28 July 2017
I recently stumbled upon a Facebook post that asked ‘What will happen if there’s no beans?’ After going through many responses like ‘life will be meaningless’ among others, I humorously replied that ‘There wouldn’t have been Mr. Bean.’
In as much as I know that rice is the most commonly eaten food in Nigeria, beans is also a food that can never be looked down on. This is because beans is a food treasury for Nigerians, particularly among the Yoruba people.
The Yorubas can make up to five different foods from beans. They call it ewa or eree. It will interest you to know that each form has more ways to it.
The following are the various meals you can from beans:
- Boiled Beans
Beans can be boiled for consumption. At times, it will be boiled with the addition of only salt while its stew is fried separately. There’s a another that is cooked whole – it is called ‘ewa ibeji’ that is ‘the twins beans’ – cooked for the twins most especially on their birthday or any occasion relating to them.
Another form of boiled beans is the ‘ewa agoyin.’ This is boiled to beyond wholeness that is, till the beans muddled to a fine mash – then it is accompanied by a deeply fried stew that is spiced with ‘iyere.’
Also, beans can be boiled with all the sauces added to it at once so that when it is done, all one has to do is get a spoon. This type of beans can be taken with garri (cassava flakes) added to it or soaked, or taken with bread or boiled yam.
- Rice and Beans.
There is no such special technique for this but there are various ways to is as well. The food can be cooked separately so that the beans will be added to the rice later. It can also be cooked together with the beans put to fire to become soft and the rice added to it later and they cook together.
The Yorubas also call this ‘oole’. For this, the beans is grinded alongside onion and pepper. The grinded beans is mixed with salt, seasoning, crayfish, diced boiled egg, fish, diced fried liver before it is put into cupped leaves or tins and then carefully arranged in a pot to steam.
Moinmoin can be taken with bread, leafed or cooked pap and any other good companion, as you may so choose.
Ofuloju is also called ‘ekuru’. This close to moinmoin, but the difference is that it has nothing added to it, not even salt. In short, when the beans is grinded, it will be packaged as it is with moinmoin, carefully arranged in a pot and set on fire to steam. Before it is packaged, it is thoroughly mixed for up to 15 minutes. It is eaten alongside a specially fried sauce that can only be fried with palm oil. In the Yoruba culture, ofuloju is used for sacrificial rites for some deities, particularly the ‘alaraagbo’ frats.
Akara has been recognized in Nigerian English and is called Bean cake. When I was growing, a story in my primary 4 English textbook calls it akara ball. As opposed to moinmoin, when the beans is grinded alongside same ingredients, it is mixed with the addition of palm oil or groundnut oil, and then fried. Yours sincerely, akara is a good meal with bread. It can also be taken with eko (leafed pap) or ogi (cooked pap).
There’s another form of akara called jogi. It is strictly fried with palm oil. Very few young folks know how it is done but I observe that it is usually not smoothly grinded so that its particles can be felt in the mouth. When it is fried, the inner part of the bean cake is always white despite the fact that it’s been fried with palm oil. Only the outer part is reddish. Though most people call it akara elepo i.e palm oil bean cake, its actual name is jogi. It is also used for sacrificial rites.
You can give all these foods a trial some of this days.