Ewa Agoyin….Nostalgia mode activated.
Growing up, the combination of Ewa Agoyin and the Ewa Agoyin sauce served with it had to be the best thing that ever happened to my beans diet. I never cared for beans in the slightest but there was always something about Ewa Agoyin that I just found irresistible. Remember how I used to listen out for the hawkers every weekend, food bowl at the ready….good times?
I’d always wanted to put up a recipe, especially for the sauce but I had trouble finding the peppers, well, till the lovely Olayinka Oladipo of My Active Kitchen stepped in and promised to send me some…Yay! I woke up to them on Tuesday morning.
The major tips for achieving the authentic Ewa Agoyin sauce taste are using the right peppers, using enough palm oil which is loads of Palm oil and bleaching your Palm oil as appropriate. If you get these three tips right, then you’ll definitely ace it.
The peppers used for Ewa Agonyin sauce are dried bell peppers, Cameroon peppers and dried pepper seeds which are dried seeds of red chilli peppers. Tomatoes are a No, No! Also, using fresh peppers won’t produce the authentic Ewa Agoyin sauce taste.
If you can’t find dried bell peppers, you can use just dried pepper seeds. These are very easy to find as almost all grocery stores, especially Asian stores I know stock them. They are usually called “Crushed Red Chillies or Red Pepper Flakes”. I should warn you though, they are very very hot. If you can stand the heat, then you’re good.
You’ll need loads of palm oil to achieve the authentic Ewa Agoyin sauce taste and consistency so you won’t be able to compromise on this.
To achieve the gritty/crucny Agoyin sauce taste, you’ll need to allow your onions burn a little while frying. The incorporated pepper seeds, when fried, also help to achieve the gritty texture.
3 cups Black Eyed Beans
300ml Palm Oil
8-10 Pieces Dried Bell Peppers (Tatsahe gbigbe)
1 Medium Size Red Onion
2-3 Pieces Cameroon Pepper
3 Heaped Tablespoons Dried Pepper Seeds
1 Tablespoon Ground Pepper (Atagungun)
1/2 Teaspoon Minced Ginger
2 Tablespoons Dried whole crayfish or 1/2 cup smoked fish(optional)
1 Maggi Crayfish (optional)
Salt to taste
First, get your ingredients ready:
Soak your dried peppers in water till they’re plump, this should take between 2-6 hours, depending on just how dry they are. You can choose to soak overnight if you wish.
When the peppers are plump, add the pepper seeds and just a little bit of water, you can use some of the water they were soaked in, half a cup should do. Add the minced ginger, crayfish and Maggi crayfish, blend coarsely.
If you don’t like tasting bits in your stews, you can blend smoother, I like mine with bits.
I should mention also, the consistency in the photo looks a lot more chunky only cos of the whole crayfish I added…
This is the sort of texture you’re aiming for…
Set the blended pepper aside. Pick and wash your beans, pour in enough water to cover and cook till tender, do not add any salt till it’s tender. This is so the beans cooks faster. To cut down cooking time, use a pressure cooker if you’ve got one.
While the beans is cooking, get yourself a saucepan, place on a hob on medium heat, add the palm oil and bleach for 10-12 minutes…
This is the sort of colour you should aim for…
When it’s bleached, turn the heat down to low, add your chopped onions…
Fry the onions till it begins to burn a little, something like this…
Some leave the onions to burn till it looks all black, this adds to the crunchiness but I prefer it just like this but feel free to let it burn, burn, burn! Also, you may want to use less onions, I LOVE onions hence the exaggerated quantity.
Now add your blended pepper, ground pepper, smoked fish (if you’re using any) and salt to taste…
Still on low heat, let it fry for at least 40 minutes, stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn…
You should start to perceive the Agoyin Sauce aroma as soon as the blended pepper is added, if you can’t, then you’ve probably done something wrong at some point…
It should look like this when it’s fully fried…very dark but definitely not burnt. You should end up with a smoother consistency if you didn’t use as much onions or add whole crayfish like I did.
And that’s it, the Ewa Agoyin sauce is ready…
Back to the beans!
Check on the beans, when it’s tender, add salt to taste.
Let it continue to boil till very soft…
When it’s very soft, use a wooden spoon to mash the beans till there’s almost no whole beans in sight. Alternatively, mash it up using a hand mixer…
Your Ewa Agoyin is ready.