Coconut Curried Peas

On our first day back from holiday, we spent the morning in our allotment. Although there were plenty of weeds, we were thrilled to see that our veggies had also thrived. Along with another load of rhubarb, and an accidentally picked onion (initially mistaken for a weed, he said), we found the most peas we’ve ever had (maybe three pounds), possibly more than all our previous pea crops added together. (I think we’ve finally found the right spot for them. Nothing to do with benign neglect. Or three inches of rain in three weeks.)

It’s surprisingly hard to eat many vegetables when travelling with extended family and eating out all the time, so I was keen to have a massive veg-based lunch. This was just as well, since neither of us had been out to a grocery store yet when it was time to eat. So, I had a rummage through the kitchen to see what might be added to all those peas. In addition to  an open box of some kind of coconut that must have been left behind by my Spanish sister-in-law (they used the house while we were away, and there was no English on the box) and some tired whole almonds from my mother-in-law (after Christmas I think), I found the remains of a packet of spicy wasabi peas that we’d bought for party nibbles some while ago (can’t imagine why they weren’t all gobbled up at the time).

An idea was beginning to form: an ultra-mild but rich vegetable curry. So I put on a pan of rice and started playing. Here’s what I did:

Serves 2


 3 oz Dried coconut from the block in the box
1/2 cup Hot water
1/3 cup Dried wasabi peas
1/2 teaspoon Fresh ginger root (it was in the fridge!), minced
1/4 teaspoon Ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon Ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ground coriander
1 stick Rhubarb
1 Small onion
2 cups Sliced snow peas (mange tout)
Handful Whole almonds
1 teaspoon Vegetable oil


  1. In medium bowl, rehydrate coconut with the hot water.
    Picture of block of dried coconut

    This is how it looked out of the packaging.

    A potato masher did a good job with this, and was handy for stirring occasionally throughout preparation. The packet said to sieve thoroughly, but I didn’t find anything that might need sieving out,  so I didn’t bother. The mixture was quite thick. You could use more water to get a milkier texture (suggested as an option on the box), but ultimately, I wanted a sauce.

  2. Add dried wasabi peas as soon as possible so they can soak.
    Picture of 1/3 cup of wasabi peas

    Use more if you want a hotter curry.

    I wanted to let all that hot mustardy flavour blend with the potentially sickly sweet coconut, and to absorb some of the liquid, too.

  3. Stir in ginger and remaining spices. You could use pre-packaged Korma spice instead if you have it (that was what I was aiming for, but didn’t check any reference books). I wanted something mild but flavourful. This turned out to be VERY mild; hubby said he would still have been happy if I’d made it spicier.
  4. Slice rhubarb into thin slices (discarding any strings that come away), and set aside. It looks a bit like sliced celery, and I expected it to act like celery in the curry. It did.

    Picture of 1/2 cup sliced rhubarb

    When I make this again, I’ll use twice as much rhubarb. It gave a lovely bright note to the mix.

  5. Slice onion vertically, to make pretty slices. Set aside.Picture of vertically sliced onion
  6. Slice peas longways, such that any formed peas in the pod may be cut into, and to reduce the chances of any tough fibres not cooking enough in the short time in the pan.Picture of peas sliced lengthways
  7. Bash the almonds a bit in a mortar and pestle to begin releasing their oil. You can use more than this; peas and almonds go brilliantly together.Picture of broken up almonds in bowl
  8. Heat oil in medium sized non-stick frying pan; lightly saute onion until it just begins to go translucent.
  9. Add snow peas and almonds. Stir and saute until you begin to smell the nuts.
  10. Add rhubarb and coconut sauce. Mix well. There won’t seem to be any liquid leftover. Add some if this worries you. I didn’t.

    Picture of all ingredients in the pan.

    Everything’s in the pan!

  11. Cover; reduce heat to low (because there’s no excess liquid). Allow to cook for 10 minutes.
  12. Check for doneness; cook a few more minutes if needed (mine was done!).
  13. Serve with rice. Garnish with fresh herbs or small whole raw peas (or both).Picture of coconut curry peas on rice
  14. Later, make a pie with some of that extra rhubarb. 🙂

I'm an American living in the UK, combining rural Mid-west ideas about food with a suburban coastal British reality. It's fun!

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Posted in Leftovers, Recipes, Summer

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Sharing a lifetime of experience of kitchen challenges. Respecting food and making the most of what's available. Read more on my About page.
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March 2015
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