Baltic Bites: Grey Pea Potage

12 May 2023

KCC has been spending some time exploring the culinary scene in Latvia. In our travels, we came across grey peas, a pulse that is native to this part of the world and has been a basic staple since neolihic times. In 2015, it was included on the EU’s Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) list.

In Latvia, grey peas,also known as carlin or pigeon peas, are usually served at Christmas with bacon – our take, of course, omits the bacon and combines these indigenous peas with a selection of local vegetables and caraway seeds.

Dried Grey Peas are actually more brown in colour

Despite being called grey peas, when dried they turn brown and resemble chickpeas. Soaked overnight, they cook in about 30 minutes to produce a pea that is crunchy on the outside but soft in the middle.

The crunchy soft taste sensation was reminiscent of Thailand’s baby aubergines, leading to the idea that grey peas would work in a coconut milk gravy. Add some cabbage, carrot, celery and beetroot and some caraway seeds, a distinctive taste in central and eastern European cooking, for a tasty grey peas potage.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 250 g dried grey peas
  • 100 g shredded white cabbage
  • 100 g grated carrot
  • 100 g grated beetroot
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 400 ml grey peas cooking liquid


  • Soak the grey peas overnight in 500 ml cold water. Drain and add fresh water before cooking. Bring to the boil in a large pan and reduce heat and simmer for around 20 – 30 minutes until tender but not falling apart.
  • Drain the peas and retain 400 ml of the cooking liquid in the pan. Add the coconut milk and the shredded cabbage, sliced celery, grated carrot. beetroot and the caraway seeds. Bring to a boil and then simmer for ten minutes. Add the grey peas and simmer for ten more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve while hot with rye bread.

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