This dish is so called, I'm told, because it's coloured twice - once from the red of the palm oil and a second time from the tomatoes. But there's a lot of duplication in the titles of dishes in Ghanaian cooking in any case. This stew of black-eyed beans (cowpeas) cooked in a gently spiced tomato sauce is a great vegan dish eaten all day long in Ghana - an alternative to baked beans for breakfast or as a bean casserole for lunch or dinner.
Tip: If using canned chopped tomatoes, add them 20 minutes into the cooking time or stir in 1 tablespoon sugar to counterbalance the tartness of the tomatoes.
This recipe is extracted from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh (£25, Octopus Books). Photography © Nassima Rothacker
Ingredients for red red stew
- 200g (7oz) dried black-eyed beans, or 400g (14oz) can organic black-eyed beans
- 75ml (5 tablespoons) sustainable palm oil or carotene oil
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 2.5cm (1-inch) piece fresh root ginger, finely grated (unpeeled if organic)
- ½ tablespoon dried chilli flakes
- ½ red Scotch Bonnet chilli, deseeded and diced
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ½ tablespoon chilli powder
- 400g (14oz) can chopped or whole plum tomatoes
- 200g (7oz) plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato purée
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- gari (fermented, dried and ground cassava), for sprinkling
Method for red red stew
- If using dried beans, rinse and place in a large saucepan, cover with a good depth of water and bring to the boil, then simmer for at least 1 hour or until the beans are tender enough to be squeezed easily between thumb and forefinger. Drain and set aside. If using a can of beans, just drain, rinse and drain again.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a low–medium heat until it melts (palm oil has a low smoke point, so be careful not to let it burn), add the onion, ginger, chilli flakes and Scotch Bonnet and sauté gently for a few minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the curry and chilli powders and stir well.
- Add all the tomatoes, tomato purée, sea salt and black pepper and stir through. Leave to cook over a medium heat for 45–60 minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down. If you want a smooth sauce, blend with a stick blender at this point.
- Add the cooked or drained canned beans, reduce the heat to medium–low and cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the beans don’t stick to the pan, until the beans are tender and the tartness of tomatoes has dissipated.
- Check the seasoning before serving in a bowl with some gari sprinkled on top, along with a side of Simple Fried Plantain.