Ewa agayin in all its glory! Have you had one of those moments where all you crave for is something that can’t be easily sourced? You just want it and if you can’t find it then you try to make your own version or recreate the memory you have about that particular food. I have a craving for Ewa aganyin, (mashed beans and special sauce) Ewa aganyin is one of the most popular street foods eaten in Nigeria. I remember waiting outside the house for the hawker so I can buy this special kind of beans. I use to wonder why the beans is expensive but I got to appreciate it when I started making it myself. Once you mash the beans, you will be left with almost nothing and the amount of oil that goes into making the stew is a lot.
Again, living outside Nigeria means I have to make do with the ingredients I find. I used crushed chillies and mehn! Bae didn’t find it funny. Each time I make this, he always complain about how hot it is. So if you are making yours and you are able to source the right ingredients, make sure the ratio of your dried red bell pepper is higher than the dried bird’s eye chillies. This helps tone down the hotness
I learnt something from a food seller that I once met, she upped her beans game by selling the aganyin stew with her regular beans and this method pulled more crowds for her, she used a mixture of dried bell pepper, regular red bell pepper, dried eye chillies and lots of onions. If you have any of these listed ingredients, use them and you would still get the original Togolese ewa aganyin taste.
What you will need
2-3 cups Beans, picked and dirt free
4 medium size onions
100g crushed chillies, soaked in warm water for at least 3 hours, or overnight preferably
Palm oil, you will need a lot of this.
Both sauce and beans can be cooked simultaneously if you have more than one gas/electric burner and if not, just cook them separately
The mashed beans: Place a pot on a medium heat, add rinsed beans, enough water to cook and add half of the chopped onions, and bring to boil until tender. This might take a while, but quicker if you have a pressure cooking pot. Add water in between to avoid the beans drying out/ burning. Add salt to taste at the tail of the cooking. Beans have to be really tender so as to be able to mash properly. Once beans are tender, mash till almost smooth.
Whilst you are waiting on the beans to cook, start frying the sauce. Making the sauce requires a lot of patience and I mean a lot of it and be ready to use lot of palm oil.
Kitchen note: I recommend you bleach large amount of oil and set aside before cooking. Add to the stew as required once you feel the need for it.
The sauce tends to soak up the palm oil so it is advisable you cook on a low heat.
Drain soaked crushed chillies and blend with 3 onions to a purée. (Add a little bit of water when blending)
Place a clean/dry pan on a medium high heat, pour in palm oil and bleach, add the half chopped onions and continue frying till onion is brown but not burnt. (Keep your kitchen well ventilated during this process)
Add blended pepper and cook on a low heat, once pepper mixture start changing colour from bright red to brownish, add salt and seasoning to taste.
Don’t worry if it seems the sauce is soaking up the oil; add more palm oil if needed but not water and always stir in between.
You need to keep an eye on the sauce so it doesn’t burn too much. Despite cooking on low heat I still needed to change my pot as you can see in the pictures. I did so, as I didn’t want the burnt bit to affect the taste of the sauce.
Continue to cook on low heat till oil floats on the top. Serve ewa aganyin with agege bread.
Can you spy my home made bread in the picture? I have baked another one since the last time I made one here.
Happy Holidays and enjoy today as it is the only day practising Christians are mandated to be vegan/vegetarian. Enjoy
Thanks for your lovely feedbacks, especially to my new found friends on facebook food group