Split pigeon pea, used in making Daal/Pappu, a daily staple in India
Dal/Pappu and rice, the twice-daily staple meal for most people in India and the Indian subcontinent.
Pigeon peas are both a food crop (dried peas, flour, or green vegetable peas) and a forage/cover crop. In combination with cereals, pigeon peas make a well-balanced meal and hence are favoured by nutritionists as an essential ingredient for balanced diets. The dried peas may be sprouted briefly, then cooked, for a flavor different from the green or dried peas. Sprouting also enhances the digestibility of dried pigeon peas via the reduction of indigestible sugars that would otherwise remain in the cooked dried peas.
In India, split pigeon peas, called tur (तूर) in Marathi, toor dal (तूर दाल) or 'arhar' (अरहर) in Hindi and arehar ki dal in Urdu, kandhi pappu (కంది పప్పు) in Telugu, thuvara parippa in Kerala and thuvaram paruppu in Tamil Nadu, togari bele in Kannada are one of the most popular pulses, being an important source of protein in a mostly vegetarian diet. In regions where it grows, fresh young pods are eaten as a vegetable in dishes such as sambar. Whole pigeon peas are called arhar dal in Hindi. In Ethiopia, not only the pods, but also the young shoots and leaves are cooked and eaten.
Kenyans shelling pigeon peas
In some places, such as the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Dominican Republic, Panama and Hawaii, pigeon peas are grown for canning and consumption. A dish made of rice and green pigeon peas (called moro de guandules) is a traditional food in the Dominican Republic. Pigeon peas are also made as a stew, with plantain balls. In Puerto Rico, arroz con gandules is made with rice and pigeon peas and is a traditional dish, especially during Christmas season. Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada have their own variant, called pelau, which includes either beef or chicken, and occasionally pumpkin and pieces of cured pig tail. In the Atlántico department of Colombia, the sopa de guandú con carne salada (or simply "gandules") is made with pigeon peas.
Unlike in some other parts of the Greater Caribbean, in The Bahamas the light brown colored dried seeds of the pigeon pea plant are used (instead of the fresh green pigeon peas used elsewhere) to make the heartier, heavier, signature Bahamian staple dish "Peas 'n Rice." A slab of partially cubed or diced pork "fatback" lard with skin on (bacon is a common substitute), diced onions and sweet pepper, and a mixture of spices are all sauteed in the bottom of a deep pot. Tomatoes and tomato paste are added. Then water is added along with the peas and rice, and slow boiled until tender. The dish becomes a medium-dark brown color, resulting from absorbing the colors of the browned initial ingredients and the cooked tomato paste. The pigeon peas themselves absorb the same, becoming a much darker brown, providing some contrast while still complementing the distinctive "browned" theme of the dish.
In Thailand, pigeon peas are grown as a host for scale insects which produce lac, the key ingredient in shellac.
Pigeon peas are in some areas an important crop for green manure, providing up to 90 kg nitrogen per hectare.[ The woody stems of pigeon peas can also be used as firewood, fencing and thatch.
It is an important ingredient of animal feed used in West Africa, especially in Nigeria, where it is also grown. Leaves, pods, seeds and the residues of seed processing are used to feed all kinds of livestock
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