Black-Eyed Pea Stew

Beans can get a bad reputation. People often think of them as bland, as a poor vegetarian substitute in soups and stews, and who has all that time to soak those beans? But beans are a nutritional powerhouse, and in Nigerian cuisine, beans -- especially Nigerian honey beans and black-eyed peas -- are somewhat of a staple. Here, they make up the base of a thick and flavorful porridge called Ewa Riro, which literally means “stirred beans.” 

It’s a stew that’s delicious on it’s own or served with the garnish of your choice. It can be eaten with rice, or soaked up with a dense bread called Agege bread, which has a texture similar to Challah. Popular pairings in Nigeria include fried plantains, boiled yam, or cassava flakes (or garri). It’s a meal you can keep as simple or dress up as much as you want, right from the start. 

There are a couple of important points to get this dish right. First, soaking the beans is crucial for the perfect texture. It helps soften the beans and ultimately speeds up the cooking time, without causing them to break apart. Soaking can also make beans easier to digest. Ewa Riro is often served a bit mashed up, like refried beans, since it helps release the flavor from the beans. I like to mash just a little bit and then mix it all back together. That way, you get more of the flavor, but still have a lot of the texture!

Second, the addition of my Ata Din Din Sauce not only helps speed up and simplify the whole process of making this stew, but it adds an extra flavorful kick! I like to add not only my Ata Din Din, but also the tomato paste for a bit more umami flavor and a way to balance out the kick of that habanero spiciness!

It’s a delicious recipe perfect for nearly any meal of the day!

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Black-eyed Peas

1 Medium Onion 

1/2 Jar Egunsifoods’s Ata Din Din Sauce (Red Pepper)

1 Tbsp. Ata Din Din Sauce Oil

1/2 Cup Palm Oil

1 Tsp. Sea Salt

1 Tbsp. Full Red Tomato Paste

1 Tbsp. Vegetable Seasoning *we use Egunsi’s

Optional: 1 Tsp. Habanero Pepper

Optional: Charred Corn, for garnish 

COOKING DIRECTIONS

  1. Soak beans for 45 minutes (some soak beans overnight, but 45 minutes works just as well). Then, drain and rinse. Return to pot with water and cook with ½ an onion, diced, until al dente, about another 45 minutes.
  2. Drain the beans, but reserve the water.
  3. In a large pot or skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the rest of the diced onion and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and saute for 3 minutes until deep red and caramelized. Then add the Ata Din Din Sauce and 1 Tbsp of vegetable bouillon and saute.
  4. Add the beans to the sauce and let cook for about 15 minutes. Remove about 2 Tbsp. of beans, puree, and add back to the pot (you can do more if you prefer a thicker stew).
  5. If the stew is too thick, use the reserved bean cooking water to thin while cooking until you reach your desired consistency.
  6. Serve with charred corn, rice, bread, cassava flakes (garri), fried plantains, or eggs. 

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