Last Sunday I set out to make oilless ewa riro for lunch. If you follow this blog, you know why I prefer to cook without oil. But beans porridge is so bland and boring without that earthy palm oil flavour, so I used the ‘whole foods’ equivalent. Remember the main ingredient in banga soup? Yup, palm fruit extract. Palm fruit extract retains the fibre, antioxidants and other nutrients contained in the palm fruit, unlike palm oil which is pure fat. Win!
For an interesting twist I added cashews to the beans. Just trust me on this one. In the middle of a melt-in-your-mouth spoon of beans, the cashews give a nice soft-crunchy surprise that offsets the beans nicely. Also cashews are just plain delicious.
Every true Nigerian knows that Ewa riro is not complete without a side dish of dodo (fried plantain). This time I decided to make things more interesting with kelewele. Kelewele is basically spicy dodo made with palm oil. It’s like, next level dodo. Plain old dodo will never look the same after kelewele, I tell you. Instead of using palm oil in the kelewele, again I used palm fruit extract. I also baked instead of frying. Baking gives the plantain that lovely crisp on the outside, leaving it soft on the inside. All without tons of oil. 🙂
What you will need
*makes 4 servings
For the Ewa riro
+ 3 cups ewa oloyin (sweet beans)
+ 1/2 cup raw cashews, chopped
+ 1 medium onion, chopped
+ 1 atarodo pepper, chopped
+ 2 teaspoons minced garlic
+ 3 tablespoons palm fruit extract
+ 1 1/2 tablespoons iru (fermented locust beans)
+ Spices: 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, salt
For the kelewele
+ 3 ripe plantains
+ 1 tablespoon palm fruit extract
+ Spices: 2 teaspoons powdered ginger, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, chilli pepper flakes and salt to taste
+ 1 teaspoon olive oil
How to make it
Step 1: We’ll need to soak the beans and cashews before cooking, to aid digestion and reduce cooking time. Remove debris from the beans if necessary, rinse and soak for at least an hour.
Roughly chop the cashews or pulse in a food processor to break into large pieces. Rinse and soak the cashew pieces for at least 30 minutes.
Drain the water off after soaking and discard.
Step 2: Boil the beans in 8 cups of water for about 30 minutes until very soft (it should be easy to squish between your fingers). Do not add salt as this will hinder water absorption. Drain off the water when beans is cooked.
Step 3: While the beans cooks, prep the other ingredients. Chop the onion and pepper and mince the garlic.
Step 4: Add the palm fruit extract, chopped onion, pepper, garlic and iru to a pot or saucepan. After sauteeing for a minute, stir in 1/2 cup water and cover the pot. Leave to simmer for a few minutes.
Step 5: Add 2 cups water to the pot along with the cooked beans and spices. Cover and leave to simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. The beans should thicken considerably. If it is too watery, leave the pot uncovered.
Step 6: Stir in the cashew pieces and adjust seasoning to your taste. Done!
Step 1: Preheat your oven to about 180 degrees C. Peel and split the plantains into halves lengthwise. Slice each half at an angle into 1.5 cm thick slices
Step 2: Add the plantain pieces and palm fruit extract to a bowl and mix well to coat (Use a stainless steel or glass bowl if possible, plastic will stain.)
Step 3: Sprinkle the spices in and mix well again to coat the plantain pieces evenly. Spread on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake on medium heat for 30 minutes or until plantain is golden and crispy. (Don’t overbake or they will dry out!)
Step 4: Try not to eat them all straight out of the oven. At least put them on a plate 🙂