Sudbury District Nurse Practitioner Clinics

Ghanaian Bean Stew

Photo ghanaian bean stew

Preparation time: 9 hours (to soak the dried beans overnight and cook them)
Cook time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4


Black-eyed peas (also known as Pigeon peas), dried or canned, well rinsed 2 cups (500 mL)
Palm oil (if unavailable use canola or sunflower oil) 1 tablespoon (15 mL)
Canola or sunflower oil 2 tablespoons (30 mL)
White onions, sliced 2 large
Tomatoes, diced 2 medium
Green onion stalks, diced 2 stalks
Bell pepper, diced 1
Tomato paste 1 tablespoon (15 mL)
Scotch bonnet peppers (or habanero pepper if unavailable) 1-2
Paprika 1 tablespoon (15 mL)
Garlic powder 1 tablespoon (15 mL)
Ginger powder 1 teaspoon (5 mL)
Hwentia/selim seed pods (optional) 2 pieces
Bay leaves, dried 3
Vegetable stock* 2 cups (500 mL)
Baked mackerel, shredded (optional) 1 whole
Salt as desired

*can substitute for 2 cups of water (500 mL) and 1 vegetable or crayfish bouillon cube

Tip: Hwentia, also called grains of selim, are seeds from a tree commonly found in Africa. They are used to add flavour and spice, similar to black pepper, in dishes like soups and stews. Remember to remove the seed pods before serving (similar to bay leaf).


  1. Rinse and soak the black-eyed peas in a large pot by covering them entirely with water (about 8 cups) for 8 hours or overnight. This helps with speeding up the cooking  process. Drain the beans, rinse and return to the pot. Cover the beans with 6 cups of water and cook the beans on medium to high heat with the lid on for 1 hour until soft. Then drain. Slightly mash the beans to the texture of your liking (whole and mashed pieces).
  2. Heat a medium saucepan on medium to high heat. Place both of the oils in a large saucepan (palm and canola oil). Add the sliced onions and sauté for approximately 5-7  minutes until translucent. Stir to prevent burning. Add in the diced tomatoes and green onions, tomato paste, scotch bonnet pepper, hwentia, bay leaves, and spices (paprika, garlic and ginger). Set to low and sauté for 10-15 minutes until soft. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  3. Add the vegetable stock, mashed beans and mackerel, if using. Allow it to simmer on low heat for approximately 30 minutes to an hour until the water is reduced.
  4. Serve with gari powder, yam, ripe yellow plantain, or taro. Gari powder is dried flour made from cassava used as garnish, to make cereal, or in other light meals. It is a common staple in West African households.

Did you know? Palm oil is an important ingredient in Ghanaian cuisine?

Palm oil comes from palm fruit, and is a good source of vitamin E and vitamin K

Recipe Provided By: Tracey Frimpong, RD

Recipe Source:


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March 2023
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