When you meet a Yoruba person and they talk about the wonder that is Gbegiri, stew and Ewedu, you will be utterly mind blown at the way with which they describe the dish and how they eat it. The description can only be successfully made with the Yoruba language which leaves your mouth watering even if you don’t speak or understand the language.
Gbegiri is a soup made with African Honey beans or brown beans. The beans is soaked to soften it; then it is peeled or not and cooked until very soft and blended into a very smooth and velvety soup.
When you go to Nigerian restaurants in the Winter, you get to order different types of soups and there is no reason why we cannot add Gbegiri to the mix. After all some people make lentil soup and potato soup.
I remember when I made Ikorore , i.e water yam pottage. A lot of my Yoruba readers kept describing how to eat it with cold Eba. I was so astonished. First you people are eating bean soup with Eba; then you’re eating yam pottage with cold Eba.(side eye) Then I asked my friend Dami and she confirmed it. The look on my face was too much for Dami to behold that she started laughing. And since I do not eat Gbegiri and it’s sisters which are Ewedu, stew and Eba, I decided to make it into a lone soup. A velvety creamy soup that is so filling, you may not even want anything else to eat afterwards.
Every Christmas, according to tradition we make pepper soup as a starter, but this year we will be swapping pepper soup for some Gbegiri and Nigerian stew and a slice of toasty, garlicky baguette
The good thing about this recipe is that you can actually prep it days before Christmas eve; especially if you are one who likes the skin of the beans removed. All you have to do is soak the beans for about 10 minutes, and wash by rubbing the pods both hands until the skin comes off. Another way is to pulse the beans in the blender until the pods are broken; then pour in a bowl and rub between your hands until the skin comes off. Drain and freeze until ready to use. Alternatively, you could just soak and cook the beans as is. After all, the skin is known to have a lot of fiber and nutrition.
Another good thing about this soup is the variation with which it’s cooked. Some people cook it and pour stew into the blended beans and some cook it with just palm oil and different proteins. I like the latter. I’d rather make it with the oil, proteins to eat with a serving of stew over it because I’m apparently not lazy for nothing 😛
For the consistency of your soup, it’s supposed to be creamy and velvety; not thick. My soup looks thick in the photo because I took the photos outside in the cold and it froze before I could say Jack Robinson. But as for the taste, I promise you will love every scoop. Ohmahghad!
- 2 cups of honey or brown beans
- 1 handful of soft stock fish
- 1 small dry fish (washed)
- 1 tbsp. crayfish
- 1 habanero(crushed into a paste) or ½ tbsp. dry grounded pepper
- 1 tbsp. iru (locust beans)
- meat stock or water
- ½ to cup palm oil
- soak beans over night or for about 10minutes. Cook until very very very soft. Let cool; then blend until very smooth. (Alternatively, pulse the beans in a blender to break it up, Pour in a bowl and Rub the beans against both hands and drain out the skin before cooking).
- Once the beans is cooked, you could mash with a spoon or a cooking broom called Ijabe. Blending is an easier way to go, but make sure the beans is cool first.
- Blend the soft cooked beans, pour back into a pot and add the stock fish, dry fish, crayfish, iru, pepper, meat stock and oil. You want the mixture to be between creamy and thin. Bring the mix to a boil, making sure to stir occasionally(do not over stir) to prevent burning. Add more meat stock or water and seasoning to loosen and adjust taste as you go. Cook for about 10 minutes and enjoy with Nigerian stew. I ate mine with spicy snail stew and a slice of baguette
- slice the bread into small to big slices. Crush a garlic clove into a paste and mix with coconut or olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and smear generously onto both sides of the bread and toast over a hot pan or grill and enjoy with the soup.