Many legumes are used in cooking throughout Africa. While the pods of most of them can be eaten when fresh and young as a green vegetable, the vast majority of ‘beans and peas’ are dried. The most widespread and readily available bean is the cowpea (otherwise known as black eyed peas), of which there are numerous varieties. All varieties are similar in food value, but local preferences exist. In cooking, the colourimparted to foods and the amount of water and time required in cooking varies from one type to another. Cowpeas are high in protein and soluble carbohydrate, low in oil and contain some minerals.
When purchasing cowpeas, select those that are well dried, free of discolouration and of insect holes. Before use, always pick them over to remove debris, foreign materials and damaged beans.
In it’s simplest form, boiled cowpeas (using just water and salt) are tasty enough to be eaten with boiled rice. However, if you want to up your beans game, why not try the recipe that we have given you below.
230g Washed cowpeas (black eye beans)
1 Large firm ripe plantain
70ml Palm oil
1 small cleaned dry fish
1 small onion (chopped into small pieces)
2 scotch bonnet (chopped into small pieces)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of African Plate Agoyin Spice (https://africanplate.co.uk/product/agoyin-spice/)
Yam, sweet potato or squash can be substituted for the plantain
- Blend the onion and scotch bonnet together.
- Boil the cowpeas in plenty of water until soft (about 1 hour).
- Drain the cowpeas and then add 290ml of water.
- Cut the plantain into 1 cm cubes and cover with water.
- Cook for 5-10 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork.
- Add the cowpeas and remaining ingredients and cook for another 20 minutes. The cowpeas and plantain should still be recognisable, although very soft.
- Serve with protein of choice.