Guandules guisados is one of the jewels of our traditional cuisine, a creamy, rich, smoky pigeon peas stew that is served over steaming white rice. Guandules con coco, a Samana version, is made even better with the addition of coconut. Try it and you'll agree with me.
Why we ❤️ it
This guandules con coco recipe (pigeon peas with coconut) is one of our favorites, one guaranteed to delight your guests with the most amazing dish from Samaná.
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.
A reader's suggestion: "If I had to choose a favorite meal, it would definitely be guandules con coco, Arroz blanco (white rice), Res guisada (beef stew), and Ensalada verde (green salad.)". I concur, palomabakesrd.
Guandules and guandules con coco
No pigeon peas? Tough luck, as there is no substitute for its smoky flavor. If you absolutely must do without it I have found mung beans to be the closest in flavor and texture.
There is no comparison between fresh guandules and dry or canned, so if you're lucky enough to be able to find freshly-shelled guandules, always pick that option.
If for some reason you do not want to add coconut, add an equivalent amount of vegetable broth. You can also add water and extra seasonings to amp the flavors a bit.
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.
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!
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[Recipe + Video] Guandules con Coco (Pigeon Peas with Coconut)
- 3 cups raw guandules (pigeon peas), or 4 cups canned, or 3 cups dry
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil, (soy, corn or peanut)
- 1 small red onion, cut into quarters
- ¼ teaspoon oregano (dry, ground)
- 2 clove garlic, mashed
- 2 ají gustoso, (cachuchas, ají dulce, ajicitos) crushed (optional)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, (or 1 tsp. dry leaves)
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 3 cups water, (aprox.)
- 2 cups diced auyama (kabocha squash), or kabocha squash
- 3 sprigs parsley, (or cilantro) minced
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
For dry guandules
- Soak the guandules in water overnight, or at least a couple of hours.
- 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
- 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 verdes guisados
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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 and simmer for another two minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and serve per suggestions above.
Tips and Notes
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutritional information.
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.
Yes, canned pigeon peas (guandules / gandules) are already cooked by boiling them in salted water.
Gandules / guandules are called "pigeon peas" in American English.
Published Dec 20, 2001, revised