The world is yet to realize how beautiful, varied, and sumptuous Nigerian cuisine is. Many travelers even went as far as saying that it is the very best in the whole of the African continent. Yes, across African countries, you may find their cuisine to share similar recipes and ingredients, but what sets Nigeria apart is the variety, they were able to turn humble ingredients into rich, colorful, and hearty dishes.
One particular ingredient we will be featuring in this article is the very succulent and nutrient-dense Beans. Some people may even find beans boring, but as the saying goes, you wouldn’t want to go without them, even though they’re not that exciting. But your opinion on beans might change once you see how Nigerian cuisine transforms this modest ingredient into 9 very feisty and delectable dishes that would surely not let you down.
Ekuru is a peeled beans dish that came from the ethnic Yoruba people from the West African region, particularly from Nigeria and Benin. According to popular myths among the Yoruba people, Ekuru is believed to be mixed with glue to prevent witchcraft activities going around. Ekuri is similar to the Moin-Moin dish as they both use peeled black-eyed or brown beans, but unlike Moin-Moin, Ekuru is served plain steamed in banana leaves or in a can. It takes about 45 minutes until it fully cooks. It is usually eaten with a side of fried pepper stew. Some people prefer to enjoy it with corn pudding or Okro soup. This dish is usually served in the morning for breakfast. Popular cooking websites love this dish as it’s a vegetarian-friendly dish.
Here’s the Recipe: https://cookpad.com/us/recipes/7862995-ekuru-white-moi-moi
2. Nigerian Rice and Beans
This dish signifies two of the most widespread and staple ingredients of Nigeria, and the whole of the African continent for that matter. It was made because some people just don’t like eating a bean dish alone, mixing the beans with rich makes their flavor even richer and hearty, and it produces a completely different flavor profile. Rice and beans can be cooked plain or if you want it more flavorful, it can be prepared the Jollof way. The term “Jollof” means to cook in one pot, and that’s exactly what it is, it’s rice and beans that are cooked with whole tomatoes and tomato paste, onions, oil, and topped with mutton or beef. It takes only 20 to 30 minutes to prepare given that your beans are already softened.
Here’s the Recipe: https://cheflolaskitchen.com/rice-beans-recipe/
3. Ewa Aganyin
Ewa Aganyin, also known as “Ewa Agoyin” is a popular street food across the southern states of Nigeria. It is prepared with black-eyed beans, bell pepper, black pepper, and onion. The beans are mashed to achieve a very soft consistency. This dish is usually served with bread.
Here’s the Recipe: https://www.allnigerianrecipes.com/beans/ewa-agoyin/
4. Gbegiri Soup
Like the Ekuru, this dish also came from the ethnic Yoruba people of West Nigeria. It is a thick soup dish that is made from ground black-eyed brown beans. Cooking channels say it has a baby food-like consistency but you can improve the texture by serving it with Ewedu soup and a side of a meat of your choice between beef or chicken stew. This dish would take about one hour to prepare.
Here’s the Recipe: https://www.allnigerianrecipes.com/soups/gbegiri-soup/
Akara is known to have originated from Portugal, and it has a lot of aliases like Acaraje, bean cake, bean fritas, or bean balls, but Akara has been known to be more popular as a Nigerian breakfast dish. Akara is prepared with peeled beans — make sure that you only remove the coating of the beans just before you cook it. You should not pre-peel it and stick it to the fridge, as it would knacker the flavor of the beans. Akara is seasoned with a dash of salt, topped with scone shaped chopped onions, and is deep-fried then split in half. It is also served with a side of Vatapa and Caruru which are spicy pastes that are made from prawns, cashews, oil, and other spices.
Here’s the Recipe: https://www.allnigerianrecipes.com/breakfast-recipes/akara-recipe/
6. Peeled Beans Porridge
The Peeled Beans Porridge is preferred by many over the traditional bean porridge due to its smoother consistency because the beans don’t have a coating. Food reviewers associate the taste and consistency of the Peeled Beans Porridge to Ukwa (breadfruit) porridge and suggest the Peeled Beans Porridge as an alternative if you can’t get your hands on a breadfruit porridge. You can use either brown or black beans, it is seasoned with ground crayfish and topped with chicken breast. It can be prepared in bulk, stored in containers and put in a fridge, and they can be just taken out and reheated every time you want some.
Here’s the Recipe: https://www.allnigerianrecipes.com/beans/peeled-beans-porridge/
7. Moin Moin
Moin-Moin or Moyi-Moyi is much like the Ekuru, it also came from the Western Nigerian region, it is a steamed bean pudding made with a mix of peeled black-eyed beans, onions, and a combination of bell peppers, Scotch bonnet, peppers, and chili. It is a high-protein staple food in Nigeria and many countries in Africa. Moin-Moin is made by softening the beans in cold water. This process would usually take about five hours, for they have to be soft so the skin would easily peel off. The ingredients can all be blended together until it becomes a paste. This dish is traditionally seasoned with salt or dried crayfish, but modern cooking tutorials online use meat stock as well. Fancy versions of Moin-Moin are served with corned beef, sliced hard-boiled eggs, or sardines on the side.
As for the way this dish is presented, people add it inside cans to achieve a cylindrical shape, or inside a pyramid-shaped mold before being cooked. They are traditionally wrapped into a cone-shaped ewe eran or banana leaves. The Moin-Moin can be eaten any time of day, it can be enjoyed as a snack served with bread, or you can serve it with rice and ogi, then eat as breakfast or dinner, or add garri to eat it for lunch.
8. Nigerian Fried Beans
This dish is probably the best dish to serve people who don’t particularly enjoy the flavor of beans because frying the beans completely changes the flavor profile. It is a very simple dish that is traditionally fried in palm oil. Again, you may use any traditional African beans which usually boils down into two options: the black-eyed or brown beans. Just mix the beans with chopped onions, meat stock, water, salt, and peppers. It only takes roughly two minutes to stir-fry the beans. The Nigerian Fried Beans is traditionally served with fried plantains on the side. It has nearly the same consistency as the Mexican refried beans.
Here’s the Recipe: https://www.allnigerianrecipes.com/beans/nigerian-fried-beans/
9. Nigerian Beans Porridge
The beans that are traditionally used for preparing this dish called the “Ewa” is known to be unpopular among the Yoruban people because it is known to cause flatulence, indigestion, and bloating. That is why the number of people who are bean lovers is the same as the number of people who don’t like them. Whatever their reasons are, beans are a staple for many countries, especially so in the African continent, because it undoubtedly provides much-needed sustenance and packs a lot of nutrients in such a humble form. That’s why it is advised that everyone should at least bring a bean dish into their diets. The Nigerian Beans porridge can be that very dish for you, as it’s really simple to make.
Unlike the traditional version of the Nigerian Beans Porridge which uses the Ewa beans, you can use the staple and plentiful black-eyed or brown beans. Just mix the softened beans with red palm oil to provide color and flavor, mix the onion in, pour in meat stock, and season with just salt and pepper to taste. If you are the type of person that likes a strong flavor, you may add dried crayfish to really step up the flavor, but cooking blogs suggest to not do this as it’s easy to overpower the flavor of the beans. It is traditionally served with boiled plantain, yam, young corn, or sweet potatoes.
Here’s the Recipe: https://allnigerianfoods.com/porridge-beans-recipe
The internet has plenty of stories from food bloggers where most of the time, they’d go on saying how they used to hate beans, but that the Nigerian Bean Porridge changed the game for them. This simple and very flavorful dish is very accessible and easy to make so that when they crave for comfort food, this is what they usually end up cooking. For some people, they are cooking the Nigerian Bean Porridge because it makes them nostalgic about their childhood, and it reminds them of how good it was when they were eating it back then.
We have reached the end of the list of popular Nigerian bean dishes. I hope this would enlighten you about how exciting, hearty and delicious Nigerian cuisine is, and African cuisine for that matter.