Black-eyed peas stew or beans stew is a Ghanaian favourite. Usually eaten with ripe fried plantains, this combination and is affectionately called red-red. The name comes from the reddish-orange tinge of the palm oil typically used to make the stew and the orange colour from the accompanying fried plantains with which the stew is usually eaten.
This beans stew recipe however is made with coconut oil, which is a great substitute for palm oil and just as tasty. This stew is best eaten with ripe fried plantains but it is also very delicious with plain boiled rice or boiled ripe plantains. Black-eyed peas (the name under which they are more commonly known) are actually beans and not peas but whatever the nomenclature, we can all agree that they are delicious.
This stew is such a comforting meal and the use of coconut oil makes it even better. Cooking the black-eyed peas goes faster if you soak them overnight or you add a bit of baking powder or even a bit of saltpetre. This shortens the cooking time significantly - the worst thing is having to spend hours and wasting gas or electricity to get your beans to soften. These hacks will help.
If you are going for an aesthetic vibe and you want your beans to look whole and beautiful, then you need to keep that in mind while cooking. If you prefer your beans to be very soft like in this recipe then that choice is yours. To be honest, it does not matter as long as the beans stew tastes as good as this one does.
With regards to adding fish to the stew, again, that is a matter of choice: you can use firm, smoked fish or soft fish. If you do not want flaky fish in your beans stew then you are better off using fish that is firm and can hold up well in the stew.
Black Eyed-Peas Stew with Coconut Oil
- 300 grams black-eyed peas ideally soaked in water overnight
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 medium onions sliced
- 4 scotch bonnets green
- 3 large tomatoes blended with scotch bonnets
- 2 tbsp shrimp powder
- ½ smoked mackerel
- Drain water from beans and rinse thoroughly. Cook beans until soft.
- Add water to beans and cook beans until soft. See notes.
- Heat oil, add onions, and fry until translucent. Add blended tomato and scotch bonnets, shrimp powder, and cook further for about 10 min.
- Add mackerel to stew, add some salt and continue to let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add beans to stew and let simmer for a further 10 minutes.
- Serve with plain white rice, boiled ripe plantain or fried ripe plantain.
- If the black-eyed peas are very dry, your cooking time will increase. Soaking them overnight will help reduce the cooking time, as will adding some baking powder or saltpetre.
- You may need to reduce the number of scotch bonnets if spice or heat is not your cup of tea. You can completely leave them out too.
- If you do not like the fish flaked into the stew then you can either choose mackerel which has been smoked dry or any other fish which is a bit firmer.