Owanbe Recipe: Beans and Sauce (Ewa-agoyin)

Ewa agoyin

Boiled beans may not sound like something you’d find in an average party menu, but please hear me out. So many people (especially Lagosians) can go on and on with the legendary ewa-agoyin. And even though many people enjoy this popular recipe, preparing it can be elusive for most people.

Well, on today’s owanbe recipe I will be describing how you can prepare this special beans that all beans lover always love to eat.

How to Prepare Ewa-Agoyin (Beans and Sauce)

Ingredients For the Ewa (Beans)

  1. 3 cups/ 4 peak milk tins of honey beans (ewa oloyin)
  2. 1 medium sized onion bulb
  3. Salt to taste

Ingredients For The Sauce

  1. 2 cups of palm oil
  2. 200 grams of red chilli/shombo (or bawa) pepper
  3. 100 grams/5 large bell (tatase) peppers
  4. 2 large onion bulbs
  5. 5 pieces of scotch bonnet (ata rodo) peppers
  6. 100 grams fresh shelled shrimps
  7. 1 roll of Kpomo/cow skin?
  8. 1 medium sized smoked catfish
  9. A handful of curry leaves or clove basil (scent leaves/efirin)
  10. A handful of crayfish (optional)
  11. 1 tsp each, powdered ginger and garlic
  12. 1 or 2 stock cubes (to your taste)
  13. Salt to taste
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Preparation of the Ewa-Agoyin


  • Pick out all dirt and stones in the beans and rinse at least twice under running water.
  • Pour in to a pot of boiling water and cook on medium heat.
  • The onion should be diced or chopped and added to the beans about 10 minutes into cooking it.
  • After 30-45 minutes, or when the beans is about soft enough to be mashed, add salt to taste. The softness and consistency of the beans is subject to personal taste.

Tip: Never let your beans go completely dry when cooking it; there should always be some moisture in it till it’s completely cooked. This helps avoid the unsightly dark brown colour that beans sometimes gets after cooking.

The sauce

  • Wash and blend all peppers together.
  • Boil blended pepper till no water is left in and it no longer smells raw.
  • Onions should be cleaned and grated or blended. Grated works better though. About a quarter of an onion should be chopped.
  • Crayfish, if used, should be slightly blended (dry mill).
  • Kpomo should be well cleaned, with hot water, and diced.
  • Catfish should also be cleaned and shredded
  • The oil is poured into a sauce pan and bleached for about 5-10 minutes, until it has lost most all redness. This is best done in an airy kitchen, or outdoor if that’s possible. Anyone with respiratory issues should stay away from the smoke of bleaching oil.
  • The chopped onions are then fried in the bleached oil on low heat till they are black and burnt. Scoop out burnt onions and fry the grated onions on extremely low heat.
  • Add cleaned shrimps, catfish and kpomo to the slow frying onions and fry until dry, still on low heat to allow the flavours infuse into the oil without getting charred.
  • Pour in pepper and mix in, continue to sauté at low heat till your pepper is well cooked.
  • Add ginger and garlic if desired as well as the cray fish.
  • When your sauce is quite dry and sautéed with the oil on it, add you stock cube and salt to taste. Note of warning: the fish and shrimps already give an amazing taste to the sauce, and too much stock cubes or salt might be overkill.
  • After about 5 minutes of adding the seasoning to your taste, and when your sauce is suitably dry and lightly sticking to your sauce pan, add your chopped curry or scent leaves.
  • 1 minute later and it’s time to turn off the heat.
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Ewa agoyin

The key to preparing this meal is patiently allowing the individual flavours of the ingredients work into each other while slowly cooking.

This quantity of beans serves an average of four people. The meal is best enjoyed with fried ripe plantain, just heavenly.

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