Also called Nigerian brown beans or Nigerian sweet beans, honey beans are a variety of black-eyed peas with a uniquely sweet flavor. These light brown, kidney-shaped cowpeas, known as ewa oloyin in Yoruba, are enjoyed throughout West Africa.
Use it In soups and stews or to prepare this classic, hearty Nigerian dish of beans topped with an oily tomato-and-pepper sauce.
Buy it Worldwide International Foods & African Market, 8430 Olive Blvd., U. City, 314.994.0229,
– Ligaya Figueras
Ingredients2 cups dried honey beans
1 Roma tomato, quartered
Half of a yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, de-stemmed, de-seeded and coarsely chopped
1 habanero pepper de-stemmed but not de-seeded, coarsely chopped
5 tsp. palm oil or vegetable oil
1 chicken bouillon cube
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• Sort through the dried beans to remove pebbles or grit. Rinse with cold water in a colander, then place in a large nonreactive pot or bowl. Cover with water and let soak for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight.
• Drain, discarding the water. Place the beans in a large pot with 6 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil. Once it reaches a rolling boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for 1 hour, or until the beans have absorbed nearly all of the water and are very soft (past fork tender but not mushy). Periodically check to make sure there is enough water so the beans don’t dry out or scorch, adding water, ¼ cup at a time, as needed. When the beans are done, season with salt. Remove from heat and keep warm.
• Combine the tomato, onion and peppers in a blender. Purée until smooth. Set aside.
• Heat the oil in a saucepan set over medium heat. Add the bouillon cube, stirring to dissolve. Stir in the vegetable purée. Season with salt and pepper.
• Divide the beans between 4 plates. Ladle the sauce on top. If desired, serve with rice, fried plantains and cooked spinach.