Spicy African Beans

Suitable for vegans

This recipe was first shown to me when I was 8 ... by a Nigerian tribesman ... in Buckinghamshire. I've tried to remember it as best I can. You really need 2 pans to make this easily. As an alternative, make the sauce first and put it aside in some other container; then clean the pan and make the beans, finally adding the sauce at the end.

For the sauce

  • 2 tins tomatoes - chopped
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • A little oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp chilli powder (or as much as you like)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup water

For the beans

  • 2 tins black-eye beans - drained
  • A tiny bit of oil
  • A handful of cashew nuts.


Fry the onion and sugar together in a little oil until they're just starting to brown. Add the spices and fry for another minute. Add the tomatoes and the water and mix. Season well and leave it to simmer, stirring occasionally, while you make ...

The Beans

What we're basically doing here is dry-frying the beans until they're crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. Some may split while you're cooking them, which is fine. Heat a tiny bit of oil in the pan until it starts to crackle. Add the beans and stir fry, keeping the pan over the hottest part of the fire. Keep them moving around constantly and fry until they're browning. Add the cashew nuts and keep frying until they've browned too, by which time the beans should be quite crispy. This will take 10-15 minutes in a wok or frying-pan, a bit longer in a saucepan.

The Final Mix

By now, the sauce should have simmered down to a thick, gloopy consistency. Simmer some more if necessary. Pour the sauce into the pan of beans and heat through for a couple of minutes (longer if you started with a cold sauce). Add more pepper and serve.

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