Black eyed peas or black eyed beans soup is another Chinese home cooking soup that is not only popular, so easy to make and packed full of nutritional values. Soup has always been a one pot comfort food for the whole family and is at the top of the list for my home cooking menu all year round. Traditionally, this soup is cooked with pork spare ribs and black eye peas, sometimes chicken feet and raw peanuts are also added. For my own home cooking and naturally gluten free 4 ingredients recipe, I am using skinless and boneless chicken breasts, black eye peas, dried red dates and goji berries. This recipe is also dairy free, soy free, egg free and nut free. This is a very much healthy and hearty soup for all ages in the family.
The black eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata), also called black eyed beans or goat peas, are a genus of cowpeas and belong to the family of legumes. Eventhough, they are commonly referred to as peas, they are essentially beans. These edible beans acquired their name from their looks, cream coloured with a black eye in the middle. They are superb when added to soups, stews and salad and can be purchased dried, canned and frozen. Black eyed peas originated from West Africa and were cultivated in Asian countries like China and India since ancient times. They were introduced to Southern United States by slaves from West Africa as early as the 17th century. Black eyed peas were initially used as food for livestock and later became an important staple food for the enslaved Africans. Today, consuming black eyed peas on New Year’s Day in Southern United States is believed to bring good luck as these peas are a symbolism of coins. Furthermore, black eyed peas are customarily a crucial ingredient in African American “soul food”.
When incorporated as part of a well-balanced diet, black eyed peas have many health benefits. They are low in fats and calories, low in glycemic index, high in dietary fiber and a substitute form of protein especially for vegans and vegetarians. They are also an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals like folate/folic acid (vitamin B9), vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Additionally, they are a good source of thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, Zinc, iron, and phosphorus. Health benefits of black eyed peas include strengthening the central nervous system; lower risks of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease; support healthy digestive system; lower blood pressure and risks of stroke; decrease cardiovascular diseases; prevent anemia; boosts healthy eye and skin; reduce risks of neural tube defects in pregnant women and aids in weight loss.