Black-eyed bean soup (Trinidad)

Trinidad is the larger of the two main islands that form the Trinidad and Tobago, located just a few kilometers off the coast of Venezuela. The name, given by Columbus, means “trinity” in Spanish. It used to be a British colony until gaining independence in 1962. Only about 60,000 of its about one million inhabitants live in the main city of San Fernando. Trinidad is an important producer of oil and natural gas.

The cuisine of the islands features influences from all over the world – China, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, but especially India. One of the most popular main dishes is curry chicken with roti (a type of unleavened bread originating from Asia). Macaroni pie is also popular. Not surprisingly seafood is also eaten a lot. Popular ingredients include e.g. coconut, cassava, sweet potatoes, okra, rice, beans, pumpkin, plantains, eggplant, potatoes and a wide variety of exotic fruit. Food is often spicy, featuring curry spices, allspice and thyme..

Considering its small size, Trinidadian recipes can be found in surprisingly many places, including at least one cookbook I own. This recipe comes from IVU, and sounded tasty, though for some reason the result wasn’t as flavourful as I was hoping for. (Note that Scotch bonnet peppers are fiery, as is cayenne, so if you’re not big on heat or just want to be able to discern other flavours, you might want to use milder chili.) I don’t have brown rice, so I used quinoa.

The picture probably ended up being the worst Vegventures photo ever, sorry about that (I’m quite embarrassed). It didn’t help that I wasn’t able to get chives when I took it.

Black-eyed bean soup

Trinidadian black-eyed bean soup

2 tbsp oil
1 green bell pepper
1 medium onion
2 medium carrots
4 tbsp finely chopped cilantro (fresh coriander)
10 oz/300 g black-eyed beans
6 cups/1.4 l vegetable stock
4 tbsp brown rice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp mustard powder mixed with 1 tbsp hot water
1/4 Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped (or 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne)
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
lime or lemon wedge

Cut all the vegetables into 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) dice. Fry them in the oil for about three minutes, until the onion is translucent and starts to brown at the edges. Add all the other ingredients except for the chives and the lime/lemon and mix. Bring to boil and simmer on low heat for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve hot, garnished with the chives and the lime/lemon. Makes 4-6 portions.

One Response to “Black-eyed bean soup (Trinidad)”

  1. 1

    I like this combination of ingredients and it looks like a good possibility for my Soup Project where I feature a vegetarian soup every Monday. 52 weeks of vegetarian soups (the only dairy I only allow is a bit for end garnish.) I love black eyed peas can’t wait to try this and see how I might tweak it. (I suspect adding corn and grilled red peppers.)

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