Split Peas and Rice with Pigtail

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Comfort food! That’s what this dish, split peas and rice with pigtail,   is all about. Pickled pigtail has always been a staple in my diet while growing up and yet, even though I could afford more expensive meats now, I still prefer to buy good ole pigtail. This is the stuff I grew up on, and can’t seem to let go.

Old Fashion Split Peas and Rice with Pigtail

So why pigtail you might ask? You see when finances were tight long ago, or it was close to month end you could always rely on this and other preserved meats like smoked bone, smoked herring and saltfish, to pull you through.

And they fit the situation perfectly: They lasted long whether in or out of the fridge; they were cheap ( relatively) and gave any dish their inherent flavour. You could make a nice bowl of smoke bone flavoured soup with provision and dumpling, dumpling and smoke herring or saltfish yam and smoke herring or my favourite bhaji rice with pigtail…the list goes on.

Then too coming to think of it, long time there wasn’t much refrigerators around, so people would have relied on these preserved meats. Which could be a possible explanation why there has been so many Trini recipes made with smoked bone, saltfish, smoked herring and of course pigtail.

Well, that’s just my theory! Anyhow, I hope you enjoy split peas and rice with pigtail. It is a trini dish that’s dear to me and would eat no matter where life takes me. Here’s split peas and rice with pigtail.

Split Peas and Rice with Pigtail


Split Peas and Rice with Pigtail


2 cups rice
1 cup split peas
1/2 lb pigtail
6 leaves chadon beni, chopped finely
1 tbsp. roucou
3 pimento peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 hot pepper
1 tbsp. coconut powder
2 tbsp. oil
salt to taste


Put the split peas to soak for 1 hour.
Note: Based on the technique we learnt from the doubles post, you could soak the split peas for less time and use some baking soda when you’re boiling it later on.
Boil the rice and set aside.

Pressure cook the pigtail for 10 – 15 minutes and set aside.
Put the split peas to boil until soft.
It looks ready now.

Saute the onion, garlic and pimento pepper.
Add the pigtail and let cook for about 2 – 3 minutes.
Pour in the split peas…

then add the roucou and hot pepper (whole).

Add the coconut powder and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

The split peas looks ready now; add salt to taste.
Note: What we’re looking for is semi thick consistency . Not too thick; not too watery.
Mix in the chadon beni.
The finished split peas with pigtail. Serve over rice.
Don’t forget to leave your comment about split peas and rice with pigtail in the comment box below.

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  1. says

    Hi Felix,
    I made this today, but I use channa dahl, instead of split peas, did not have any split peas. It came out very thin, do you think because I did not use the split peas? It taste oaky. next time I make it I will make it with split peas first time I had this. One other thing do you have any ideas how to store pigtails I go to the City and I buy about six pounds, because I live far from the City, I only go to the City once every two months. Thanks for the recipes Judy

  2. says

    Judy you’re in uncharted territory. I’m not sure what could have caused it to get thin but if you pressure cooked the channa you could have gotten the same consistency of the split peas. Sounds like something for me to try as well :-)

    About the pigtail, the pigtails are already preserved by placing it in brine. I usually just place mine in the fridge, but then I don’t buy as much and by month end they are all used up. To me the fridge seems like a safe bet.

    Thanks for commenting. :-)

  3. says

    Hi Hi. Love your website but the only thing I find with this is the use of the coconut powder. Using one tablepoon coconut powder translates into what for those who do not get coconut powder or worse yet, who wouldn’t dare use it. It is just an observation on behalf of those who are not too familiar with these types of recipes and know what to do.

  4. says

    As I blog I grow….I don’t use coconut powder anymore I prefer to use the real thing. For me the table spoon of coconut powder would translate into about 1/2 cup coconut milk. Hope this answers your comment :-)

  5. Patricia says

    I made this dish today it was great!!!!!!! Followed everything to a T – the roucou and adding coconut milk instead of the powder, it was excellent, and had no troubles cooking it, thanks for reviving some old time cooking!

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