Food Friday: Dill Rice with Cowpeas

© Goltune. 2016. Azadeh Torabi

Main point: Dill, rice and cowpeas are excellent combination for a hearty delicious food. Here is how and why. Noosh-e jān!

Legumes are good sources of fiber and protein. They deliver essential macronutrients to our body. However, they often get neglected for the reason of causing digestion discomfort. You don’t have to limit your good nutrient intake for that matter. While some beans require overnight soaking, peas and lentils have the reputation to be easier on digestive system. Need more reason to fall back in love with legumes? They are super cheap, have long shelf life, are accessible all year and everywhere. They also keep you full for long and are great for weaning from poultry and meat.

The Black eyed pea is a typical legume making appearance in various dishes accompanied with rice, or to be used in thick winter soups. However, I recently discovered a lesser known variety of peas when browsing through an ethnic grocery store. This type is called Cow Peas or Field Peas which is smaller in shape and has tannish color. And surprisingly enough, it turned out to be tastier compared to black eyed peas. So I decided to enliven a dish most popularly prepared in the city of Shiraz by replacing the black eyed peas in the recipe for the Cow peas. And voila! It sure wowed my guests.

Prep time: 10 min.

Cooking Time: 30 min.

Ready in: 40 min.

Level: Easy

Serves: 4-6


Dill Rice with Peas


2 cups Basmati rice

1 ½ cup Cow peas, sorted for debris

2 ½ tablespoon salt, divided

2 bunches fresh dill, washed and chopped

3 tablespoon canola oil



1- Wash the Cow peas under cold water. Fill the pot with 4-5 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Then turn the heat down to medium and allow the peas to cook for 20-25 minutes or until the peas feel tender to touch but not too tender that can be crushed easily. Remove the dark foam that appears on the surface while the water is boiling occasionally. Toward the end, add ½ tablespoon salt. Then transfer to a colander. Rinse with cold water. Set aside.

2- While the Cow peas are cooking, prepare the rice. Wash the Basmati rice under lukewarm water. Drain the water. Repeat rinse and drain (4-5 times) until the water runs clear. This will help to wash away the excess starch and further prevent the rice from stickiness. Fill the pot with 6-7 cups of cold water (or twice as much the amount of rice). Add about 2 tablespoons of salt to water. Bring to a boil. When the rice grains have doubled in size, it is time to transfer the rice to a colander. Quickly rinse with cold water.

3- Mix the rice, Cow peas and chopped dill. Heat the canola oil in a non-stick pot. Add the rice mixture in layers. Break any crumbled rice, making sure the ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour ¼ cup of water over the rice. Close the lid and let the rice steam over medium high heat for 5 minutes.

4- As the steam rises and water droplets form on the inner lid, lower the heat. Cover the lid in two sheets of paper towel or a kitchen cloth. This is to avoid drips getting into the rice and making the grains become overcooked. A sprinkle of cinnamon powder over rice adds to its aroma and aids with digestion. To give the rice a rich shiny look, add a few slices of butter or drizzle a spoonful of sesame oil on top of it. Give it a quick stir before transferring to a serving dish.

The delicious Cow pea dill rice is most commonly served with stewed lamb shank slow cooked to perfection. However, it can be served with mini-meatballs, braised turkey leg, or even rotisserie chicken. Shirazi cucumber salad and yogurt side dishes such as tzatziki pair well with this dish. Noosh-e jān!