Pigeon Peas Festival
Pigeon Peas pastries.

Interesting items at ‘Covigne’ Pigeon Peas Festival

Over the years, Covigne Road, Diego Martin, Trinidad has gained a negative reputation for being a hub for illegal activity. The Covigne Road Pigeon Peas Festival, usually held three Saturdays before Carnival, brings light to the area in 2019 with its culinary culture showcasing several delicacies made with pigeon peas such as pigeon peas cupcakes and muffins, pigeon peas wine, pigeon peas soap and even pigeon peas ice-cream. This year, the festival marked the fifth incarnation of the event hosted by the Upper Cemetery Street Residents Association or UCSRA.

How the festival came about

The hills of Diego Martin has always been known for agricultural activity. The farmers of Covigne and environs were famous for their pigeon peas which was second to the Tobago pigeon peas. With limited prospects for young residents of the area and the ability to grow what could be considered the national pea, UCSRA came up with the idea for the Pigeon Peas Festival.

Pigeon Peas is a popular daily staple in Trinidad and Tobago cooked in pelau, stewed or with coconut milk. It is the food of choice for beach and river limes, excursions and a popular street food during the festive Carnival season.

Principles of the Pigeon Peas Festival

There are four main tenants of the Pigeon Peas Festival:

  • To highlight the versatility of the Pigeon Peas as a product and a driver of business activity in the community.
  • To enhance the capacity and ability of the community to develop and sustain projects from within.
  • To create positive niches for members of the community to use their creative skills and talents.
  • To positively challenge the perception by others that Covigne is restricted to the label of being a “hot spot” for crime.

Products at the Pigeon Peas Festival

Here is a list of products found at the Pigeon Peas Festival. These are made either entirely of Pigeon Peas or have the legume incorporated into the recipe for surprisingly delicious results.

Pigeon Peas Wine

Pigeon Peas Punch de Creme

Pigeon Peas Fudge

Baked Carailli Skins with Cheese and Pigeon Peas

Baked Potato Stuffed with Pigeon Peas

Pigeon Peas Flour

Saltfish Accra made with Pigeon Peas Flour

Pigeon Peas Fruit Cake with Rum Soaked Pigeon Peas

Pigeon Peas Sweet Bread

Pigeon Peas Pholourie

Pigeon Peas Cupcakes and Muffins

Pigeon Peas Plait Bread

Pigeon Peas Soaps

Pigeon Peas Pelau Recipe

Pigeon Peas Pelau and coleslaw
Pigeon Peas Pelau with coleslaw.
Photo courtesy Wendy-Ann Alexander

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Pigeon Peas (green or dried)
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb seasoned meat of your choice cubed small (or soya chunks)
  • 1 cup pumpkin diced
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper (optional)

Method:

  • Place a pot on a medium heat then add the oil, after the oil becomes hot add the sugar. Wait for mixture to become caramelised. This should take 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the meat of choice and mix until all the pieces are fully coated.
  • Reduce flame, cover and allow to cook on low heat for 15 to 30 minutes or until meat or soya is tender.
  • Place onion, garlic, rice and mix well and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add Pigeon Peas or any other vegetables you like and combine.
  • Add coconut milk, salt, black pepper and scotch bonnet pepper.
  • Stir well, cover and cook until the rice is tender about 20-25 minutes.
  • Serve hot and enjoy with a side of coleslaw.

Pigeon Peas Festival 2019 photos

You may also like:

Pepper sauce for flavour and good health

Avocado and mango salsa for lunch

Green Banana Casserole for lunch

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