About this recipe
As is customary, we remind you that different families make things in different ways. Furthermore, since this is a dish that the rest of the country adopted from its native Samaná, further changes have been made by every cook.
The winning combination of coconut and guandules is further enhanced by the addition of auyama, which provides a very subtle sweetness to the dish, adds lovely color, and makes it quite creamy. Friends don't let friends eat guandules aguados.
In the recipe we give you directions to make it with fresh guandules (as in the video), canned, and dry.
What are your secrets to winning guandules guisados? Share it in the comments!
Guandules con Coco Recipe (Pigeon Peas with Coconut)
- 3 cups of fresh green pigeon peas or 4 cups canned, or 3 cups dry
- 2 tablespoon of oil (soy, corn or peanut)
- 1 small onion cut into quarters
- A pinch of oregano
- 2 cloves of garlic mashed
- 2 ajíes gustosos (cachuchas, ají dulce, ajicitos) crushed (optional)
- 4 thyme sprigs (or 1 tsp. dry leaves)
- 2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk
- 3 cups of water (aprox.)
- 2 cups of diced auyama or kabocha squash
- 3 sprigs of parsley (or cilantro) minced
- 1 teaspoon of salt or to taste
For dry guandules
- Soaking: Soak the guandules in water overnight, or at least a couple of hours.
- Boiling: Discard the water in which the guandules soaked. Combine the guandules with ½ gallon [2 liters] of water. Boil over medium heat until the guandules are soft, and you can crush one if pinched (40 - 60 mins). Add water if it becomes necessary to prevent them from drying and burning.To reduce cooking time, you can boil in a pressure cooker. Combine with 4 cups of water and boil in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes, or until they become soft.Separate the guandules from the water in which it boiled. Set both aside.
For canned guandules
- Draining: If you are watching your sodium intake, discard the water in which they came (it already contains sodium, and I have not accounted for it in the nutritional information). If you don't mind the extra sodium, you can use the liquid later when the recipe calls for water to be added after adding coconut milk.
How to make guandules guisados con coco
- Cooking seasonings: In a pot heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook and stir until it becomes translucent. Add oregano, garlic, ajíes gustosos, and thyme. Cook and stir for a minute.
- Sauteing: Add the pigeon peas. Cook stirring until they are heated through. Change heat to low. Follow the next step only If you are cooking with fresh guandules. Skip the next step if you are using boiled-from-dry or canned guandules.
- Cooking fresh guandules: Cover and let it cook over low heat, stirring often until the guandules are soft when you pinch them (about 35 minutes). There should be no need to add water, but add a couple of tablespoons if it becomes necessary to prevent it from burning.
- Stewing: Add the coconut milk and 3 cups of water (this can be the liquid you reserved from boiling, if you used dry guandules ). Once heated through, mash a bit to crush some of the guandules
- Cooking auyama: Add the auyama and boil over medium heat until it is cooked through and the peas reach a creamy consistency, adding more water as it becomes necessary to maintain the same level. Remove the onion pieces and thyme (if you used fresh sprigs).Season with salt to taste. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.