The Togolese Beans Boat Has Berthed!

If you remember, I told you sometime ago that my father owned a bakery (still in existence and being managed by my brothers). Bread and beans are the most popular breakfast combo for many people in Nigeria.

The bakery offers, as one would expect, a wide selection of bread, all shapes and sizes, so naturally the bakery was also a choice place for beans sellers to pitch their business. It was a common announcement to hear, elewa agaayin yin ti de o! (figuratively meaning "the aganyin beans boat has berthed")...This would quite often be followed by a stampede of people, young and old, bread in hand rushing to queue to buy  beans.

Funke Koleosho's Aganyin Beans Boats
The Aganyin beans dish is so different from the typical Nigerian beans dish. Introduced to Nigerians by immigrants from Benin and Togo republics, traditional preparation spans over two days! This, in addition to the very spicy and "dried out" well fried and blackened sauce it is served with, are responsible for the development of the taste and flavours for which the dish has become so popular and a favourite among many.

To be honest, I have tried so many times to replicate the tastes and flavours of this dish as I remember it, but I have never been really able to achieve 100% success. Instead I have managed 95% or there about, which frankly, is good enough for me....after all, even the beans bought from the different vendors varied in taste, textures and flavours.

My recipe today is a revised version of the Mushy Beans recipe in my App Cook!Nigerian and I am serving with flat bread (biblical unleavened bread). There is something about the flexibility/malleability of flat bread that can draw out  some creativity in you!

What you need
  • 3 cups Nigerian brown beans (oloyin variety), remove chaff and stones 
  • 100ml of coconut oil (coconut is a healthy choice)
  • 1 small onion. Slice
  • 2 stock cubes
  • Flat bread/tortilla wraps/fajitas wraps
  • Salt/sugar to taste (Sugar is optional but if using choose demerara sugar)
For the Sauce:
100ml of palm oil
2 small onions finely slice
4 small tomatoes, finely slice
1 tablespoon chilli powder (optional)
1-2 tablespoon ground crayfish

What to do
  1. Note: These beans were traditionally cooked in iron pots for several hours but with the use of a pressure cooker you can significantly reduce cooking time and I find the texture of the beans better. 
  2. Wash beans and place in a pressure cooker. Add some water (about 2-3 cups), 1 stock cube, 1 chopped onion, cover and cook beans under pressure until very soft, say 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat or turn off the pressure cooking. Carefully open and stir.
  3. Return pot to the stove (this time do not cover) and continue to cook under low heat, adding another cup or two of hot water and coconut oil to , stir well and mash up beans. Add salt and sugar to taste. Cook under low heat for another 10-15 minutes. Continue to stir to achieve a mash with a smooth consistency with 90% of the beans mashed into pulp..
  4. Heat the palm oil in a separate sauce pan and carefully add onions and tomatoes.  If the oil is too hot, it may cause the sauce to flambĂ©. Stir carefully. Add 1 stock cube. Under low heat, continue to fry until onions caramelise. Sprinkle the ground crayfish. Stir.
  5. Serve beans topped with some sauce in flat bread pockets. (Warming the flat bread slightly makes them more flexible to shape). Enjoy.
Togolese Style Mushy Beans in Flat bread Boats

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