I just had to type it three times. If you’ve never prepared this before, let me give you my fair share of warning. It is a lot of hard work. You must really love this soup, or love the person(s) you are cooking it for, or you are going all out to impress. I have this personal rule about Gbegiri, I must either love you or you are growing another human being inside of you before I can make Gbegiri just for you. Lol. I just prefer to go to one of my favourite joints in Ilasamaja for Hot Amala, Gbegiri and Ewedu with Buka stew. Now, people, if there is an Ibadan Mother-in-Law in my future, you bet this is one of my secret weapons that I will gladly pull out just when she least expects it. I have been told that if you want to win Ibadan people over, just prepare Gbegiri and Ewedu, and you will do no wrong in their eyes. Lol…… The secret to not just a man’s heart, but his entire family is their stomach. If you enjoy cooking, it is a Super Power so USE IT.
If you are going to be brave and try this out, I say go for it. It is truly worth all the effort, and it will be a dish to remember with your friends and family. If you want to flex your culinary muscles serve Gbegiri with my Ewedu recipe HERE and Buka Stew HERE. Let’s call it the Dooney’s Kitchen Trifecta. Just forward all the prayers to me, because your family especially in-laws won’t stop hailing you once they have finished with the three dishes.
So, you’ll need
4 cups of Black eyed Beans – the regular brown beans
2 cooking spoons of Palm Oil
1 cup of ground Crayfish
1 cup of shredded Smoked fish
500g – 1kilo of Assorted Meat
5 medium sized Tomatoes
2 pieces of Tatashe – red bell pepper
1 large Red Onion
3 – 5 pieces of Ata Rodo – scotch bonnet/habanero
Seasoning cubes – Knorr chicken cube preferred
So, roll your sleeves up and let’s get cracking
Here’s how to:
1. Boil and season your assorted meat and stockfish. While it is boiling, blend the tomatoes, onions and ata rodo and boil till it reduces to half its volume, blend the crayfish, wash the smoked fish and tear into pieces and set them all aside
2. Soak the beans for 5 minutes and peel the skin off the beans using a blender. Method for peeling beans in a blender is HERE. Decant the skin and the water and continue till you’ve gotten all the skin off. Like with cleaning the house, I display OCD when peeling the skin off beans. It drives my mother crazy. “Ola it is enough now, you know you don’t have to get all the skin off” nah, I have to. Even at the last minute of blending, if I see one hint of brown skin I will pick it out. Lol
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: oloyin beans will not work for one reason. It is NOTORIOUSLY difficult to peel. Trust me, I made this mistake once and poured oloyin beans in water instead of the regular brown beans. It took me half a day to peel. I called my mum when the skin was proving difficult to peel off. The first thing she asked me was, what type of beans did you use? I checked the cupboard and realised my error. I will never make that mistake again. So, please use regular brown beans.
With Akara/Moi – Moi the next step would be to blend. Not so with Gbegiri
3. Boil the beans in water about twice its volume. You are trying to achieve a bean paste without blending. You leave the beans to boil until it gets so soft that it disintegrates. Even at that, you keep boiling until you are left with a thick creamy sludge of beans. Recipe Update alert: you don’t need to wait that long. Once the beans is soft enough to be squashed without resistance, add the entire thing into a blender and blend till you get a smooth paste.
4. Take the pot off the heat, and mash the rest of the bean pieces with a wooden spoon. Mash as much as you can and pour the paste through a fine mesh sieve. As the liquid is passing through the sieve, pour hot water slowly to allow smooth flow. Repeat this process several times until you are left with a bowl of bean paste with a smooth and slightly fluid consistency. See above, you don’t need this exhaustive step. Just whizz he softened beans in a blender, and voila you get the creamy bean paste below without the stress.
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: Be careful with the hot water, you don’t want to dilute your bean paste. If you have ever tried making Ogi (pap) from scratch before, this process will be familiar. You need all the patience to do this. It is a little messy, but hey it’s part of the drill. I told you Gbegiri was hard work.
5. Heat up two cooking spoons of palm oil in a pot and fry the pepper mixture for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Then add 1 cup of beef stock and continue frying. When it starts to bubble after about 3 minutes add the meats, stockfish and smoked fish and continue cooking for another 5 minutes till you achieve a thick fried palm oil stew. Emphasis on thick.
6. Add the bean paste in small increments until it dilutes the stew to form a light orange mixture. From here onward it will be easy peasy as the beans has already been cooked, so you only need to give it 5 minutes or so to combine with the stew and then you add ground crayfish, salt and seasoning cube till all the ingredients have combined beautifully in the soup.
If you have leftover bean paste, lucky for you. Simply freeze it and you can whip up Gbegiri in minutes the next time around. Your guests will be amazed at how fast you whip out Gbegiri. Our little secret. Lol.
7. Gbegiri is meant to be a slightly watery soup, so don’t over cook it till it thickens. Some people serve Gbegiri de-constructed. What do I mean by that? You may have seen Gbegiri served plain (no palm oil, just bean paste) and served separately with a palm oil stew (like I made above) and then Ewedu in another bowl. meaning you have to combine the three soups by yourself. The bean paste is simply seasoned with crayfish salt and seasoning cube. I have never understood why people do this, but this is my method and it is a popular way of preparing Gbegiri. So far, no one has complained.
Have I inspired you to give Gbegiri a try this weekend? Let me know how it goes.