Every Trinidadian knows that on "Ole Year's Night" better known as "New Year's Eve" everywhere else must be ushered in with a plate of 'black-eyed peas peleau'.
In order to ensure that good luck follows the individual for the rest of the year the first food has to be black eye peas and this is not a tradition for Trinidad and Tobago but one that has been around for a very long time around the World. However, in Trinidad and Tobago it is done in traditional peleau style. Having said that my personal delight for this pea is to enjoy it fried. Yes boil it until soft then fry it... "Dat is the dam ting self!".
The following was taken from an article in Newsday dated December 31, 2008:
"Tonight, thousands throughout the country will be getting ready to ring in the new year . In the traditional way. If you are planning on visiting friends and family, it is likely you will be offered black-eyed peas in some form, either just after midnight or on New Year’s Day.
Here is how to prepare it:
Trinidadian Black-Eyed Peas
1 1/2 cups black eyed peas
four cups parboiled rice
meat of choice
chopped spanish thyme
two tablespoons sugar
chopped bhandhanya (chadon beni)
1 carrot, diced
1 cup diced pumpkin
three cloves of garlic
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp salt (optional)
two tablespoons cooking margarine
pinch of black pepper
If using dried peas, soak the peas overnight in three cups of water. Drain. Bring three fresh cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and add the peas. Cook until tender and drain and set aside. If using canned beans, drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside. Heat the oil in a heavy, deep pot. Add the sugar and swirl in the pot; allow it to caramelize to a dark brown color. Add scalded pig tail, ham bone or your choice of meat and stir well to coat. Lower the heat to medium and add seasonings. Cook for one to two minutes, stirring constantly.
Add rice and water and stir pot to integrate all contents until pot starts to boil again.
Maintain moderate to low heat so that the pot continues cooking. Add coconut milk and stir periodically to ensure even mix and cooking of rice.
Add 1/4 cups of hot water as necessary until rice is cooked and grainy (Basically as the rice slowly swells the water level will drop). On low heat allow pot to continue to simmer until moisture disappears.